A Hop, Skip, and a Jump Across the Big Pond - Seoul, South Korea: Kate Bassett, AEE Major, INTAG, Leadership Development and Military Studies minors


Posted: January 4, 2013

This summer, I had the opportunity of a life time. Never before would I have thought that I, Kate Bassett, would find myself in Seoul South Korea. But Hey!! I did, and it was worth every bit of it.
The entire group of students visiting the DMZ that separates North and South Korea

The entire group of students visiting the DMZ that separates North and South Korea

During this ten day trip in the spring of 2012 to Seoul, South Korea, there were a lot of new experiences as well as lots of valuable skills developed.  I had the great opportunity to visit Seoul National University (SNU) which is the most highly regarded University in South Korea, Suwon Agricultural High School, Yeoju Self-Management Agricultural High School, The Korean Folk House, The DMZ, a couple of palaces, and many more sites and places.  I had the honor of learning about Korean culture and experiencing traditional restaurants and food.  I learned how to speak a little of the Korean language, and my favorite part, experienced first-hand just how much the South Korean people really do love Americans! 

BassettKorea3.pngBeing that this trip was in fact a study abroad program with the Pennsylvania State University’s Agricultural & Extension Education Department, every minute spent was an opportunity to broaden our individual horizons and develop new skills that will be valuable in our near and far futures.  For me personally, I learned how to simply relax in situations that I’m not familiar with and seize that chance to talk to new people, learn a few things about others as well as myself.  For example, everyone in the group had to teach a lesson to a classroom at the Suwon Agricultural High School.  I walked into my lesson with a list of preconceived expectations of the students that I’d be working with.  But something struck me once I started my lesson like a big slap across the face; students are students whether they are Korean or American.  Once I realized this, I became much more comfortable with the situation and it turned out to be an incredible experience.

In addition, I learned a lot about professionalism, I’ve never been to an event that required such high formalities as this trip did.  I mean, to put it quite frankly, I actually had to wear a business suit!!  Again, I’m an education major so learning about professionalism for me is extremely important.

One huge benefit of going on this trip is the fact that I can tell my future employers that I have been outside of the United States for an educational purpose.  The tricky part, how do I tell them about my experience to prove how valuable the trip was?  BassettKorea2.pngI know I would tell my employer that I spent ten days in South Korea comparing the educational systems of the American and Korean societies in order to further develop my global appreciation of agricultural education. I learned that being an agricultural educator is very unique due to the broad range of skills required to accomplish our goals. For example, the students at SNU use their Agricultural Education major as a human resources kind of major where they work in large companies such as Samsung and LG.  This is because an agricultural educator learns to work with people.  I found this to be a valuable lesson for me because I can market this idea to my future employers. 

The coolest part about this trip is that it has stemmed the desire to travel even more.  I’m currently considering more opportunities to travel.