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From “Korea” to “Corea:” Hannah O’Malley and the ’17 Benton trip

By Peter Tschirhart on August 11, 2014

Hannah O’Malley ’17 has created a blog to chronicle, contemplate, and process her experience on the Benton Scholars’ trip to Korea. Apart from explaining why the country’s name might be spelled “Corea” rather than “Korea,” Hannah encourages us to view travel through a self-critical lens. She writes :

I think it easy to notice and criticize flaws in and make generalizations about other systems without really critically looking back at one’s own system. Over the course of the trip, I tried very hard to think about ways in which we pretty much have the same, or worse, flaws in the US and about what the US can learn from Korea.

She also poses a series of questions inspired by Prof. John Palmer‘s FSEM for the Benton Scholars (fall of 2014):

  • In what ways can the US education system learn from the national curriculum that applies to both public and private schools?
  • How would the US benefit from rigor of the cram schools?
  • Given that K-12 education in both South Korea and the US is driven in part by the university systems in both countries, in what ways might colleges be able to manipulate testing or entrance standards to influence the ways in which K-12 students learn?
  • How can both countries make higher education more accessible and a less elite system?
  • Is there corruption, whether manifest or latent, in our educational system? And if so, where?
  • Who does our educational system serve?

You can see and read much more directly on Hannah’s blog by clicking here.


Benton Scholars in Korea: Erin Huiting ’17

By Peter Tschirhart on July 22, 2014

The following pictures and text were provided by Erin Huiting ’17, who returned from the Benton Scholars’ trip to Korea in June, 2014.


At the table in Korea.

At the table in Korea.

Food is such an integral part of the Korean culture. When we first entered a restaurant we would be led graciously to our table, and then we would remove our shoes and sit down. Slowly, but surely, our servers would begin to present us food. We would be given bowels of vegetables, rice, noodles, fish, meats, soups… the food was never-ending, but that kept the conversations and laughter never-ending. By the end of our meal, we would have an array of dishes spread across the table – we could mix and match the different flavors and try so many new foods. Every meal brought something new.

Huiting 2

At Seokgulam Grotto.

The lanterns in the background are a part of Seokgulam Grotto, which is a cave temple that houses a Buddhist shrine. The reason it was built – a young boy’s newfound karma. The story goes: A young boy and his mother worked for a wealthy family, however, they lived in utter poverty. One day, a Buddhist monk visited the estate and the wealthy family gave the monk some donations. After that, the boy assumed the family was so well off because they were charitable towards the Buddhist monk. The next time the boy saw the Buddhist monk, the boy and his mother gave him what little rice they had. A few days later the boy passed away.

However, before the boy passed away, he foretold to his mother that he would be reincarnated in another body. His name would be Kim DaeSeong. Nine months later, the mother gave birth to a baby boy. The baby boy held his fist closed for a whole week, but when he opened up his fist “Kim DaeSeong” was encrypted in Chinese onto his palm – he was her son reincarnated. Eventually, Kim DaeSeong grew up and became a minister. In order to thank the monk for his life, he built the Buddhist temple.

A cable car into the mountains.

On the cable car, heading to Daechongbong.

The Seoraksan National Park was a testament to Korea’s geographic beauty. South Korea isn’t just urban, but the country also has amazing mountains covered with lush forests. We took a cable car up near the peak of Daechongbong, and we climbed the rest of the way towards the very top.

At the peak of Daechongbong.

At the peak of Daechongbong.


Video: Benton Scholars in Korea

By Jason Kammerdiener on July 16, 2014

Professor John Palmer put together the following video slideshows of images capturing the amazing journey of Colgate’s Benton Scholars in South Korea during the summer of 2014.


Benton Scholars in Korea: Hannah O’Malley ’17

By Peter Tschirhart on July 9, 2014

Hannah O’Malley ’17 provides the following pictures and captions from the Benton Scholars’ trip to South Korea.


Colgate hasn't been around nearly as long as Gyeongbokgung Palace, which was completed in 1395.

Colgate hasn’t been around nearly as long as Gyeongbokgung Palace, which was completed in 1395.

Rice farms, like this one in the Hahoe Village, covered the countryside. Even though it is a relatively small country, the South Korean landscape includes mountains, cityscapes, rural expanses and seasides.

Rice farms, like this one in the Hahoe Village, covered the countryside. Even though it is a relatively small country, the South Korean landscape includes mountains, cityscapes, rural expanses and seasides.

Though media outlets may have stopped coverage of the Ferry Accident, homages like this one demonstrated that the memories of the children live on in the hearts of South Koreans.

Though media outlets may have stopped coverage of the Ferry Accident, homages like this one demonstrated that the memories of the children live on in the hearts of South Koreans.

“Named spaces bear witness to history and provide a glimpse into the future.” -John Syme The Sungnyemun Gate was erected in 1398 and embodies significant history—it has been repeatedly repaired after damage by natural causes, colonial rule, the Korean War, and a more recent attempt to burn the structure. Today, it is a national treasure of Seoul that speaks to South Corea’s resilience, an attitude which is behind its push to be a global power.

