UMD explores study abroad options with South Korea
Four UMD staff and faculty members recently visited South Korea to investigate options for exchange programs for students and faculty.
Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Sue Maher organized the academic-focused trip to South Korea from Sept. 9-17, along with two faculty and one staff member. They visited Korea University and Kyung Hee University, two of the top colleges in the country.
Options for international exchange are being explored for students, as well as a new program called the UMD Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL). The COIL program aims to connect students and faculty at UMD with their counterparts in a corresponding class at the South Korean Universities. As of right now, a linguistics class is being considered for implementation into the program.
Dean Maher emphasized the program’s focus on intercultural communication. The universities aim to start the program by linking the colleges of humanities, and then possibly move on to the college of education.
“The dean of Kyung Hee has been here, and really had the first thought that this would be a fantastic partnership between the universities,” Maher said. “We would start with COIL, and then have the conversation about other opportunities.”
Also on the trip was UMD Professor John Hatcher, head of the journalism department. He is considering trying out the COIL program with one of his courses.
Hatcher explained the core idea of the program:
“A course here in Duluth might partner with a course at Kyung Hee, and for a time the courses might intersect so that students might be studying alongside other students in Korea via technology,” Hatcher said.
Staff member Jason Davis assisted with infrastructure assessment on the trip, and evaluated any compatability issues that might occur with the technology used for the program. Davis found the technological groundwork to be impeccable, and emphasized that COIL courses could be available to students as early as the fall semester of 2018.
Davis encourages students to study abroad, and recommends the universities in South Korea.
“Study abroad is something that is increasingly expected for students, and I feel like I missed out on that when I was a student,” Davis said.
All of the faculty members who went on the trip emphasized the welcoming environment of Seoul, and feel as though it is a perfect place for students to study abroad. These programs are opportunities for increased partnerships between UMD and the South Korean universities, and could lead to more connections with other international universities and programs in the future.