South Korea

Ken Brown, professor and associate dean of the Undergraduate Program at the Henry B. Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa, has been selected for a Fulbright Specialists project in the Republic of Korea at Seoul National University (SNU) early next year, according to the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

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I am a bilingual and I could speak Korean fluently enough for me to take some classes that are taught in Korean as well as English taught classes which most of my fellow exchange student friends took. I was very fortunate that I was able to take some classes with natives and gave me more opportunity to mingle with the native Koreans. I was able to express myself more freely to Koreans, and in return, conceive more cultures and ideas easily. It took no time for me to adjust to the new setting. Having the same heritage and speaking the language definitely was an advantage for me because I felt like I fit in there even though I don’t live in Korea.

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In an ongoing series from International Programs, we look at connections between the University of Iowa and countries around the world. Our faculty, students, and programs reach far beyond the UI campus. Below are some of the highlights of our connections with South Korea.

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Sometimes you may find an opportunity to travel to a country that is unfamilar or to an institution at which you have no existing professional connections. In those instances, International Programs can help identify other UI faculty who already have a knowledge of the area and who may even have long-standing connections at the particular institution you plan to visit.

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Before arriving in America, Guan Su Jie, a 21-year-old University of Iowa international student, expected to spend her first week meeting new friends and exploring campus. But two days before arriving in Iowa City, she was told she would be unexpectedly moved to the Lodge, an apartment complex located nearly two miles away from campus. Now, Jie feels she is “missing out on the atmosphere.”

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Most of the 22 South Korean teachers welcomed to the University of Iowa campus on Monday had never been to the United States before. But not Kim Yong Kik, who previously visited Chicago. He feels Iowa is “more peaceful.” Kim, a mathematics and science teacher, will spend two weeks at the UI with his Korean colleagues attending a teaching workshop in which they will learn about the American approach to gifted education, the visiting teachers’ specialty area. They will also share their experiences in their home country.

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Gifted education practices are very different in South Korea than in the United States. “Gifted education is a far more established field, both for research and practice, in the United States,” said Laurie Croft, professional development administrator with the University of Iowa College of Education’s Belin-Blank Center. To share some of that knowledge and expertise, Croft is helping organize a July 18-31 visit of 22 Korean teachers to the UI campus and local community.

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