Campus Life

Student blog offers tour impressions

Ulsan University in South Korea has long been a valuable partner with the University of Lethbridge, and for the first time, U of L students are enjoying the opportunity to participate in a one-month study tour to learn Korean culture, history, society, business and language.

"We've had a longstanding agreement with Ulsan where we offer four-month exchange programs and they send a number of their students here to participate in our English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program," says Laura Ferguson of the U of L's International Centre for Students. "This study tour is for one month only, is quite inexpensive and is completely in English, so there are no language requirements."

The tour began June 27 and runs through July 26. IDST 2850: Study Tour of South Korea is for course credit and is available to just 20 qualified students. A list of participating students can be found below, as well as a link to a student blog about the experience.

A South Korean monastery stay is one of the highlights of the study tour.

"This course really fits well within the interdisciplinary studies category, given the broad base of what they are learning," says Ferguson.

Ulsan is South Korea's seventh largest metropolis with a population of over 1.1 million, and is the industrial powerhouse of South Korea, forming the heart of the Ulsan Industrial District. Home to the world's largest automobile assembly plant, operated by Hyundai Motor Company, the world's largest shipyard, operated by Hyundai Heavy Industries, and the world's second largest oil refinery, owned by SK Energy, it also neighbours the historic city of Kyung-ju, the capital of the Silla Dynasty from 57 BC to 935 AD.

Dr. Ian MacLachlan of the University's geography department is accompanying the tour participants this summer. While in South Korea, they get the chance to experience every facet of the South Korean lifestyle. The tour includes trips to Hyundai Heavy Industries, a one-night home stay with a Korean family, a night in a Buddhist temple, a week of study in Seoul and many more opportunities.

"You can't really do something like this as a tourist, you don't get access to this type of experience on your own," says Ferguson.

Students advanced through an application process in order to be chosen for the tour.

"They needed to write an essay of about 1,000 words about why they wanted to participate in the program, and what value they thought they'd get from this kind of exchange," says Ferguson.

"We looked for ambassadors of the U of L, people who would go there and show our partner university how great U of L students are."

It's also an opportunity to take advantage of a partnership agreement between the two institutions that sees Ulsan send many more students to Canada.

"This summer program gives students the opportunity to go and study in Korea completely using the English language, which is much less intimidating and allows a lot more people to participate."

Study Tour Participants and Blog Contributors:

Ian MacLachlan (Instructor); Ashley Boras; Mike Burland; Kenny Davey; Jeremy Heidebrecht; Basil Jefferies; Crystal Kensley; Aaron Kurmey; Sang Ha Park; Tyler Ramsay; Jayne Simpson; Derrick Smithson; Brett Stephenson; Evan Strangward.

To follow their study tour blog or send a message to someone on the tour, click on this link.