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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggie Doctoral students attend summer fellowship program in Korea

Photo by Provided

PhD students Eliel Hinojosa and Rachel Turner traveled to Korea summer 2018 with the Korean War Legacy Foundation.

Texas A&M Ph.D. students Eliel Hinojosa and Rachel Turner from the College of Education traveled to Korea this summer with the Korean War Legacy Foundation.


From over 100 applicants, Hinojosa and Turner were both awarded fellowships from the foundation. The program sent 30 educators — ranging from kindergarten teachers to college instructors — to learn more about culture, history and connection, building curricular materials to support teaching.

From July 23 to July 30, Hinojosa and Turner acquired a better understanding of the Korean Peninsula, its people and their history. Hinojosa said traveling to other countries and being exposed to their cultures gives teachers personal experiences to share with their students in the United States.

“It’s a whole lot different than reading about it, [or] looking at pictures,” Hinojosa said. “There’s really no substitute for being able to go to a place, to learn about a place, to eat their food.”

According to Hinojosa, it is important for teachers to have first-hand experience with the history and culture they teach about.

“What makes me passionate about education is the opportunity to learn myself, then to impart some knowledge to students who can also use that knowledge to enhance their learning,” Hinojosa said.

Upon their arrival, Turner and Hinojosa were taken to the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. According to Turner, seeing North Korean soldiers across the border was a stark reminder of the lasting consequences of the Korean War.

“We got to sit down and kind of talk about the ways they teach the Korean war versus some of the teachers in America and how they teach the Korean war,” Turner said. “[It] was interesting to get their perspective from that.”

The trip was Turner’s first time out of the U.S. Raised in a small town, Turner said she believes traveling is important for students and teachers alike.

“As a teacher, we need those experiences,” Turner said. “We need world views to better our students, especially those students that never leave home, never leave school. But if we go experience those things, we can bring the world to them.”

Thomas Clouse is a doctoral candidate at the University of Kentucky with a focus in geography education. As a part of the Korean War Legacy Foundation, Clouse was a member of the selection board for the summer 2018 trip.

They actually are curious about inner workings of diplomacy [and] how history ties into the modern day, and so when we looked through different applications, we looked for people who were articulate and being able to talk about those things,” Clouse said. “At the same time, we look for people who have good teaching pedegrade, and both Eliel and Rachel had teaching backgrounds.They’re now working on their doctorate and so it was easy choice to select them both.”

The foundation originally started to share information on Korean war veterans. The trips to Korea are part of the foundation’s efforts to develop relationships between educators in America and Korea.

“The goal of the organization is to get educators from all over the country to go to Korea to understand not only the Korean War, but the legacy of the Korean War, and understand how the United States and the republic of Korea have fostered this relationship of working together,” Clouse said.

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