Korean students immersed in Southern culture and history

Taylor Foxx
Staff Writer

In early February, Troy University partnered with Inha University to create a two-week intensive English program highlighting Southern culture, history and literature called “Inha at Troy: A Southern Experience.”
The program had 25 Korean students.
“The students had a packed schedule – 40 hours of English development, 12 hours of literature and culture of the American South, and 40 hours of field trips, all in two weeks – and they will be unpacking that learning for a long time,” said David Kent, the English as a second language program director.
The program that began on Feb. 2 was designed to be hands-on and allowed the students to experience and see the principles they were studying.
To study “To Kill A Mockingbird,” the students read the book and visited Monroeville, the city where the author lives and the story is based.
To study the Civil Rights Movement, the students visited the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached, and they met individuals who experienced this period of history.
The students also had field trips to Selma, the White House of the Confederacy, the State Archives, the Pioneer Museum, the Hyundai Plant and several other locations.
The program is composed of a two-week English program at Troy University and a one-week internship opportunity with several automotive companies in the Southeast.
“Many other Inha students applied for this program,” said Boyeong Na, a program participant from Incheon, South Korea. “I was fortunately selected to be one of the 25 students. Learning Southern history and culture is a rare chance for Korean students. I am very glad to be here and the internship program will help me a lot in the future.”
On Feb. 14, the students completed the Troy portion of their experience and were awarded certificates by Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. at an awards luncheon.
Hawkins’ comments highlighted the dedication of those involved in creating the program and the desire of Troy to continue to foster its relationships with other nations and universities.
“Inha University has been a valued partner for many years,” Hawkins said. “Based upon the feedback provided, it is reasonable to conclude the program was successful beyond expectation. It is our desire to share a reciprocal relationship with Inha, which allows students from both universities to spend time in both countries. We will expand study abroad opportunities in Korea and beyond.”
At the luncheon, those who helped make the program a success were recognized, including Troy University faculty and students.
Noel Kaylor, an English professor who helped create and carry out the program, was recognized with an award of appreciation for his dedication to the program.
“Dr. Kaylor’s extensive knowledge of the field, his knowledge of the local area, his expertise in literature, his personal contacts, and his familiarity with Korean culture and Inha University all lent a great deal to the success of this program,” Kent said.
The program also enlisted the help of 25 Troy students to create an intense, six-day version of the conversation-partner program.
“The Korean students do speak a lot about the conversation partners,” Kent said. “Getting to know a fellow student at an overseas school is hard to beat as a way to gain entry to the culture. It makes the strange seem more familiar. Our conversation partners are great ambassadors.”
This year’s program was the first, but this program is hoped to become an annual one between Troy University and Inha University.

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