WHEN FINDING yet another article that deals with globalization in the
newspaper, you may grumble, "Globalization again? Hey, I'm sick and tired of
hearing that @#%!!$& globalization," while thinking that there is nothing
new about it. It is true that globalization is not a newly arising phenomenon,
and it is quite understandable for you to react this way, because the term
"globalization" is probably THE most frequently used word in the 20th century.
However, can you be sure that you are well-prepared for this era of
globalization? Or are you just being swept away by the currents of time? The
Yonsei Annals polled 1,004 Yonseians in order to find out how well-prepared
Yonseians are to be global citizens.
Much interest but little experience
In brief, the result
showed that most Yonseians had significant interest in becoming globalized but
did not actually engage into practice. To begin with, the Annals asked, Can you
speak or are you learning any foreign language except English? and nearly the
half of the students, 43.8%, chose "Yes". However, the 2004 Korean Time Use
Survey (conducted by Korea National Statistical Office) found that only 11.3% of
Korean college students replied that they spent more than 10 minutes a day
studying foreign languages or preparing for qualifications. Meanwhile, when it
comes to the amount of time spent on studying foreign languages, the situation
changes. To the question, How long do you study foreign languages including
English each day? the majority of the respondents (59.9%) selected "less than an
hour," while 30.5% picked "1~2 hours" and 6.7% did "2~3 hours." Kim Yong-han,
Dir. of External Cooperation Department of IWO (International Workcamp
Organization) points out, "It is obvious that students of Yonsei University are
aware of the importance of foreign languages. But considering the time spent on
learning foreign languages, I don? think they consider it personally
When asked if they were considering entering foreign
corporations or pursuing careers abroad, more than half of the respondents
(51.2%) answered that they were. In addition, many of the students, 38.4%,
showed great interest in working for international nonprofit organizations which
focused on world peace. However, the percentage of those who had ever joined
international exchange programs hosted by Global Lounge or attended lectures
given by foreign dignitaries on campus was less than 12% (11.9%) except the
freshmen. Prof. Kim Chan-ho, who lectures on campus "Globalization and
Multiculturalism," holds a similar view: he says, "Korean college students have
a vague fantasy about foreign companies and careers abroad. They consider them
as an escape from their stuffy situations. In addition, because they have to do
so many things in four years of college, they try to make it in such a short
time with a short breath, but they hardly make any long-term investments in
their lives. Students don? realize the necessity of activities such as
international exchange programs and lectures because those are not their no.1
priorities though those would be very helpful in the long view. For example,
studying a foreign language meets both a short-term need and a long-term need,
and that's why so many students are studying them. This is not just a problem of
the students, but a problem for all of the Korean society."
When asked, Have you ever joined any
international volunteering program or friendship camp before? only 6.3% of
Yonseians answered that they had. What is more, though 77.7% of the students
replied that they were very much or somewhat interested in global issues such as
war, starvation, and natural disaster, less than a third of them (30.3%)
answered that they had volunteered on put their interests into practice; e.g.
donating money for famine victims in Africa or joining an on-line anti-war
demonstration. "[The participation rates are] way too low," says Kim Yong-han.
He continues, "Despite what is widely known as the image of Yonsei, which is
considered liberal and international, it seems that its students hardly
participate in those kinds of activities. There are few universities which run
global lounge on campus like Yonsei does, and what about the Song-do
international campus project? The school is trying to go global, but I don't
think its students want the same thing. Do they feel the need of it? Do they
believe it's possible for them? Maybe, they are just thinking it is a story
involving another world." The in-house analysis of IWO backs it up: the
registration and participation rate of Yonsei both ranked seventh among the
universities in Korea.
