The objective of the program is to immerse teachers who work with Korean students in their native culture.
The number of Korean families in the Auburn and Opelika areas has risen due to an increase in nearby Korean Automakers companies Hyundai and Kia.
The program began in 2010 with a grant from the president of AJIN USA, a Korean automotive supply company with a production facility in the Cusseta area.
The program allows for academic credit through a graduate-level course Global Studies in Counseling and Education.
The home of the course will be Ewha Woman’s University, located in Seoul, Korea.
This is the second year teachers from Auburn, Opelika and Lee County schools have accompanied graduate counseling students to Korea.
Two Auburn professors in the Department of Special Education Rehabilitation and Counseling Dr. Suhyun Suh and Dr. John C. Dagley and Federal Programs Coordination for Auburn City Schools Karen Synder will join teachers and students on the trip this year.
Dr. Suhyun Suh said the president was very willing to help the program.
Suh said his own daughter went to high school in America.
He also said he realizes there are challenges to education because of a lack of understanding.
He said he hopes the program will enable to smooth transition for both students and teachers in the Auburn City School System.
The teachers participating in the trip will present what they have learned to other teachers upon return.
. “For some people it’s a kind of a risky adventure going to the opposite side of the world,” Suh said.
The program begins with pre-departure orientation sessions led by Korean professors with lectures to familiarize participants with Korean culture, traditions and holidays, historically significant sites and government.
While in Korea the group will take guided tours and field trips in the greater Seoul area, Panmunjam, Daegu and Pusan. AJIN will also take the group to Shanghai, China for additional tours.
“The program has done exactly what the sponsors hoped in raising awareness so that teachers can appreciate where the students are coming from,” Synder said.
She said that the parents of Korean students are very appreciative of the effort the school system has made.
Synder said the language barrier is small because most Koreans speak English. Schools in Korea begin teaching English in third grade.
“I wish we could offer more and at a younger age,” Synder said, regarding languages in our school systems.