Korean students come to Kent State for a look at politics, journalism

Hyungshok Kim and Jeesoo Kim work on a project in the Franklin media lab on Now. 3, 2015.

Alexis Wohler

Students from Dankook University in South Korea came to Kent State to visit and work as reporters from Oct. 30 to Nov. 7. The six students are part of a class called “International Storytelling”. 

DanKook University has a relationship with Kent State University, where students from Ohio go to DanKook University, and to reciprocate, professors at Kent State who teach “International Storytelling” receive students from South Korea to visit Kent’s campus.

The students were formerly welcomed to Kent State on Monday morning by the dean of CCI Amy Reynolds, Director of Journalsim and Mass Communication Thor Wasbotten and JMC professors Mitch McKenney and Gary Hanson.

According to Hanson, the DanKook students are interested in politics and the presidential election in 2016.

“They’ll cover local 2015 elections and are interested in looking at Ohio’s politics as well as what is happening with national politics,” Hanson said.

Hanson said the DanKook students are at Kent State for a reporting project, and they have a newsroom set up in Franklin Hall that is used for their reporting class. They will conduct interviews with their subjects and write stories based on the quotes and interviews—much like the reporting class does.

Hyung Seok Kim, a broadcast journalism student from Dankook, who took the American name Michael, said he is excited about learning about the election process in America.

“Everything in the U.S. is different than in Korea,” Michael said. “Everything seems much calmer here in the U.S. than in Korea; because in Korea, it’s go, go, go, nonstop all the time. The election (and) issue about marijuana seems really interesting to me, as well.”

Michael said he hopes to learn more about becoming a broadcast journalist through his experience at Kent State, and he hopes that this journey at here will help him figure out a permanent career path.

Hanson said he admires the students’ courage to come to Kent State.

“They’re really smart and brave to travel halfway across the world to (Kent). It’s great fun building up the group of students and working with them,” Hanson said.

Michael said there are three teams in his reporting class. His team has a focus on how U.S. students are involved in politics.

Michael also said the visual aide part of the American newspapers is very different from the Korean newspapers.

“The visuals are more direct and controlled in the newspapers at Kent State,” Michael said. “The visuals are more straight forward, where as in Korea, newspapers are more formal.”

The Dankook students got to experience Halloween for the first time.

Michael said Halloween was the best part of coming to Kent State for him.

“In Korea, we don’t celebrate Halloween,” said Michael. “It was fun to hang out and watch people get dressed up and I had a great time.”

Hanson said the students’ project is built around politics.

“Their project will be a three-part look at Ohio’s role in U.S. politics, particularly that spot that is occupied as the bellwether state in the presidential races,” said Hanson. “We have interviews set up with historians and political science professors and journalists.”

Reynolds said one of the things she thinks is important includes global connections, and having students from Dankook University at Kent State this week only strengthens that global connection.

“It is important to have global experience,” Reynolds said. “The students from Kent State who have traveled to and from Dankook have really benefited and are getting a leg up, not just from having an amazing, skills-based and cultural experience, but also when they look for jobs. Employers value that.”

Wasbotten welcomed the students from Dankook and said he hoped the students see how the U.S. and Ohio contribute to the election and politics.

“When our students understand the global nature of our world and the transnational impact that students have when they come to different places, they understand that we’re no longer in a very insulate environment, this is a global environment so we must understand each other a lot better,” Wasbotten said. “This transformational opportunity that people have when they travel outside their own boundaries and borders, is not only educational but it’s about the human spirit.”