Dr. Leighanne Yuh Presents: Korea and the West

By Bonnie Bae Nov 4, 2020

On Friday, October 23, YISS hosted a live Zoom lecture presented by Professor Leighanne Yuh. Dr. Leighanne Yuh earned a Bachelor’s degree in Japanese Studies and Economics from Wellesley College, a Master’s degree in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University, and a Doctorate in East Asian Languages and Cultures from UCLA.

Dr. Yuh is currently a professor at Korea University in their Department of Korean History. As a mother of a YISS student and member of our community, she graciously prepared this presentation about Korea’s historical perspective on education and how it has developed with the introduction of western ideology. 

The presentation started with details about the social classes of Joseon era Korea and the distinction between the civil service exam and other exams for more technical subjects. Dr. Yuh highlighted the change in emphasis from more Confucian-based subjects in the past to the technical studies such as medicine, law, and engineering that are more dominant in today’s universities.

The lecture was interactive, audience members contributing questions and their own cultural perspectives. One topic of discussion was the importance families placed on their children taking exams during the Joseon era and how that same ideology is present today with the university entrance exam. 

As the community of an international school, we represent many different backgrounds and cultures, and we may not be familiar with our current host country’s history. The lecture and discussion provided a great opportunity to learn about Korean history and to better understand the educational environment of Korea and its root in these ideas from the past.

To watch the presentation, you can check out the following link: yis.to/Korea.