IU’s Korea connection
It’s only taken members of the IU delegation about 48 hours to discover that Hoosier spirit is alive and strong in Seoul.
That spirit is reflected in a local alumni base totaling more than 1,400 IU international graduates, many of whom have gone on to leadership positions representing almost every area of Korean society, including the arts, business, education, government, medicine and more.
Worldwide, IU now boasts more than 3,600 alumni affiliated with Korea (a number second only to China), and the university continues to welcome around 1,000 Korean students to its campuses each year. In turn, IU continues to send a sizeable number of its own students to Korea for meaningful study abroad experiences in one of the world’s most dynamic and culturally rich countries.
Many of these exchanges have been facilitated by IU’s carefully executed partnership agreements with Korea’s premier universities, including Yonsei University, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul National University and Ewha Womans University. IU continues to seek ways to further its collaborative activities with each of these institutions in an effort to provide more overseas opportunities for its students and faculty and to encourage foreign scholars to bring their talents, ideas and unique cultural perspectives to its campuses across Indiana. (IU welcomes around 100 visiting foreign scholars from Korea annually.)
While all of this is impressive, of course, it only tells part of the story about the ongoing impact of IU’s successful Korea connection.
IU alumni living in Seoul are well known to be among the university’s most active, engaged and passionate graduates, whether they’re supporting a group of student musicians making history, suggesting new exchange programs or simply reminiscing about their time at IU, the lessons they took home with them and friendships they made.
They’re also immensely proud of their alma mater. Talk about the many positive developments at IU, and their eyes light up. One might think being thousands of miles away, they’d be content with the time they had at IU. But it’s not enough. They want more – but not for themselves. They truly want others to have the experiences they had. They are eager to open their doors to more IU students seeking overseas study opportunities. They want to send more Korean students to IU, recognizing the value of an IU education and, perhaps more importantly, the importance of bridging cultures in a global marketplace that technology has brought closer together than ever before.
This evening, members of the IU delegation had the opportunity to dine with leaders of IU’s successful Korea alumni chapter. The conversations ranged from talking about IU’s newly launched schools, such as the School of Global and International Studies and Media School, new faculty hires and stories of major student achievement to how well the Hoosiers would fare in the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament.
The IU pride in the room was palpable, and I can now confirm what’s been said often, but probably not enough: IU alumni truly are the university’s greatest global ambassadors.