What makes the gap
Through the survey, the Annals discovered
that most Yonseians are very much interested in being globalized, but such
interests are not quite developed into practices; they stay on the abstract
level. Why so little development? Park Ji-hyun, Team Manager of Cultural
Business Team of MIZY (Myungdong Info Zone of Youth), gives the answer:
"Basically, it's because the students haven't settled up the concept of global
citizenship of their own yet," she says. She points out, "The result of the poll
proves it. The dominating number of the students (64.2%) uniformly selected
'those who see the world as an open concept, and try to think beyond ethical
sentiments and prejudices' as a definition that best described who global
citizens are. They must have picked it because they thought it was closest to
the correct answer, just as they used to do when they took an exam."
The students's attitudes toward
globalization differed to the questions. The majority of the respondents (47.1%)
replied that they thought "globalization had improved an individual? life." But
as for the question asking the biggest changes that globalization had brought
out, 38% chose "the incorporation of nations into the extremely competitive
society" and 25.5% selected "the expansion of the economical gap between
developed and developing countries." How can these contradictory replies be
explained? "They are dual-thinking and this means that they are not familiar
with the idea of global citizenship: they understand it with their heads, but
they are not realizing that they are part of the world. In conclusion, this
means that they have little understanding on the inevitable reality," she
Who are global citizens and why should we become
Then who exactly are global citizens? Kim Yong-han determines them,
"those who have no boundaries: [when it comes to us, who live in Korea] not
Korean, but human beings." Meanwhile, Park considers them, "those who expand
their identities, as well as escaping from nation-centered mindset." Plus, Kim
Kyung-hee, Dir. Of Development for Education of Korean Committee for UNICEF,
describes them, "those who actively cope with the stream of informationization,
globalization, and openization that strengthen interdependence among nations in
the world and are prepared to live in peaceful coexistence with neighbors in
other countries, while achieving sustainable development."
Likewise, there have been many other definitions given. However, there
is no concrete definition yet. According to Prof. Kim, the concept of global
citizen first came to the surface in the early 1990s. "The concept of global
citizenship was first discussed in the Earth Summit, held at Rio de Janeiro in
June 1992, but the concept was not defined in such a precise terminology. Not
like what is commonly believed, the spread of global citizenship and
globalization are not the same thing," he says. He explains the reason why we
should be global citizens with realistic views. "Just as we could not stop
urbanization in the past, we cannot stop globalization, either. The thing is
that the number of global problems such as environmental problems increases
every year, and such problems can never be solved by a single nation alone.
Moreover, [Modern] Globalization has mainly been led by capital. Do you think it
is okay to let capital rule globalization?" he argues.
Still, some of you may wonder why you have to be a global citizen
though you can live well in Korea, not concerning about what happens outside the
country. However, can you be sure that you are totally free from the outside
world? The answer would probably be "No" as the result shows: almost all of the
students, 88.5%, replied that they felt "being affected by globalization" (42.4%
replied "very much" and 46.1% replied "somewhat"). "Even if you?e not engaged in
international business, your life could never be free from the influence of
globalization. Whether it is invisible or not, we are living in a world where we
affect each other. Qualities as a global citizen are essential to all of us even
if we don't argue about our responsibilities and obligations in a big scale,"
says Kim Kyung-hee. "Globalization has already reached the level that no one can
reject. Moreover, it's accelerating as connections between nations are getting
stronger. Global citizenship is now a universal value for mankind," agrees Kim
Yong-han with Kim Kyung-hee? opinion. Meanwhile, Park thinks beyond as she
interjects, "We are all already global citizens." She stresses that a global
citizen is not something to prepare for or choose, but a sign of the times.
Once you realize the importance of being a
global citizen, or acknowledge the reality that you are already the one, you
might wonder how to be the better citizen of the world: one of the most
important requirements is expanding your sphere of consciousness. Kim Yong-han
believes that youth in Korea do not actually have a "world map" in their minds.
"The absence of such a map in mind leads to an absence of interest in the world.
For example, massive genocide occurred in Uganda, but you don? care so much,
because you don't really know where Uganda is. Doesn't your world map include
developed countries only such as the U.S., China, Japan, Germany, and France?
