Learning About Korean Politics and Possible Reunification: May 16th

After spending some time in Busan can genuinely say that Busan is not Seoul. Busan is unique due to its strategic shipping location near the Pacific Ocean and due to its population. While Seoul has around ten million residences, Busan only had three million. What I was able to see is that Busan wants to form its unique identity and develop a sense of pride among its residents.

Once the clock struck eight, I was out of bed and in line for breakfast. Today was unusual in that there were potato wedges instead of hash browns being served. Personally, I preferred the hash browns, but I didn’t complain. When breakfast was over, we all boarded the bus and traveled to the U.S. Consulate in Busan. The trip to the consulate took around thirty minutes. Hearing the bus’s breaks screech, I knew we had arrived. We were all greeted by one of the workers of the consulate and brought into a conference room. In this room, we were welcomed by Diplomat Daniel Gedacht. Mr. Gedacht discussed his position and his experience as a diplomat for the United States of America. It was fascinating to hear how the United States cares so much about its relationship with foreign nations, such as South Korea. Although small, the U.S. Consulate in Busan indeed shows that America cares about its relationship with South Korea. Following the presentation, we were all given a tour of the consulate, which consisted of two room, some computers, and two offices. The systems put in place for security were top of the line, and we were able to see how these systems were put into use to prevent the loss of data and keep up safety.

Our next stop for the day was Pusan National University (PNU). The bus ride to PNU was about twenty minutes and felt quick. Having arrived at the university, we were all given around fifty minutes of free time. Some of the group took this time to get some ice cream to combat the brutally hot day. When it was time to go to the university, we boarded the bus. We arrived in front of the main building and listened to lectures about the history of PNU and its summer program. After the introduction, we were lectured on the relations between North and South Korea. This lecture was interesting to listen to because we were getting a variety of perspectives of this situation and how this situation is being addressed socially, economically, politically, and technologically. What I found most significant was that even if there were a reunification of both North and South Korea, the financial burden for South Korea would be very high due to the adoption of the weak economy in the North.

Soon after the lectures, we boarded the bus and took a bus tour of the university. The university itself practically lives on a mountain, and the bus struggles to keep up. Having finished the tour, we bid farewell to our guides, and we were off to the hotel. The trip felt quick being that I was asleep for most of the ride. Once the group returned to the hotel, we decided that it was best to get a good night’s rest. This rest would give us the energy to spend the whole last day at the beach and in the sun.

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