School of Education graduate students in the Student Affairs in Higher Education master’s degree program had the opportunity to travel to South Korea over winter break for their Global Perspectives in Student Affairs course. During their two weeks abroad, students were able to apply what they have learned in classrooms to the real world.
The students visited several universities, including Hongik University, Sookmyung Women’s University and University of Utah Asia, where the students were able to have one-to-one interactions with Korean students and dive into topics related to international affairs and global issues.
Anica Dang, a second-year student, took the elective course because she is hoping to work with international students in student affairs, an area in which she has firsthand experience because she is an international student at Colorado State University.
“Most universities are not equipped to serve their international students in the same way that they serve domestic students,” Dang said. “But every student affairs practitioner will encounter and work with international students, and having that international and intercultural communication piece be a part of their practice is something I’m very passionate about.”
The SAHE students took a course in the fall to prepare for their trip; the course included information about Korean history and culture, and helped them obtain their visas. While there, students had the opportunity to meet with CSU alumni in South Korea, which is the country with the strongest alumni network outside the United States.
“I loved being able to meet the students there,” Dang said, “to talk to them about what they do, what it’s like to get an education there and to hear what they think about United States, especially right now.”
Students did have free days while abroad, allowing them to explore Seoul and reflect on the trip. Each SAHE student who participated wrote blog posts detailing their day-to-day activities and showcasing photos. Attending a music and art performance, and eating local food, were also part of the experience, as SAHE students got to prepare and eat Korean food with the local students at one of the universities they attended.
The most impactful part of the journey for some was the visit to the Korean Demilitarized Zone, the border between North and South Korea. There, students got to tour the DMZ with U.S. soldiers, and see Dorasan Station and The Infiltration Tunnel.
“We saw both U.S. and South Korean soldiers standing at attention and guarding the area and buildings. The energy was rigid, and the intensity was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before,” wrote Jaelyn Coates in a blog post. “I am hopeful that there will one day be peace, but I am equally hopeful that whatever solution may come to be, it will be one that will be satisfying, empowering, but most importantly, healing for the people of North and South Korea.”
The School of Education is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.