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June 28, 2016 | Spotlight

Institute coordinates pre-trip briefing for MPA students in Korea study-abroad course

Institute coordinates pre-trip briefing for MPA students in Korea study-abroad course

Writer: Roger Nielsen

Korean government leaders on long-term research assignments at UGA helped eight master of public administration students prepare for a study-abroad course in Seoul through an orientation arranged by the Institute of Government.

The MPA students attending the School of Public and International Affairs urban administration course gained first-hand knowledge of Korean governance and culture before leaving for a week of intensive training in Seoul. SPIA offers the Maymester course in collaboration with the Institute, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the University of Seoul.

Taesik Yun, who coordinates the Institute's Korea Program, also arranged for the students to visit a restaurant in Duluth to help the students better understand food etiquette and cultural norms before they traveled overseas.

During their trip to Korea, the students study and analyze major policy issues involving the Seoul Municipal Government, attend presentations by SMG directors, and visit government facilities and historic sites in the South Korean capital, according to course instructor Deborah Carroll.

"In the morning, the students attend lectures from mid- to high-ranking public officials. Then, in the afternoon, they visit facilities that they learned about in the morning," said Carroll, SPIA's graduate coordinator and MPA director.

SMG provides financial support for the program, though students have to pay their own airfare.

The Institute arranged for SMG researchers attending UGA to give pre-trip presentations to the students on local government and culture. The planning is effective and important, according to Carroll. "Hearing from those individuals is extremely beneficial to these students. We want to be very responsible and appropriate during the visit," she said.

The course, "Case Study in Seoul," is so popular that SPIA has a waiting list of interested master's students, she said.