By Anne Achieng
Ehwa Woman’s University in Seoul, Korea and the University of Nairobi in Nairobi Kenya, are working together to promote knowledge on Korean culture. For the last two years, students at The University of Nairobi have had lectures from S. Korea through teleconferencing. In 2016, from May to August, the students learned Political Economy of Korean Development through a Lecturer from Ehwa University, Department of Political Science. In 2017, students were taught Korean Social Political Philosophy by a lecturer from Sookmyung Woman’s University.
The mission and purpose of this program is to improve relations between Kenya and South Korea. More to it is to improve the knowledge about Korea. The courses are meant to expose students to other dynamics of Korea such as economy, literature, culture and other relevant Korean matters. The program runs for 11 weeks which is equivalent to 1 semester. The best performing student gets a chance to visit Korea for 1 month.
This year, the UoN students are thrilled about the program and have enrolled in large numbers. Julius Macharia and Bhavisha Patel, students from the 2017 class, say it is always an interesting experience learning about Korea through online. They also applauded the lecturers for their outstanding teaching.
The 2018 class is set to study Korean Economic Development by Pof. Kim Sei-Wan from Ehwa Woman’s University. He flew to Kenya for his first lecture. We caught up with him for a short interview. The class will run from January to April.
Bridge: Please tell us about yourself
Prof. Kim: I am an Economics lecturer at Ehwa Women’s University in Seoul. I got my degree in the United States. I’ve also taught at California State University, Department of economics.
Bridge: Is this your first time in Africa? How do you find Kenya?
Prof. Kim: Yes, this is my first time in Africa. Kenya is a land of so much economic opportunities. I am here to lecture students and I am looking forward to a good time.
Bridge: For how long have you been doing the online class, is this your first time? Have you ever done it with other universities in other countries?
Prof. Kim: I have done online teaching for some time now; I have a lot of experience in this area. I’ve done online classes with the University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong, Bonn University in Germany, among others. I have years of experience in online teaching.
Bridge: What do you plan to achieve with the class of 2018?
Prof. Kim: I want the students to learn about Korea’s economic growth. Korea was poor, especially after the war but now 50 years later, it has grown to richness, currently being the world’s 11th largest economy. In this way, students can learn how Kenya can develop into a super power.
Bridge: From your observation of previous classes, how has this program been of benefit to those universities and the students?
Prof. Kim: The program has boosted knowledge about Korea and Korean economic society. This has led to rapid economic growth and a good relationship between countries.
Bridge: What advice do you have for students who’ll be taking the class?
Prof. Kim: I would like the students to read more about Korean history, culture and economy, outside what is taught in class. They can also read about the popular K-Pop.
Bridge: What’s your future expectation of this program?
Prof. Kim: I expect it to be given more chances to develop, reaching out to more countries in Africa and Asia. This will build a good relationship between countries and therefore boost economic growth.
Photos: Joshua Nyantika