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Medical student learns about Korea’s approach to the pandemic during CLS program

This past sum­mer, Sarah Schrad­er par­tic­i­pat­ed in the CLS Kore­an pro­gram host­ed by Chon­nam Nation­al Uni­ver­si­ty in Gwangju, South Korea. A micro­bi­ol­o­gy PhD and med­ical stu­dent, Sarah saw her CLS pro­gram as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to not only improve her Kore­an lan­guage but gain valu­able insights on Korea’s response to the pandemic.

Par­tic­i­pat­ing dur­ing the pan­dem­ic gave me an up-close look at how South Korea is han­dling COVID, I expe­ri­enced gov­ern­ment quar­an­tine first-hand, received text mes­sage updates on the nation­al and provin­cial COVID-19 sit­u­a­tion mul­ti­ple times a day, and par­tic­i­pat­ed in con­tact trac­ing at each pub­lic estab­lish­ment I visited.”

Through con­ver­sa­tions with her lan­guage part­ner and instruc­tors, Sarah learned how Kore­an cul­tur­al val­ues informed pub­lic safe­ty messages. 

Info­graph­ic show­ing rec­om­mend­ed COVID pro­to­cols from Korea Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion Agency. Source: kdca​.go​.kr​.org

I read adver­tise­ments for vac­ci­na­tions and reminders to keep masks on — many appeal­ing to the cul­tur­al­ly-embed­ded com­mu­ni­ty-mind­ed­ness of Kore­an citizens.”

Sarah con­tin­ued, As COVID-19 has demon­strat­ed infec­tious dis­eases are unen­cum­bered by geo­graph­ic, polit­i­cal, cul­tur­al, and lan­guage bar­ri­ers. How­ev­er, the same can­not be said for the sci­en­tists, doc­tors, politi­cians, and cit­i­zens whose coor­di­nat­ed efforts are need­ed to com­bat these dis­eases. Our strongest strat­e­gy is to com­bine forces and work together.”

I hope my lan­guage skills will allow me to forge col­lab­o­ra­tive research con­nec­tions with Kore­an sci­en­tists so we can work togeth­er to bet­ter under­stand, pre­vent, and treat infec­tious diseases.”
Sarah wears tra­di­tion­al han­bok and is pic­tured with the jang­gu, a per­cus­sion instru­ment com­mon in tra­di­tion­al Kore­an music genre, Samul nori.

One way Sarah hopes to con­tribute to this goal is through expand­ing her knowl­edge of the Kore­an lan­guage and cul­ture. Sarah plans to con­tin­ue purs­ing her Kore­an lan­guage goals as she fin­ish­es up med­ical school. 

After med­ical school, Sarah plans to pur­sue a career in infec­tious dis­ease research. 

Sarah hopes fel­low med­ical stu­dents con­sid­er CLS; I hope my expe­ri­ence can help inspire oth­er non-tra­di­tion­al par­tic­i­pants from sci­en­tif­ic and med­ical fields to explore their pas­sion for a crit­i­cal lan­guage — doc­tors and sci­en­tists too can use crit­i­cal lan­guage skills to build con­nec­tions, forge pow­er­ful col­lab­o­ra­tions, and make the world a bet­ter place!”

Posted Date

September 27, 2021

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