Impressions of Korea

My very short visit to Korea so far has been limited to an elite downtown area, so these perceptions are squewed–but still, some thoughts about Korea–and Seoul in particular, with the acknowledge they are just impressions:

  • This country is dedicated to become an economic success and enconomic global power
  • The government sees education, technology innovation, knowledge work and manufacturing as keys to that
  • Working out issues with North Korea is key to success
  • So is making sure every child learns English–yesterday’s newspaper said they are going to triple the number of English teachers–and add a native-speaking English teacher to every middle school–in the next few years
  • Korea is a very formal country, fond of pomp and hierarchy
  • Women are in a challenging position–haven’t seen many executive women this trip, though amazingly smart women in the more helping professions–marketing, service industries, event planning–abound
  • Urban, affluent Koreans are more comfortable with technology than Americans–but it’s not clear to me how average they are–or what the average worker enjoys and thinks
  • It’s a country I can learn from–I hope to have a chance to return and spend more time here