A Nation Seeking Itself

South Korea

Duration 10 days
Suggested group size 12 - 20 students / 2 Envoys Field Staff
Suggested ages 15 - 18
Experience Korean Wave & Buddhism
Divided Koreas


A Nation Perpetually Seeking Itself

South Korea I

As the top source of outbound students, the Korean peninsula, famed for the 'Miracle on the Han', has strong academic, diplomatic, and economic ties. This study abroad experience explores the impact of the DPRK/ROK split on both nations, examining division's sadness and hope for reconciliation. We also delve into how culture defines today's youth, shaping their generation in this globally significant hotspot.

“In the realm where ancient palaces converse with modern skylines, South Korea's narrative emerges as a symphony of tradition and contemporary vibrancy.“


“Seoul's neon dance, temple tranquility, Korea's harmonious tale.“


Impact Statement Everywhere we go, we carry a promise – to engage with respect, act with purpose, and leave a positive imprint. As envoys of our journey is more than travel; Our footprint is light, but our impact is profound, creating bridges of cooperation and mutual growth across the globe.

Day 1

Students fly to South Korea, greeted by Envoys educators. After settling in, there's a safety briefing and group activity to foster dynamics and set shared agreements. The day continues with exploring the surroundings and enjoying a welcome dinner, introducing students to Korean cuisine.

Day 2

We head to Bukchon Hanok Village to experience the Joseon Dynasty and participate in a traditional arts and crafts workshop. After visiting the buddhist Jogye Temple we head to downtown Insadong Area, to the AmazingRace Insadong that challenges students' communication and orientation skills.

Day 3

We travel to the lively Myeongdong Area in Seoul, to experience modern Korean fashion and youth culture. We attend the famous Nanta show, a traditional Korean drumming performance mixed with entertaining cooking. The day ends with insightful interviews of young people in modern South Korea.

Day 4

Students explore how green architecture is incorporated into urban Seoul. We visit City Hall and its art installation, City Plaza, The Green Wall and the Cheonggyechoen River, famous for its pedestrian walkways. We later divide into smaller teams, each selecting a neighborhood of Seoul to explore.

Day 5

We visit the trendy Gangnam district and explore Garosu-Gil road, immersing in Korean hallyu culture. Next a private tour of Samsung D’light, a center for Samsung Electronics, showcasing Korea's tech growth and economic prowess. The day wraps up with a Korean tradition–A group karaoke hall!

Day 6

We head to the renowned Gwangjang Market and participate in a food scavenger hunt. Later, a hands-on cooking class unveils the secrets of Korean cuisine. Afterward, students use Seoul's efficient subway to reach the Korean War Museum, connecting prior knowledge with the information at the exhibit.

Day 7

We visit the Demilitarized Zone, which offers media and educational activities, deepening our understanding of a divided Korea. After snacks and a late lunch, we engage with North Korean defectors studying English in Seoul, gaining an emotional insight into the sadness surrounding Korea’s division.

Day 8

Located in Seoul's Naksan mountain foothills, this temple provides a reflective space after a demanding week exploring Korea. The stay involves ceremonies, meditation, and silent meals. Preparing students for this experience is key, leading to a deeper self-understanding in relation to the world.

Day 9

After breakfast, we hike through Bukhansan National Park to the top of Baegundae peak. At the summit, we discuss the city's changing nature. In the afternoon, students explore a Seoul neighborhood of their choice. The day ends with a debrief and reflection workshop to process experiences.

Day 10

We wake up and pack our bags. After eating breakfast and completing our program evaluations, we board our bus to Incheon airport for our return flights home.

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Lenses of Inquiry


The Korean Wave

For better or worse, the growing popularity of all things Korean, from fashion and film to music and cousine, has made the Republic of Korean the preeminent conveyor of 'modern Asian' culture to the West. Students wil delve into this cultural understanding through visits and engagement with locals.


Korean Development Story

South Korea, a global industrial powerhouse, excels in shipbuilding, steel, and electronics. Rapid economic growth, however, led to intense competitiveness increasing issues like depression, alcoholism, and suicide. Students will explore the positive and negative impacts of this economic growth.


Divided Koreas

Since the Korean War armistice, the peninsula has faced division, separated families, and a constant sense of threat. North Korea remains one of the world's most secretive nations. Through empathic interviews and panels with defectors, we seek to understand the realities of life north of the DMZ.


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