Staff study-abroad program to visit South Korea

Seoul, South Korea/Shutterstock
Seoul, South Korea/Shutterstock

Attention Washington University in St. Louis staff members looking for an experience described as “wonderful,” “insightful” and “enriching”: Apply now for a chance to travel to South Korea in the summer of 2015 through the Global Diversity Overseas Seminar Program (GDOS).

The program is a professional development opportunity for staff that looks at diversity from a global perspective. Past GDOS cohorts have traveled to Ghana, Chile, Paris and Shanghai.

South Korea was selected as this year’s destination for several reasons, said Shanon Langlie, global projects manager in Global Initiatives.

“South Korea is a fascinating subject for the Global Diversity Overseas Seminar Program to focus on,” Langlie said. “The country has a robust history, strong religious and cultural traditions, and it is a major trading partner in Asia that has invested in manufacturing, technology and design.

“The rise of Korean popular culture and fashion have made international headlines in the last few years,” she said. “South Korea continues to grapple with a number of important social and political issues, such as its role with neighbors in the region; making adjustments for an aging population; and emphasizing education but dealing with a lack of jobs for young people, which has fueled a strong social entrepreneurship movement.”

Langlie noted that Washington University has relationships with three universities in South Korea, both as McDonnell International Scholars Academy partners and study abroad partners (Korea University, Seoul National University and Yonsei University). Also, students from South Korea make up the second largest group of international students at the university, and Washington University has a large alumni base there.

The application process: The GDOS Program has a competitive selection process. Applications are due Jan. 1, 2015. Participants will be selected and notified by Jan. 16. The application includes short essays, along with a document for supervisors to complete and sign.

Who should apply: The GDOS Program is open to staff at Washington University, with preferences given to those employed on the Danforth Campus and who also have significant interaction with undergraduate students as a part of their job.

Commitment: The first GDOS 2015 meeting will be Feb 4. Participants meet as a group every other week, with readings and discussion points assigned based on the week’s topic. The one-week trip to South Korea is in early June. After the trip, participants focus on final assignments and developing and implementing an educational outreach campaign to share insights with the greater Washington University community.

Testimonials from past program participants are below, along with a video on the 2014 Ghana trip by participant Tom Malkowicz, video producer-editor in Public Affairs. For more information and the application, visit here.

How the GDOS program opens eyes, changes outlook

‘Traveling to Santiago was intellectually enriching. One rarely — if ever — has the chance to travel and discover with colleagues from across the university. The sum of what we experienced is priceless, and I feel blessed to have been afforded the opportunity.’

– Warren J. Davis, assistant dean, College of Arts & Sciences (Chile 2013)

‘Ghana is a country alive with promise. Through GDOS, we got a crash course in the sorrowful legacy of slavery, the hopes of young entrepreneurs, and the vibrant music and culture. It was truly special to share that experience with Wash U colleagues who are now dear friends.’

– Robin Hattori, assistant director, Gephardt Institute for Public Service (Ghana 2014)

‘The GDOS Program is a “must” for staff members who want to experience firsthand what our students go through in their study abroad experience. The challenges and rewards are definitely worth it!’

– Vicki Mueller, assistant director, Student Financial Services (Shanghai 2012)

‘The GDOS trip demonstrated how studying abroad can exponentially magnify the value of what would otherwise be an ordinary travel experience. The camaraderie amongst my fellow Wash U traveling students was a very special component of the GDOS experience.’

– Tom Evola, director, Engineering Graduate Admissions (Paris 2012)

‘Wash U gave me an opportunity to experience Chilean culture in a way that I would never have been able to do on my own. We delved into social, educational, political and human rights issues that helped me connect to the Chilean society. Also, the GDOS experience definitely opened my eyes to the challenges our own international students must have when they arrive on campus.’

– Bill Larson, operations manager, Edison Theatre (Chile 2013)

‘Our travels in Ghana were filled with unexpected
challenges and surprises. Surprises that were wonderful — strolling down
the bustling streets at dusk when families gathered in the open air to
prepare dinner. Challenges like paved roads in remote areas that became
rut-filled dirt paths. These experiences gave me a much better
understanding of what students face when choosing to study abroad in
places like Accra.’

– Mary Zabriskie, assistant director, Campus Life (Ghana 2014)

‘The trip to Ghana was one of the most insightful and informative experiences I have had. It was truly amazing to experience the evolution of a relatively new democracy that is building its political, economic and physical infrastructures.’

– Harvey Fields, assistant director for academic programs, Cornerstone: The Center for Advanced Learning (Ghana 201