Every summer automotive students travel more than 5,000 miles from Boryeong, South Korea to Shoreline Community College to participate in a customized cultural program that includes automotive and ESL curricula as well as field trips to local dealerships and community events. The partnership between Shoreline and Ajou Motor College was developed as part of Shoreline’s commitment to internationalizing education.
“Our partnership with Ajou Motor College is a perfect example of our commitment to encourage international learning and to bridge cultural and social gaps by promoting understanding,” college President Lee Lambert said, “and it supports the City of Shoreline’s Sister City Partnership with the City of Boryeong.”
On Friday, July 1, 2011, Ajou Professor Kab Yong Choi, Ph.D., and 20 Ajou students arrived at Shoreline to begin their two-week visit. This year’s program was unique in that it was designed so that the visiting students would have as much time as possible with students enrolled in the college’s General Service Technician (GST) program.
According to GST instructor Mark Hankins, the Ajou students study more of a production design curriculum at home rather than the diagnostics/repair curriculum that Shoreline students experience. “It’s a nice change and opportunity for these students,” Hankins said about the hands-on curriculum he designed for the visitors that included a class with GST students.
ESL instructor Betsy Binnian, who team teaches with Hankins, designed an ESL curriculum to not only help the students in the classroom but to interact with their host families and GST students as well as enjoy shopping excursions and other tourist activities.
“I think the students want to have a good time in their English classes, so I've tried to keep things light and fun,” she said. “Every chance they get to interact with our students supports our goal,” Binnian said, referring to the cultural aspect of the program.
With a few English classes under their belts, the Ajou students enjoyed working with GST students on an auto suspension project. Working in small groups, the students identified different types of suspension systems, using an online auto specification service and then presented their findings.
“I think this was their favorite class,” Hankins said, “not only because they were doing something they had never done before, but because they got to work with our students.”
The Ajou students also enjoyed using Snap-on tools in an engine control and scan tool class. Using handheld diagnostic computers they monitored how all systems were functioning on a Cadillac Escalade, an Acura TL, a Dodge Challenger and a Toyota FJ Cruiser. Hankins said they really enjoyed using the state-of-the-art tools as they don’t have the opportunity to use the tools and technology of auto repair back home. He also expressed their enthusiasm to work on American cars. “Back home, they experience only Korean cars,” Hankins said.
Ajou students Byeong-yeon Park, MJ Lee and Chang gi Goo took time out to talk about their experiences. They said they greatly enjoyed being able to work on new American cars and especially, on trucks, something they don’t experience in Korea. They also appreciated using the Snap-on Tools, expressing what great tools they were. The dealership connection that Shoreline students experience was also something they found impressive.
The visitors also enjoyed listening to students from the Chrysler, General Motors, Honda and Toyota programs talk about their respective programs and personal internship experiences.
GST students joined the Ajou students on several field trips, including visits to the Pike Place Market, Kenworth/Paccar, Boeing, the Museum of Flight, the LeMay Museum, Lexus of Bellevue and Lee Johnson Chevrolet in Kirkland.
Pollie McCloskey, Assistant Director, International Education, who coordinated the field trips also coordinated home stay opportunities for the students to not only provide a place for the students to stay but to provide more opportunities for them to experience the lifestyle of Americans.
According to international student (automotive) Dong-Kin Choi, who provided translation services, the students said they really appreciated staying with the host families and learned a lot about American culture. “They found the dynamics of the American family to be really interesting,” Choi said, referring to the open communication style.
Professor Choi, who joined the students for all classes and field trips, said the partnership between Ajou and Shoreline provides students the opportunity to enhance their education while supporting their global understanding and leadership development. President Lambert thanked him and the students for embracing cultural and educational exchange at a farewell and certificate celebration on Thursday, July 14. He also thanked John Chang, the man behind the City of Shoreline’s Sister City Partnership with Boryeong, who joined them at the event. Vice President John Backes and Lambert shook hands with each student as they received their certificates.
“None of this would have been possible without their amazing help,” McCloskey said, explaining that Jinju Kim (VCT) and Choi worked as translators during the two-week visit. Both took time to help out in classes and field trips as well as in a video interview. Everyone in the room applauded the two.
The Ajou/Shoreline program, now in its fifth year, is the result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2006 by President Lambert and Ajou to support educational exchanges.