This story first appeared in the January 2018 edition of The Hilltop.
This past week, Corban had the opportunity to host 10 students from Cheong Ju National University of Education in South Korea. The students stayed in the dorms for four days, from Jan. 27 to 31. The students spent most of their time visiting local elementary schools.
Katie Parr hosted Yeoreum Yoon.
“I’m excited about the friendship that I have with Yoon,” Parr said. “We got to watch movies together.”
Sang-Eun Dyer, professor of education, is an alumni from Cheong Ju National University of Education. In 2014, Dyer went with Kristin Dixon, dean of education and counseling, to a conference in South Korea, and they decided to stop by Dyer’s alma mater. They made some connections there, and in 2015, six Corban students went to South Korea to teach English in an affiliated elementary school on the same college campus.
In January 2016, 10 South Korean college students visited campus for the first time.
“They wanted to have some experience in an American college, but also wanted to teach in front of elementary kids, not in a Korean setting,” Dyer said.
Dyer spent her sabbatical from August 2016 to July 2017 at Cheong Ju National University meeting students and professors, and teaching two classes. The professors encouraged her to continue hosting South Korean students at Corban.
“They attended a lot of different events, on campus and outside of campus events,” Dyer said. “They like to see some other countries, how teachers teach, how they manage their classroom, how they track with their students, what kind of parent involvement they have.”
Sam Pearson, associate director of Global Engagement, worked to make the visit valuable to the South Korean students.
“Our task is to create sort of Corban Experience for them,” Pearson said.
They lived in the dorms for four nights and experienced chapel and some cultural events. They went to a symphony, OMSI, a play in Portland, Silver Falls and the Oregon Coast. They also had a tour of the Capitol.
“I expect a good experience when I am a student going abroad,” said Eunseol Hur, who graduates this year.
Dyer said these students came from a secular university, so Corban had a unique opportunity to share Christ’s love.
“A lot of the cultural events were a good ministry for us to talk about,” she said, “with a friendly campus and people who are different from normal. We’re not normal, but we are Corban, and I hope they can feel that a little bit, ‘Why are they so friendly?’ ‘Why are they welcoming us so well?’ I want them to see some difference because of this event and have fun with the cultural trip. I want them to have a rich experience.”
Dyer also said the visit to campus could provide the opportunity to debunk some stereotypes about America. For some students, coming to Corban may be their first time coming to America.
“Because I am very young, this was the first time I crossed the Pacific Ocean,” Yoon said.
“They might have some cultural misconceptions about coming to America from the movies,” Dyer said, “like that Americans use guns all the time, they use drugs and they also might have some bad images about young American people. I hope that they think, ‘Oh I was wrong,’” Dyer said.