Experiencing Korean culture on campus
Experiencing Korean culture on campus
  • 차지혜 기자
  • 승인 2008.03.03 00:00
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A wide range of topics are covered through class discussions. At the end of the semester, students choose an aspect of Korean culture that she feels should be publicized and makes a presentation on why and how this should be done,” added Choe.

             Another new semester has approached and class registration has begun. Students are gathered in front of their personal computers, preparing themselves to click the classes they want to take. After a few seconds, all the foreign language classes such as Chinese, Japanese, French of all levels are closed?full of students wishing to take these class. Likewise, many students nowadays are eager to learn more about foreign languages and cultures, instead of learning of their own culture.

             However, there are also classes available on campus to students who are interested in learning more about the past and present of Korean culture. Students who have taken such classes in the past recount their experience, sharing how much they learned and earned from these classes, and recommend them to other Ewha students. Among these classes that cover Korean culture, the Ewha Voice focused on three classes titled Understanding World Heritages inKorea, Korean Life and Culture, and Korean Tradition and Folk Culture, which have gained positive appraisal from students who attended the classes as a means to come to know, experience, and savor Korean culture on campus.

             Understanding World Heritages in Korea

             Understanding World Heritages in Korea taught by Professor Kim Young-hoon (Korean Studies), which is held in English, is a favorite class among both Korean and international students. Designed to provide a comprehensive overview of world heritages in Korea, the course deals with cultural properties, whether tangible or intangible, which represent both the essence and the basis of national culture.

             Students in the class learn about a world heritage located in Korea each week. Aside from the professor’s lectures, students directly and indirectly experience world heritages through watching DVDs and going on fieldtrips. Moreover, students are divided into groups with international students and prepare presentations about world heritages assigned to them. Moon Jin-uk (Business Administration, 3), who took the class last semester, was not only glad to work with students from different countries, but also felt proud after getting to know deeply about the history of her own cultural properties.

             With this grand purpose in mind, some students hesitate taking this class because it includes field trips to different cultural spots such as Jongmyo Shrine, Changdeok Palace, and Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, and students worry whether such trips will take up too much of their time. Nevertheless, these field trips are actually one of the best parts of the class. Moon who actually chose to take this class because of the unique field trips, says, “After searching for some of the Korean Studies classes, this class caught my attention. I thought that this is the right class for someone like me who enjoys traveling.”

              Indeed, the chance to see and feel Korean history and culture through field trips offer students to learn more than they can by just pouring over textbooks. “Among all the places that we have been, I liked Changdeok Palace the most. Unlike other palaces that have the feeling of solemnity and strictness, Changdeok Palace harmonized well with nature. The atmosphere allowed me to imagine the ancient kings and queens’ emotions of the past,” added Moon.

             Korean Tradition and Folk Culture

             Korean Tradition and Folk Culture is a class designed to discover Korea’s unique folk customs by approaching accumulated customs from the past to present through diverse methods by looking at the lives of Korean people. The objective of the class is to build dignity and pride among students about their own folk customs as well as to develop a critical view of our culture for further development and successful accession in the globalizing community. The class is a comprehensive one that deals with diverse topics, ranging from as narrow as the meaning of a house structure to as broad as religious rituals, including exorcisms.

             Park Gu-bee (Korean Literature, 4) shares her experience of attending this class. “Professor’s interesting lecture, and the class materials such as videos and photos provided students with the opportunity to take a glimpse of Korean culture and people’s lives from a very different perspective. Generally, we are used to the history written by the elites, but through this class, students were able to truly learn of the lives of ordinary Koreans.” Park says that she thinks she has learned “true history” through this class. “I learned countless facts about Korean traditional culture, and found hidden meanings and history behind remnants of Korean culture which we take for granted everyday.”

             Korean Life and Culture

             Korean Life and Culture looks at the daily lives and arts of the past to classify what can be valued as “true” Korean. The objective of this class is to introduce the philosophical and ideological roots of Korean culture and the Korean way of life. In the past semesters, the class included a time to depict Korean culture and students were given time to make their own images of Korea. During this semester, the goal of this course is to examine the lives and culture of Koreans through the cultural, historical, and social aspects seen in traditional dance and music. This is because Professor Song Hye-na (Graduate School of International Studies) who teaches this class believes that when discussing the lives and culture of a certain people, looking at their music and dance is the best way to deeply understand the quality of that time.

             Choe Mun-jung (Korean Literature, 4) says this class has special significance for her since it was the first class she took as a Korean Studies major. “I took this class because I wanted to obtain a solid ideological background on Korean culture. Because I have lived abroad for many years, establishing this background was very important,” said Choe. According to Choe, although most people know how Koreans act and think, few understand 'why' Koreans act and think the way they do.


             A wide range of topics are covered through class discussions. At the end of the semester, students choose an aspect of Korean culture that she feels should be publicized and makes a presentation on why and how this should be done,” added Choe.


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