Korean study abroad spices up education


    Korean Study Abroad offers a once in a lifetime experience for many students.

    Robert Patterson and Adam Egbert, former mission companions in the Korea Seoul Mission, decided to go back to Korea to deepen their understanding of the Korean people and culture.

    “I wanted to learn more about Korea,” said Egbert, 25, a Korean graduate from Smithfield, Utah. “On my mission, I gained a love for the people, but I didn’t have an appreciation for the history or politics.”

    Patterson, 25, a senior majoring in Korean from Castro Valley, Calif., said he wanted to return to Korea, fulfill some major requirements, and live differently than a missionary and learn about Korea from a different perspective.

    They lived in a traditional Korean village, with very few modern conveniences, for the six-week Spring 2001 term, said Patterson.

    Dr. Mark Peterson, Head of the Korean Department, enjoyed the privileges of living in a rural village as compared to the city Seoul. The program cost less, the students had a more realistic experience, and they were able to help strengthen the local LDS branch.

    “It’s really grass roots, it’s really hands-on,” said Dr. Peterson as he explained the experience students receive.

    Egbert said that as part of their Korean culture class, they saw their notes come to life as they went on field trips to locations they discussed in class and see how those places fit into Korean history.

    “We stayed in a Buddhist Temple overnight. We participated in a worship service. It was crazy,” Egbert said. He said students woke up at 3 a.m., walked out to a house with Buddhist statues, and listened to the chanting monks.

    “You never get to do those kinds of things on a mission,” Egbert said. “It was a unique opportunity. Dr. Peterson knew where all the cool stuff is.”

    Peterson said 17 students participated in the Korean Study Abroad last spring. Not everyone was fluent in speaking Korean, but Study Abroad offered everyone an intensive language opportunity.

    Those who knew Korean taught the others with less fluency. Egbert enjoyed that teaching opportunity. Dr. Peterson teamed up experienced speakers with inexperienced speakers and sent them off to visit different places as class projects.

    The students also had different opportunities to do service, Patterson said. They went on splits with the missionaries and taught English at an elementary school.

    Peterson said Study Abroad gives students the opportunity to learn many things that are not found in textbooks.

    “That was one of the most memorable experiences ever, even comparable to my mission,” Patterson said.

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