That? too restrictive. The day has gone when we had to build limited
partnerships and alliances with only strong countries," says he. Also, he
mentions one of the controversial international issues, the clash between native
French and the immigrants in Paris, and emphasizes the importance of change in
mind: "Though France has long been focused on a multicultural mindset and
tolerance in education, the riots still broke out," he says. The case concerning
Kosians (Korean+Asian) is similar problem in Korea related to the French
incident. "It? early to assume that Yonseians are ready to embrace Kosians only
when the result shows that more than 70% of the students thought the Kosians
should be given the same rights as every Korean enjoys, unless 'the social
consensus regarding the importance of building a multicultural society' like
that of Indonesia and Singapore is accomplished," he points out.
At the same time, various
experiences are required. Park says that contacting with other people is the
quickest and easiest way to broaden your mind. Back to the Kosian problem, Prof.
Kim marks out, "The majority of our students must have answered that Kosians
should enjoy the rights as all do because there are no interests between them at
all." Although his point is well-taken, still it is true that many youth in
Korea have an antipathy toward the colored people due to a lack of experience in
sharing their feelings and thoughts with people from other countries. In order
to get ready for the new society to come, in which Kosians would make up a
considerable part of the Korean population, improvement of consciousness alone
is not enough. It is time to try to contact them directly and empathize with
* * *
|▲ Park Ji-hyun of
MIZY (left), Kim yong-han of IWO (middle) and Kim Kyung-hee of UNICEF
(Photographed by Lee Yang-jung)|
"The bird is fighting its way out of
the egg. The egg is the world. Whoever wishes to be born, must destroy the
world." These are the famous lines in a novel, Demian, written by Hermann Hesse.
Like the bird, maybe Yonseians need the courage to break their world. It seems
that many of the students are so satisfied with being identified as "Yonseians"
that they hardly make any challenge or risk it, but pursue something safe and
stable. But as the world constantly redefines itself, we should also change
ourselves: challenge yourselves to have far-reaching and ambitious goals, break
the small standardized world that enslaves you, and finally spread your wings to
a widely-opening world.
■ Can you speak or are you learning any foreign language except English?
NO 56.2% YES 43.8%
■ How long do you study foreign languages including English a day?
3~5 HOURS 1.8%
MORE THAN 5
MORE THAN 5 HOURS 1.1%
1~2 HOURS 30.5%
LESS THAN 1 HOUR 59.9%
■ Are you considering entering foreign corporations or taking up careers
NO 48.8% YES 51.2%
■ Are you interested in working for international nonprofit organizations for
NO 61.6% YES 38.4%
■ Have you ever joined international exchange programs hosted by Global Lounge
or attended lectures given by foreign dignitaries on campus?
NO 88.1% YES 11.9%
■ Have you ever joined any international volunteering program or
friendship camp before?
YES 6.3% NO 93.7%
■ How much are you interested in global issues such as war, starvation, and
■ Have you ever volunteered on put their interests into practice?
■ How much do you think globalization influences your
VERY MUCH 42.4%
NOT AT ALL 0.5%
DON'T KNOW 4.6%
■ How do you think globalization affects an individual? life?
DON'T KNOW 42.9%
■ What do you think is the biggest change that globalization had brought
The incorporation of
nations into an extremely competitive
The expansion of the economic gap between developed and
developing countries 25.5%
The growth in an economic scale
The endeavor for peaceful
coexistence in the world
■ Since the early 1990s, the number of Kosians, whose parent is an Asian,
mostly an immigrant laborer or a woman married to a man living in the
countryside, has gradually grown. Some predict that in 20 years, they may make
up for more than 10% of the Korean population. What do you think about these
They should be given the same rights that Koreans enjoy
They should be partially given rights 13.6%
should be restricted like those of non-korean citizens 1.8%%