During the 5 days study tour in Korea particularly Seoul capital city, I have had the chance to learn and experience abundant of valuable knowledge about Korean society including history, culture, education and economic and social organization.
Seoul is not only a modern city but also a cultural and tourism center. I am impressed to see very well-preserved shrines and palaces in the middle of the affluent city. Korean has been doing very great job in preserving her own cultural heritage, although it has gone through the dramatic process of economic and social development. Korean society is a very special type of society. Korean society is such a unique feature of a society where tradition and modernity can be found in the same place. The fact that modernity and tradition are mixing together makes lifestyle of Korean people become very interesting. I have observed that Korean people have preserved most part of their culture especially language usage and the historical heritages very well. What catch my attention the most is the characteristics of people. At the same time that they are living in such a closed society where culture is very valued by its members, Korean people are quite open to different religious practices.
Besides being impressed about cultural heritage and people’s lifestyle, there are two memorable experiences that have inspired me. The two experiences are visiting the top two university in Korea— Korean University and Seoul National University, and the visit to business enterprises including “Save Zone” and “House of Joy”. In term of education and economy, Korea has been doing very good job in this global era. “Save Zone” and “House of Joy” are the business enterprises with special characteristics. Instead of solely target for profit making, these enterprises take into account the social responsibilities. “Save Zone” has developed a special characteristic of business in which the roles of retailers are reduced, and customers can enjoy the benefit of fairly low-price on various types of products. House of Joy is also a very thought-provoking type of social enterprise. Based on Christian religious belief, a group of people come together to form business where the profits earning from that business are directly benefit the community and society. These two types of enterprises are not very common among the current business practice. I think these enterprises can be treated as the models for other business enterprises as it would benefit many people in the society.
In some people perspectives, Korean society may not be a very opened society as people tend to be a closed and conservative society. However, this kind of society inspired to me a lot. Taking globalization into consideration where Westernization influence is very dominant, a country from Asia like Korea is doing pretty well in term of promoting its culture and economy growth in the international stage. It also has maintained very strong bounds community and its identity as Korean. It is very important for each society especially Asian countries to rethink about its position in the globalize process. Many countries have been trying to catch up with the rest of the world without considering about preserving their own culture and identity. Korean society, in contrast, has proved that modernity or development can be achieved at the same time that cultural heritages are preserved, and this makes Korea become one of the most recognized societies in the world.
During the trip, I have also learnt a lot from other students from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Turkey and other countries. This study tour allows us to have chance to communicate and work together as team even though we all have different cultural backgrounds. This study tour itself shows clearly how globalization should be like. Globalization should be the process that everyone can develop themselves through the process of communicating, exchanging and sharing of knowledge and ideas to one another so that everyone can get mutual benefit, while different cultures and identity are being respected.