Not only because I’ve been working with professors for this interim, but also because I normally spend many hours freely talking to them about life, I always considered them as my good friends. Visiting Seoul National University and Handong University allowed me to see some of relationships between Korean students and their professors. And, surprisingly, it was very hierarchical in Korean universities. Professors in Korea were in much respected position and weren’t easily approachable by students. I think this may vary depending on the professors’ background as well, but specially those who come from traditional Korean education background, they seemed to divide themselves clearly from the students and sometimes could become very strict on them. This doesn’t necessarily mean that American students are being less respectful to their professors. But, definitely I think Calvin College lets students to build close relationships with the professors. First of all, they all have open minds to welcome their students whenever they are in need. Secondly, Calvin professors think beyond their limit and keep themselves updated with what students think of the world. Thirdly, they are very wise to combine their own standards with our views to come up with the most efficient advice. I truly appreciate this kind of relationship more than the hierarchical relations that many Korean students face.
Throughout this interim, we’ve gone to churches in different sizes. From a small town church where all congregation eat lunch together to a church that holds seven different services counting over a million of congregation—they were different but the similar in terms of worshipping the same God and having the serving heart for others. Size of the churches did not matter. All churches had their own ministries throughout South Korea and the world. Churches are working hard to approach to outside church people and always week for ways to help others around. Studying a little of history of Korea, it hasn’t been that long since the Korea War ended. It’s quite amusing to see how this country was able to developed in such a short period of time. And, I strongly believe that it’s also part of God’s work. I think the hard work ethics all came from American missionaries from 1860’s who left strong motivation to Koreans to fight through poverty. With the missionaries’ help, Koreans were able to accept the Christianity and build stronger standards in their lives, and eventually was able to bring together the small pieces that got shattered through war devastation.
I would pick Busan City as my favorite place. The city definitely was less crowded than Seoul and more lively than Pohang. I loved how it was the ocean city with many trade businesses which kept the city very busy as well. Compared to Seoul, Busan seemed to be more relaxed in many ways. People seemed to be enjoying more of their lives. Old ladies from public markets to salesmen from Lotte Malls, everyone worked with much brighter attitude and positiveness. The city itself was also less populated than the capital which reduced the traffic and pollution which could have directly affected the living conditions of Busan citizens as well. I just loved the ocean view and long bridges crossing the ocean that connect small towns in between so much. I think the combination of the city life and the taste of nature was a perfect mix that could give enough motivation for me to work hard.