A Fond Farewell to Yonsei University

Yesterday, after a two-day delay caused by Typhoon Muifa, I successfully departed from Incheon Airport and flew back to Shanghai.  Before I get into how elated I am to be back in my fair city, I want to pay homage to the beauty of the Yonsei University campus in Seoul, where I taught world history for six weeks over the summer.  Although it rained nearly every day I was there, there were a few sunny days that brought out the natural beauty of the Yonsei campus.  Nestled at the base of one of the mountains to the north of the city, the campus is built on a hill.  It is one of the greenest campuses that I have ever seen.  The main road into the campus is lined with majestic ginkos, and the campus is surrounded by forests of pine and diverse other greenery.  

Here are some selections from a set of photos that I shot on my last day on campus.  

The sun was going down and the light caught the beauty of the campus in just the right way.  I don't know if these photos do justice to it, but it was quite a sight to behold.

I'd also like to take a moment to thank my TA Calvin Kim for being an enormous help with the Modern World History class I taught.  With around 80 students, it was a real task to keep track of them all, make sure they took their quizzes fairly, check attendance, grade quizzes and papers, and deal with all their individual issues.  Calvin took up the job with gusto.  He also helped me to give a talk about the history of Korea since the 1960s.  That was helpful since Korea is not my area of expertise and I didn't want to trod on the tails of any sacred cows.  Calvin was able to give a measured and informative appraisal of the leadership of Park Chung Hee and Chun Doo Hwan and the hard fought road to a more democratic Korea, and we were able to involve some of the students in the conversation as well.  At one point I wrote the letters KCIA on the blackboard, and remarked that twenty years ago I might have been arrested or maybe deported for talking about that organization in a classroom.  

As a gesture of my appreciation for Calvin's good work, halfway through grading the final exams I took him to lunch at a nice restaurant called Shilan (石澜) on the east side of the campus located in a quaint building surrounded by greenery.  Calvin gave me a pack of macadamia nuts from his home state of Hawaii.  I think I definitely got the better deal.