Study Tour Shift is drawing ever nearer. In fact, in less than seven weeks from now, we will already be in South Korea. The study tour participants have spent much of their time preparing for the study tour by doing their Theme Course research assignments and contract research assignments at various companies throughout the Netherlands. However, while they have spent a lot of time preparing for the study tour, they don’t really have an idea of what exactly they will be experiencing during those three weeks abroad. In that light, we have decided to give five sneak peeks into each of the five cities that we will be visiting during the study tour, chronologically.
In the first week of these sneak peeks, we will shed some light on the activities that will be undertaken while we are in the first destination; Seoul.
After a short flight, a stop-over in Istanbul, and one longer flight, all participants of Study Tour Shift will land in Seoul, South Korea, during the late afternoon of Sunday the 23rd of September. This is the first day of Chuseok, a major three-day Korean harvest festival. During this festival, Koreans celebrate the good harvest by visiting their ancestral hometowns and sharing feasts of traditional food and rice wines. Chuseok is one of the most important public holidays in South Korea, and given the fact that many Koreans visit family during this holiday, all employees have days off and no company visits will be possible. For the study tour participants, this means they have two days to recover from their jet lag and explore the vast city of Seoul.
Seoul Global Startup Center
We will visit multiple companies and/or universities while we are in Seoul. We’re not prepared to give the entire schedule away yet. However, we will shed a light on one of the visits that is planned. On Wednesday, September 26th, we will visit the Seoul Global Startup Center. As the name suggest, it is a startup incubator, which helps entrepreneurs develop their start-up company into a hopefully successful business. They offer foreign entrepreneurs an entry into the Korean market, which can be difficult to penetrate without knowledge of, or experience with the Korean culture. The Seoul Global Startup Center is relatively new, having opened its doors in July 2016. It is currently helping its third batch of start-ups.
During the visit we will get an overview of the startup scene in general, and how a startup incubator helps start-ups thrive in their very competitive environment. Our hosts will give us an insight into the Korean business culture and the challenges that their start-up companies face. Besides these presentations, we will get a tour through the start-up center, as well as an extensive Q&A session. Finally, if possible and depending on their availability, we will visit a few of the start-ups that are related to the theme of the study tour.
In each of the cities, one or more cultural activities will be undertaken. As Seoul is rather close to the border with North Korea, it offers us a unique opportunity to visit the Demilitarised zone between South and North Korea. A previous blog touched on the relationship between the two Koreas, and offers a valuable insight into the development of the Korean War and the current location of the border. By visiting the DMZ, we will be able to experience the reality of an ongoing conflict between two neighbouring countries, including the ongoing propaganda war. We are really looking forward to seeing what this demilitarised zone is like, and we’re excited to come as close to North Korea as realistically possible in the current political climate.
That’s it for today’s sneak peek. There’s lots more that we will do while in Seoul, but that remains a surprise for the participants until shortly before the actual study tour. Next week we’ll offer a sneak peek into what we have got planned for our second destination; Busan.