“Named spaces bear witness to history and provide a glimpse into the future.” -John Syme The Sungnyemun Gate was erected in 1398 and embodies significant history—it has been repeatedly repaired after damage by natural causes, colonial rule, the Korean War, and a more recent attempt to burn the structure. Today, it is a national treasure of Seoul that speaks to South Corea’s resilience, an attitude which is behind its push to be a global power.

It was election season while we were there so political campaigns were everywhere, especially in the more residential areas.

It was election season while we were there so political campaigns were everywhere, especially in the more residential areas.

We had the opportunity to visit an all-boys private middle school and speak to them about their educational experience. Our conversations with the students there sparked reflection and debate about both South Korea's and our own educational system.

We had the opportunity to visit an all-boys private middle school and speak to them about their educational experience. Our conversations with the students there sparked reflection and debate about both South Korea’s and our own educational system. Thank you so much to Dan Benton, Professor John Palmer, Woolim Cho, Peter Tschirhart, Sarah Ficken and the many others who made this experience and continue to make experiences like this possible!!


Benton Scholars in Korea: Brittney Dorow ’17

By Peter Tschirhart on June 23, 2014

Brittney Dorow ’17 recently returned from the Benton Scholars’ trip to South Korea. In this reflection, she discusses her youthful fascination with Asian cultures and her more recent interest in the vibrant mixture of “old and new” in contemporary Korean cityscapes–an interest that has lead her to the International Relations program at Colgate.


Growing up as a young girl with two brothers was a blessing.

I lived a life essentially free from gender. Yes, I was a female who loved dresses and tea parties and dress up dolls, but I was not limited to exploring one side of a culture many find to be split by sex. I played with cars, liked to wrestle and mess around, and I was equally as pleased to get the Pokemon Card as I was the Polly Pocket toy with my Happy Meal.

I think the greatest thing that came about being raised so openly centered on film and television.

One of my fondest memories was coming home from school on Friday’s to find my brothers down in the basement and a Japanese monster movie plugged in the VHS. I grew up watching these foreign films, moving from Godzilla movies with the boys, to dramatic and adventurous anime as I entered my teen years.

Overtime, my love for Asian culture developed. Entering into high school, it was safe to say I was obsessed. Watching anime and Korean Dramas with my friends while I picked at my meal with a pair of plastic chopsticks, I allowed myself to fall in love with it all, the people, the food, the fashion and so on.

More than anything else, I was enamored with the Asian city. Particularly in anime and film, I became fascinated with urban structure, a melting pot which combined the urban landscape of New York with the culture of traditional life. When I first discovered I could travel to Korea, I saw the perfect opportunity to finally see for myself if the culture I’d grown to idolize had been portrayed accurately or not.

A street market in South Korea.

A street market in South Korea.

I am happy to say, it had.

My picture shows one of the first markets we the Bentons explored in South Korea. Even from a glance, you can see the blending of new and old culture which I had hoped to find on this trip.

Tall industrialized buildings lit up with electric lights and neon signs.

Inside, traditional fans, bowls, street foods and cloth are sold.

Overall, I was not disappointed, but rather, in awe of the cultural phenomenon that is an Asian city, particularly a marketplace. I found a place of acceptance, of peaceful cultural blending, and well a preservation.

Most importantly, seeing a place like this reminded me why I love the study of culture and how I truly want to pursue my major in International Relations. I want to fall in love with all the cultures of the world, and feel this amazement for the rest of my life.


Benton Scholars in Korea: Ishir Dutta ’17

By Peter Tschirhart on June 13, 2014

The following pictures and captions by Ishir Dutta ’17 continue our coverage of the Benton Scholars’ trip to Korea. Stay tuned for more posts in the coming days.


Click the image below to launch a slideshow:

"It's the East Sea, not the Sea of Japan!" - Prof. Palmer

“It’s the East Sea, not the Sea of Japan!” – Prof. Palmer

In a place closer to home (At Namsan Tower)

In a place closer to home (At Namsan Tower)

...and my other home. (At Insadong)

…and my other home. (At Insadong)

Even amid the frenzy, we found calm.

Even amid the frenzy, we found calm.


Benton Scholars in Korea: Andrew Isaacson ’17

By Peter Tschirhart on June 12, 2014

Our blog series on the recent Benton Scholars trip to South Korea continues with pictures and captions provided by Andrew Isaacson ’17.


Seoul, South Korea: a city and country hidden in the mountains.

Seoul, South Korea: a city and country hidden in the mountains.

What does your garden look like? -Deoksugung palace gardens.

What does your garden look like? -Deoksugung palace gardens.

When I asked Joe Chacra '17 what he wanted to do with our free day, he replied, "let's get lost." And so we did, ending our expedition at the Seoul National Cemetery.

When I asked Joe Chacra ’17 what he wanted to do with our free day, he replied, “let’s get lost.” And so we did, ending our expedition at the Seoul National Cemetery.

