Terry students experience South Korean business culture up close

Seoul-based study away and internship programs provide first-hand training in international business
Class outside of Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul

With more and more businesspeople collaborating with international colleagues, it’s more important than ever to understand how to work across cultural differences.

In May, a class of 14 Terry College students practiced their cross-cultural collaboration skills during the college’s first study abroad course in South Korea.

The program, led by Terry associate professor of management Daniel Gamache, provided students with the cultural background needed to understand one of Asia’s leading business cultures. It also introduced them to businesspeople who worked on both sides of the Pacific.

“This was an excellent opportunity for the students to experience a different culture and learn what it is like to do business in South Korea,” Gamache said. “We visited a wide range of businesses — from startups to established conglomerates. We heard from a range of businesspeople including native South Koreans, ex-pats working in South Korea, and Korean Americans who lived and worked in both contexts.”

Cultural activities were largely focused in Seoul, where students toured important historical sites including the Royal Gyeongbokgung Palace and Korean Demilitarized Zone. Students also were immersed in Korean culture through family style meals, as well as organized cultural events with Korean locals like K-Pop dance classes, hikes through mountainous national parks and shopping trips to traditional markets and modern shopping districts.

“The cultural immersion I experienced has added such a unique and beneficial layer to my education, and I will carry with me through my future personal and professional endeavors,” said second-year management major, Mackenzie Peed.

The course highlighted the impact Korean business Chaebols such as Samsung and Hyundai have on nearly every aspect of life in South Korea. Other corporate visits to BitGlim, AsiaLab, and Zephrame, startup companies headquartered in the nation’s capital, emphasized Korean entrepreneurial spirit.

“Our corporate site visits were invaluable for learning about traditional and modern business practices in Korea,” said Justin Tardy, a second-year student majoring in marketing and sports management. “I feel I have a much greater understanding of what it is like to work there because of the many personal accounts we heard from those who live in Seoul.”

After two weeks of site visits and cultural programs, several students remained in South Korea to intern at Seoul companies through Terry’s accompanying international business internship program, gaining first-hand experience immersed in Korean work cultures.

The Business in South Korea faculty-led and internship programs were organized by the Terry College International Business Programs. For more information about Terry’s international business co-major and study away opportunities, visit terry.uga.edu/current-students/international