Two Utah State University administrators and a faculty member spent part of September in Korea and China.
The trip resulted in student and faculty exchange agreements, reunions with alumni, changing some misconceptions, and a taste of fried scorpion.The faculty and student exchanges are a most exciting prospect, according to Robert Hoover, dean of USU's College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. He made the Sept. 7-30 trip with Professor Yun Kim of USU's department of sociology, social work and anthropology. Kim is a native of Korea.
University president Stanford Cazier joined the two for a portion of the trip.
As a result of the trip, exchange agreements are being developed with Keimyung University in Taegu, Korea; Nankai University in Tianjin, China; and the Beijing, China, College of Economics.
"We are interested at USU in establishing an Asian studies major with a specialization in either China, Korea or Japan. Our goal is to find places where our students can have an intensive language experience for the summer or academic year, studying the culture, history, economics and philosophy of that country,"
Under the proposed arrangement, USU students will pay tuition and room fees at USU while they take courses overseas, and foreign students will pay their fees to their home institution while they study here. The only additional costs would be transportation, which the students would pay, Hoover said.
Hoover, Cazier and Kim also met with about 20 Korean USU alumni for a traditional Korean meal in Seoul.
"It was perhaps the most rewarding evening of our journey.
Each graduate introduced himself, his major and dates of attendance at USU, and talked about what he was currently doing. We were delighted to see how successful they are, and they were obviously moved by President Cazier's visit to their country," Hoover said.
While their journey took them to many cities and a number of spectacular or moving sights - such as the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square - perhaps the most memorable event occurred during one dinner they attended in Beijing. They were served the specialty of the restaurant - fried scorpion.
"I ate two, but I can't exactly tell you how they tasted.
After all, I grew up in Arizona, where you check to make sure they're not in your shoes every morning," Hoover said.
Another image Hoover says he'll never forget happened at Tainjin, China, a city of about 5 million people.
"After a special luncheon with President Mu of Nankai University, President Cazier and I wandered out into the front of the lobby of the visitors' building. Here was the president of a major university, not getting into an automobile but climbing on his bicycle for the long ride back to his office. And he was followed by his entire staff, who also climbed on their bicycles to return to their offices," Hoover recalled.