 

 


Benton Scholars in Korea: Zachary Weaver ’17

By Peter Tschirhart on June 10, 2014

The following text and pictures were provided by Zachary Weaver ’17, who recently returned from the Benton Scholars’ trip to South Korea. Their journey was lead by John Palmer, Assoc. Professor of Educational Studies and Chair of the Educational Studies Department.


'17 Benton Scholars gather for a picture following a performance of traditional Korean dance.

’17 Benton Scholars gather for a picture following a performance of traditional Korean dance.

South Korea was easily the best trip I have ever been on. I can’t really compare it to anything else. Everything, from the culture to what the places we visited, allowed all the Bentons who went on this trip to really experience what South Korea was like, rather than just getting a voyeuristic view that is ever so common on shorter trips. It’s kind of hard to find a place to start.

A sewer grate in Seoul

A sewer grate in Seoul

The food was fantastic. Before leaving, I was worried about whether or not I would be able to find something that I could eat easily. I need not have been so worried. The food you can get in South Korea is delicious, comes in large quantities, and is cheap. You could easily find bulgogi (marinated beef that you often cook at the table) that probably feed at least 3 people for around $5 US Dollars. Often, we were able to find something for everybody (even with allergies accounted for) for a fraction of the price that we would have paid in the US, and with a lot more food as well. One thing about Korean food is that it isn’t based around one dish like it is in the US. Whereas in the US you would order a burger and fries and that would be you meal, in Korea you might order bibimbap (rice with various vegetables in a hot stone bowl, where you mix a raw egg in to cook before eating), but in addition you would get little dishes of sauces, vegetables, and never ending kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage) for the table.

One of our last meals in Korea

One of our last meals in Korea

Our trip through South Korea was a whirlwind of activity. We saw so many things and visited so many places; I would forget everything we did if not for the pictures. From the palaces in Seoul to a traditional folk village in the south of the nation, we really went everywhere. Thanks to Prof. John Palmer of the Ed. Studies department, we were able to see a Korea that many of us wouldn’t see if we had just gone there on our own. Ask anyone who went on the trip, and I’m sure you will see that all of us had the time of our lives in Korea.

'17 Benton Scholars Zachary Weaver and Ishir Dutta stand for a picture in front of the Blue House, the residence of the President of South Korea.

’17 Benton Scholars Zachary Weaver and Ishir Dutta stand for a picture in front of the Blue House, the residence of the President of South Korea.


“Postcards” from Washington, DC

By Peter Tschirhart on March 26, 2014

Eleven Benton Scholars recently completed a successful four-day spring break trip to Washington D.C. While there, they visited a number of sites relevant to global leadership, including the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum and The White House.

Benton Scholars visiting the White House Press Room with Colgate Alum Steve Posner, Associate Director for Strategic Planning and Communications.

Benton Scholars visiting the White House Press Room with Colgate Alumnus Steve Posner, Associate Director for Strategic Planning and Communications in the Office of Management and Budget.

Benton Scholars with Col. Scott Willey, in front of the B-29 "Enola Gay" at the Smithsonian's Air & Space Museum.

Benton Scholars with Col. Scott Willey, in front of the B-29 “Enola Gay” at the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum.


Leading 18 first-year students for 18 days in a far-away land.

By ECONOMICS DEPT on July 2, 2013

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Enough said. Some people thought I was crazy taking 18 students to Argentina on my own for 18 days. I have to admit – I had a few moments of anxiety prior to the trip. But it was all for naught. This group of students was amazing. After being back in the U.S. for almost 3 weeks, I think back on the trip and remember so many rewarding moments: the utter enthusiasm the students had day in and day out about all of our activities, their attempts at using Spanish to facilitate conversations, the interesting questions they would pose to people we met and to each other, the fascination they had with the dual exchange rate system, their deep appreciation for Argentine culture, their willingness to try almost anything, their excitement when getting absolutely drenched on a boat ride under Iguazu Falls, the camaraderie the students had with each other and with me; the list goes on and on.

Here is what I hope this trip does for them… I hope I have helped them open their eyes to the vast world around them. I hope that they are motivated to learn a new language and/or continue to master a foreign language. I hope they realize that the time they spend learning about a destination ahead of time will pay-off during their travels so that they have a deeper understanding of what they experience. I hope that they continue to represent themselves and their culture as responsibly as they did during our trip. I hope this trip has planted a seed for them, so that they may accomplish unbelievable things all over the world…

I would like to thank all of the people around the world (literally) who helped make our Benton Scholars trip to Argentina extra special. Thank you so much for providing me with insight and support in preparations for our trip. Our trip was truly amazing, and much of that was due to the great advice and support I received from so many people.

I have to say that I have one of the best jobs in the world – to be able to lead a group of smart and motivated students to a destination that is unfamiliar, yet beautiful in so many ways and know that I have contributed to their intellectual and personal growth in a very real way…. all while being deeply appreciated and respected. Wow. Would I do it all over again? Absolutely.

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