Archive for July, 2007

Introduction: Information for the Curious

Hwanyŏng (welcome!) to my South Korean Fulbright blog. I have not left yet, but I wanted to test out the site by posting an opening message.

My departure date is August 19th, 2007. I am already both excited and homesick. I have spent much of the summer saying goodbye to people, learning basic Korean culture and language, and packing up my belongings. Kamsa hamnida (thank you) to everyone who has been supportive of this year-long adventure. Your encouragement has made it both easier and harder to leave.

Many of you have asked about where I will be teaching in Korea. I will be at Pyeongtaek University, which was founded in 1912 as a Protestant missionary school. It reinvented itself in the 1990s as a national Korean university and its main focus is the creation of global citizens. It has one of only seven American studies programs in the country, which combines the teaching of English with American history, culture and politics (like a French or Spanish major in the United States). All the American Studies Faculty speak English and my courses will be in English. My fall class is Race and Gender in American Society.

The English language website at Pyeongtaek is a little short on basic details like how many students attend. This has made it tough for me to get a sense of the place. However you can get a sense of the history and vision of the school at www.ptu.ac.kr/english/main1/main4.asp They clearly value international perspectives.

For those of you with high speed connections, check out the interactive campus map at the above address. You can click on any building on campus and get a 360 degree view of the campus from that spot. You can also tour the inside of some buildings. I do not yet know which building I will be in, but the International Center and the Humanities and Social Sciences Building are my best guesses.

The city of Pyeongtaek is smaller than I had been led to believe – about 400,000 people. 10,000 of those residents are foreigners (probably due to the presence of a major shipping port, a large American military base, and the University). Pyeongtaek is on the western coast of Korea, about an hour south of Seoul. It is part of a large, flat plain in one of the main agricultural sectors of South Korea. I am told that my University apartment building overlooks extensive rice paddies.

For those who want to know more about the city, please click this link to Pyeongtaek city’s English language website: www.pyeongtaek.go.kr/pub/eng/index.jsp . The “City Guide” section is the most helpful. You can check out the museums, botanic garden, food traditions, and cultural resources. I am sure you will hear more about most of these in future blog posts - especially the food. It may help to know that Korea has cataloged all of their cultural resources, ranging from historic sites (tangible) to pottery glazing techniques and types of dance (intangible). The resources in the Pyeongtaek area are listed under the “cultural resources” section.

I hope to be posting new web log entries once a week once I arrive in South Korea. You are welcome to check back any time and all the entries will be here. If you would like to receive new postings by e-mail, this web log program has a handy “sign up” feature. In the right sidebar of this blog page under the subscriptions section, there is a sign-up box. Simply enter your e-mail address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Thanks for reading, and I will post next when I arrive in Pyeongtaek!

Add comment July 29, 2007


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