Korea: Peace Studies

Explore themes of peace and reconciliation in South Korea on an immersive summer abroad program for high school students.

Journey through Korea’s past and present during a high school summer abroad program focused on peace studies and cultural immersion. The program’s different components and travel to different regions provide you with diverse perspectives on contemporary life in Korea and the country’s ongoing challenges related to peace and development. Deepen your knowledge of Korea’s socio-political development by engaging with historians, economists, and prominent members of civil society.

Throughout the program, you are immersed in South Korean contemporary life and culture. Following the multiday orientation in Seoul—the country’s political, economic, and cultural center—live with a Korean host family in Jeonju, participating in their daily activities. Learn about religious traditions and the art of meditation alongside Buddhist monks during the program’s temple stay. Near the end of the program, experience the beautiful landscapes, coastal towns, and national parks of mountainous Gangwon province during an exploration of the country’s northeast.

The program includes formal Korean language instruction, visits to important historical and cultural sites such as palaces and museums, a community service project arranged by a local organization, and numerous opportunities to experience Korean food and popular culture.

Orientation: Seoul, 7 days
Homestay: Jeonju or Busan,* 7–10 days
Other Accommodations: Guest house, temple, dormitory, and hostel

* Homestay locations can vary.

Students in South Korea Days 1–8

Orientation in Seoul

  • Learn about the history and culture of South Korea and about its relations with North Korea
  • Get to know other members of your group during activities and group discussions
  • Visit famous sites and museums throughout the city
  • Explore diverse neighborhoods and sample Korean cuisine
  • Begin survival Korean language lessons and practice your skills with Korean university students
  • Visit the DMZ, watch films about the history of the social-political development of the country, and engage in discussions with local historians
  • Explore the city with South Korean university students studying North and South Korean relations
  • Participate in community service projects such as volunteering at a soup kitchen that serves the elderly

During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located guest house.

Days 9–11

Buddhist Temple Stay

  • Learn about Buddhism and Buddhist religious traditionsStudents learning drumming in South Korea
  • Live, work, and meditate with the temple’s monks

During this period, you and your group will stay at a Buddhist temple.

Days 12–21

Homestay

  • Become fully immersed in the daily life of a Korean family and community
  • Do activities with your host family
  • Explore your host community and the surrounding area with your group
  • Participate in cultural activities to learn more about Korean culture and traditions
  • Spend a day at Korea’s famous Mud Festival

During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample host communities: Seongnam, Jeonju, Hwacheon

Days 22–26

Excursion to Busan

  • Enjoy a traditional Korean barbeque
  • Picnic and swim at the beach
  • Meet with Korean students at a local youth camp and do a scavenger hunt with them around Busan

During this period, you and your group will stay in hotels.

Days 27–28

Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Seoul

  • Reflect with your group on your experiences during the program

During the reflection period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hostel.

Day 29

Departure

Please note: This itinerary is only a sample and is subject to change. Because of factors such as group size and availability of in-country offerings such as festivals, your experience — including sites visited and the number of days spent in each location — may differ somewhat from the one presented above.

These are leader bios from summer 2014.

Ariana Chomitz

Apart from three years of growing up in Indonesia, Ariana’s home base is usually Washington, DC. While she tends to prefer either warmer climes or buzzing cities, she lived quite happily for some time in neither, earning her BA in anthropology from rural Ohio's Kenyon College in 2013.

Ariana’s passion for cultures and international education has taken her around the world, through Europe, Asia, and South America. Since her gap year in India, she has been a full convert to the transformational wonders of hands-on education, spending two semesters overseas with SIT Study Abroad in Bali and Brazil, and then, after graduation, leading two Experiment programs to South Korea in 2013 and 2014. In the year between, she worked for the Experiment domestically, managing social media and assisting the admissions team.

Her latest adventure in 2015 will take her to California for some much needed sunshine and to serve as an experiential educator for the Pali Institute's science and outdoors youth programs. When not traveling or teaching, Ariana is training in dance and capoeira, writing for various online outlets, or traipsing about with a coffee in one hand and camera in the other.

Peter Plass

Peter Plass was raised partly in New Jersey, somewhat in the Bahamas, and minimally in England, and has been an avid traveler ever since. His favorite part of the US is New Mexico, where he graduated from the College of Santa Fe in 2002 with a BBA in arts and entertainment management before heading off to work for a while as a cowboy. His legacy at World Learning begins with attaining his master’s degree in international education from SIT Graduate Institute in 2009 and then working professionally with the World Learning in-bound youth programs. Most recently, he has been serving as an Experiment admissions officer since 2013, and he led the summer 2014 Experiment program to Korea.

Pete’s well-worn passport has taken him through Europe, Latin America, and Asia in roles such as science teacher in South Korea and economic development specialist for the US Peace Corps in Costa Rica. Pete enjoys the arts, being outdoors, biking, and kayaking, as well as all things goofy and geeky, from board games to Doctor Who. Ever a biology nerd, he would love to tell you why beetles are his favorite thing ever.

Never have I ever been placed in an environment so peaceful, a place that allows you as an individual to become one with yourself. I remember watching the low lying clouds engulf the temple with a misty alacrity and thinking just how amazing it is that I am here right now, over six thousand miles away from the home I knew so well.

Thomas Conboy, Tuckahoe High School

I really enjoyed my experience in Korea. I’ve learned a lot about how to immerse myself in new cultures and how to communicate and connect with people despite language barriers. I’ve learned these things by actually trying to communicate with Koreans and observing and interacting with Korean culture.