Unveiling the Mask of Korean Culture and Legendary Economic Development
30 May – 4 June 2016
Tour Coordinators: Dr. Martin TSUI, Mr. Michael TSE
The true mental landscape of South Korea is always covered by amazing cosmetic surgeries, powerful K-pop dancing and omnipotent mobile phones. With the aim to unveil the mask of attractive Korean culture and legendary economic development, a group of 21 students set foot on Korean soil this summer.
The first clue to uncover the secret was to be found in the cradle of elites, the Seoul National University and Korea University. Students learnt more about the history, architecture, organisation and culture from the teaching staff and student ambassadors of the universities.
Students also identified Samsung phenomenon as another important clue. The successful business model, branding and marketing strategies of this giant firm has laid the foundation of Korean mobile and electronic kingdom in the global arena. All participants were amazed by the perfect combination of creativity and technology after visiting the “Samsung d’light” museum.
Other activities, including ancient Korean role-play, K-pop dancing class and visit to Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), demonstrated various historic and cultural factors which shaped the modern face of South Korea. Students were being prompted to answer a simple but tough question: Why can’t we do the same in Hong Kong? The answers are blowing in the wind.
"A Glance at Korean Culture and Entrepreneurship"
LAU Chun Hon, Benny （Cultural Studies, Year 2）
During the trip, we paid a visit to an academy for preforming arts in Seoul and had a 2-hour K-pop dancing tutorial given by a local instructor. Her extraordinary dancing techniques and performance really blew our mind. After the lesson, we were told that talents in Korea usually start to receive professional training at an early age for more than 8 hours per day. However, only one to two percent among the graduates at the end can get signed by record labels and make their debut. Without determination and perseverance, people will not be able to stand through the strict training and stand out from the crowd in the industry. The experience of learning k-pop dancing gave me a new insight into Korean popular culture. The sweat and agony behind their success had truly gained my respect.
Also, we visited Samsung Innovation Museum and had a better knowledge on South Korea’s national entrepreneurship. Samsung is a transnational corporation renowned for its high-tech home appliances and stylish gadgets. Apart from putting a lot of resources in research and development, surprisingly the corporation has also placed much emphasis on education. While walking inside the museum, we encountered a group of local primary schools students. The staff not only passionately introduced various inventions of Samsung, they also taught the students about the history and vision behind. It helped establish a sense of belonging and pride in the young children, which may foster the unity among the citizens as a whole. From this, I reflected a lot about the importance of national education and it gave me a wider perspective about what “entrepreneurship” involved.
"A Chance to Make New Friends and Enhance Communication Skills"
CHEUNG Sau Ying, Crystal （Business Administration, Year 2）
We visited three of the most famous universities in South Korea during the trip, including Seoul National University (SNU), Korea University (KU) and Ewha Woman’s University (EwhaWU). All the student ambassadors from these universities who received us were very friendly and introduced the background and history of the universities to us during the campus tours. At first I was a bit shy to talk, however, when I was invited to share about the college life in Hong Kong, I found that starting a conversation and making new friends were not as difficult as I thought.
Then, we visited the Kwangjang Market on another day. During the visit, one of my group mates wanted to buy a dress for her grandmother but unfortunately she was not able to communicate with the shopkeeper. I was the only one in the group who could speak a little Korean so I helped a bit with the translation. The old lady was surprised that I could speak the local language and enthusiastically showed us various items. At last, my group mate successfully found the right dress which she was looking for, and all of us were very happy.
In all, I was grateful for joining this trip because the experience gave me more confidence in talking to new friends from different background in English and I was motivated to brush up my Korean. My communication skills were also enhanced which will be useful for my future.