Many students like Seonghyun Kim, an international student from South Korea, thought COVID-19 would prevent them from having an education abroad experience, but Kim found a way around the pandemic: a virtual program with “Beyond Harems and Belly Dancers: Turkish Culture.”
Kim, a rising junior studying international relations and political science, took part in the virtual global learning program and studied the intricacies of culture and politics of Turkey in May 2021.
“I always wanted to participate in some kind of education abroad system, although I’m already studying abroad. But, due to COVID and this pandemic stuff, I didn’t have the opportunity,” Kim said. “I always wanted to explore more of Turkey, because reading a few articles and watching some videos about international relations, I felt Turkey was playing a significant role.”
Studying international relations and diplomacy, he learned that the Middle East is one of the most important regions in foreign policy, and he said wanted to learn more about Turkey.
“The power of Turkey is greater than what people usually think,” Kim said. “I was aware of the power that Turkey has, and I see that Turkey will grow more than expected.”
Through the virtual program, Kim gained a well-rounded and positive perspective on Turkey, something he never had the opportunity to discuss before taking this course.
Kim’s knowledge of domestic politics in Turkey expanded, and he appreciates Turkish music and the uniqueness of the sounds. Kim even was able to learn about how the two subjects connect and influence each other.
One of the most interesting parts of the course for Kim was trying Turkish food for the first time in this class. He cooked the entire meal himself, and he enjoyed it so much he made Turkish food again for his family.
“It was really a unique opportunity,” Kim said. “They all were amazed by how delicious it was.”
Kim said he knew that South Korea and Turkey have shared ancestors and a strong history, but he could not fully comprehend the relationship between the two countries. After taking this course, he said he can connect fully with South Korea’s ally.
“I have heard that my home country and Turkey are brother nations since I was young, but I couldn’t really understand,” Kim said. “I couldn’t really feel it in a sentimental way.”
Virtual opportunities provide another path for students to gain intercultural competencies and can achieve many of the same learning outcomes observed from traditional education abroad programs. Students interested in online global opportunities should visit educationabroad.osu.edu.