Day 13: The Diplomat’s Perspective

May 16, 2019

We got to sleep in a little bit this morning. I always appreciate the opportunity to get in those extra few minutes. By ten o’clock though, we were off and headed to our first site of the day: the United States Consulate of Busan. Though it wasn’t initially in the itinerary, this “company” visit turned out to be very interesting. We spoke with the consul himself. He told us all about his line of work and the mission of the United States in Busan.

With tours in Poland, Italy, and now Korea, our man is chalk full of experience working abroad for our government. The consul spends a lot of time representing the United States’ foreign interests, but according to him, his most challenging work is preparing the city for the arrival of other American officials. His most interesting talking points were about the historical rivalry between South Korea and Japan. Almost a hundred years removed from the occupation period, Koreans still feel like they are owed an apology from Japan. According to the consul, a healthy alliance between the two can’t exist until that conflict is resolved.

Our second site of the day was Pusan National University, the oldest public university in all of South Korea. Established in 1946, it was created to educate the eventual leaders of Korea in the post-World War II era. When we got there, we sat in on a lecture all about North Korea culture and relations. It was really interesting to hear about the North’s perspective and their goals for the future of their nation. After that, some PNU students showed us around their campus. Much like Hanyang, the college is located in an extremely hilly part of town. The coolest part of the tour was definitely the visit to PNU’s engineering maker space. With tons of 3D printers and robotics labs, I was almost jealous of engineering majors for a bit. All in all, it was another great day in Busan.

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