Korean Students Campaign for Global Etiquette Lessons

Korean Students Campaign for Global Etiquette Lessons

Professor Min Byoung-chul of Konkuk University lectures on global etiquette during his Business English class, Tuesday.

/ Korea Times Photo by Shim Hyun-chul

By Kwon Mee-yoo
Staff Reporter

Koreans have a long way to go before reaching global etiquette norms, prompting a group of students to launch a campaign to be more polite and considerate toward others in their everyday life.

“We will make video clips campaigning people to wait until everyone gets off the subway or elevator before entering,” Kang Min-ho, sophomore in the Department of International Trade, said during his Global Etiquette Campaign presentation, Tuesday. “We are targeting the younger generation and are taking a chance at UCC (user created content).”

Seventy-three students taking professor Min Byoung-chul’s Business English course at Konkuk University presented their ideas on how to campaign for global etiquette in preparation for the G-20 summit in November. Min is more widely recognized as an English educator appearing on many television programs.

Other examples of behavior targeted were no spitting in public, holding the door for the person entering behind you, not speaking too loud in public and saying “excuse me,” “I’m sorry” and “thank you.”

The etiquette project is not the main part of the course, but students welcomed such chances to be more “global.”

“We do business with people from other countries and understanding their culture is important in international trade. I think learning etiquette is a part of it,” Kang said.

Among the 73 students, 16 of them are foreign students from China, Russia, Mongolia and other countries.

Spreading goodwill

Sun Xiaoyi, an exchange student from China, said her group will put small notes on classroom doors and in restrooms urging no smoking in public places. “I will also encourage other Chinese students on campus to join the campaign,” she said.

Paik Hye-jung, freshman of Sungkyunkwan University, also attends the class.

“I volunteered for the Sunfull Movement, an anti-cyber bullying campaign led by professor Min, and I thought I could introduce the global etiquette campaign to my school,” she said.

Min offered the Business English course for the first time this semester and he plans to make both the course and campaign more concrete.

“The definition of global etiquette is the understanding and embracing of other cultures as well as converging Korean traditional mannerisms,” Min said. “This activity will provide students chances to learn what global etiquette is by experience.”

He said the primary goal is to educate his 73 students on global etiquette. “It’s a full learning experience for them ― surveying, campaigning and analyzing the effect of the campaign. I also expect a secondary effect of expansion of the campaign across the nation through the students.”

Min wants to spread the global etiquette campaign to other developing countries. “As globalization accelerates, we need to provide the content to acquire a better understanding of each other,” the professor said.