“I Didn’t Think Americans Could Look Like You”: Reflections on Being a Fulbrighter of Color

July 17th, 2017

Written by Nikki Brueggeman (ETA 2015-17)

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Wanted: Foreigner model for tourism advertisement. White only, please.

I glanced over the ad posted on the foreigner Facebook page for the city of Jeonju. What followed was a tense discussion in the community about the ad’s content with the original poster finally declaring, “stop bringing your [western] ideas of race into this. Korea is different!”

For me, it was another Tuesday in Jeonju. South Korea, like every nation faces challenges when it comes to dialogues surrounding race, culture, and immigration. While I count my positive moments much higher than my negatives, I consider the narratives of people of color as essential to Fulbright Korea’s history.

The author with a doll found in a hostel in Seoul, South Korea.

Since its conception, Fulbright Korea has been a space of cultural exchange and through it people of color have shown communities the complexities of identity within American culture. While we face challenges, it is in these moments that Fulbrighters of Color step forward to humanize the situation and expand dialogues.


Korea Showcases FIFA U-20 World Cup

July 17th, 2017

The 2017 Under(U)-20 World Cup kicked off with excitement on Saturday May 20, 2017 as the host country, Republic of Korea faced Guinea. You could feel the energy starting to build during the opening ceremonies which featured a flying soccer ball drone, traditional Korean dance, and the up and coming K-Pop group NCT dream performing the tournament’s anthem, “Trigger the fever.” The fever was truly palpable when the whistle blew and chants of, “대한민국!” (Dae-han-min-guk, Republic of Korea) erupted from all corners of the sold out Jeonju World Cup Stadium. I attended the game with two fellow ETAs and we were treated with a game full of skill and class by both sides. For much of the first half the game was even, with the two teams going back and forth until Korea’s Lee Seung-woo, Barcelona youth product, ended the deadlock on a deflected shot outside the penalty box. Except for the lone goal, the parity between the two teams continued well into the second half until Korea pulled ahead with two late second half goals (with one being by fellow Barcelona youth product Paik Seung-ho) en route to a 3-0 victory.


Alumni Spotlight: Where Are They Now?

July 17th, 2017

The FKAR team had the privilege of interviewing Summit Shah (ETA ’04-’05) and Ray Sawyer (ETA ’13-’14), who generously offered to share their insight on the Fulbright experience and its impact on the work they do today.


Photo Contest Winner: Summer 2017

July 4th, 2017

“Sunset in Langkawi, Malaysia”
Jared Thompson (ETA 2016-17)


ETA Spotlight: Mat Goldberg and Hannah Shannon

July 4th, 2017

Mat Goldberg (ETA 2014-17) and Hannah Shannon (ETA 2014-16 and current JET ALT) are joining forces to design a cross-cultural, leadership English camp for Korean and Japanese students this summer. Amid their busy schedules, they gave FKAR the inside scoop to the upcoming Korea Japan English Camp. Read on to learn about the inspiration, potential challenges, and more for the Camp!


Researcher Spotlight: Russell Burge

July 4th, 2017

Russell Burge
Junior Researcher 2016-17

Can you provide a small bio that outlines your hometown and education background?
I grew up in Escondido, California and majored in Art History at UCLA. After a brief stint working in the art world in New York City I came to Incheon to teach English, which is how I became interested in Korean language and history. After two years working in South Korea I completed a masters at Harvard’s Regional Studies East Asia program, and am currently a PhD candidate in the History Department at Stanford University.

Can you briefly tell us about your research?
I look at city growth and social change during the 1960s and 1970s, a time in which South Korea underwent rapid development, shifting from a rural to urban society. My focus is on the history of Seoul, which was the largest center of rural-urban migration and quadrupled in size during these decades. This is an important area to study because we see some of the most contentious questions in South Korea today – such as the relationship between development and inequality, and the relationship of the government to urban voters and urban protest – emerge for the first time in a big way. My dissertation looks at these questions from two main angles: the rise of shantytowns and the political struggles around their existence, and the development of the Gangnam region.