Tour expands ‘view on America’ for South Korean students
PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — When South Korean professor Huh Jung-myung joined her students for a recent tour of U.S. Army installations in Daegu, she was pretty sure they’d get a firsthand look at what amounts to a “small America.”
When the Keimyung University professor caught the excitement in her students’ faces during the tour, she saw she’d been right.
“I could see the eyes of the students,” said Huh. He said the tour meant a lot to them and “enlarges their view on America.”
The Army’s Area IV Support Activity hosted the Sept. 22 tour, during which Huh’s 31 American Studies department students were shown around camps Henry and Walker. They ate in a dining hall and even spent a half-hour looking around the Camp Walker home of Col. Donald J. Hendrix, the Support Activity commander.
Part of the U.S. Forces Korea’s Good Neighbor Program, the tour was meant to show university students how Americans live and tell them something about Area IV Support Activity’s mission in defending South Korea, said Kevin Jackson, Area IV spokesman.
As a result, Huh is considering further contacts between the Army and her students.
She has said she’s thinking of asking the Army to send a soldier to the school to talk about a slice or two of American culture.
She’s also thinking her students might benefit from a special internship program Area IV has with Daegu’s Kyungpuk National University. Started this January, it enables qualified students to work for six months at one of the Army’s three installations in Daegu: camps Henry, Walker or George.
Students don’t get paid, but the university gives them a full semester of credit for an “overseas internship” and exempts them from regular classwork and exams during the 40-hour-a-week program.
Huh heard about it during Thursday’s tour and would like to see her university start a similar program.
Area IV officials have said, however, that if one were to be set up applicants would have to undergo a thorough screening process and compete for a limited number of slots. Eight students are in Area IV internships this semester.
Huh said the value of such contacts with the military to her American Studies students would make the effort worth their while.
“They all know America from the books and from the mouth of all of these professors,” Huh said. “But it would be nice for them to have real contact with the soldiers there.”