Traveling to another country always involves an adventure in local cuisine.
This summer a group of faculty and students went to South Korea, and Loye Romereim-Holmes, an SDSU education professor, said the group had a way to test the spiciness of the food.
“We learned that if food is red, take a little bit and don’t put a large amount in your mouth,” she said.
The university usually chooses 11 to 12 people each year to go on the South Korean trip, which is hosted by Chungnam National University.
“Two students come here from Korea every year,” said Karl Schmidt, Director of International Programs. “Since it’s a reciprocal program and we don’t have students that can speak the language to go there, so they host us for a two-week cultural study.”
For two weeks, the six-member group traveled around South Korea visiting a green tea plantation, a ginseng farm and an island.
With the help of a translator, Romereim-Holmes helped teach an education psychology class at the university in South Korea. She’s planning on going back to do a teaching exchange at Chungnam from February to June.
“I wanted to see what they are doing differently in their classrooms, especially what they are doing technically,” Romereim-Holmes said. “We’d like to include the Internet in our classes, and the South Korean education system is really high ranked.”
The three students who went on the trip aptly referred to themselves as scientists-in-training. Abby Huehl, one of these scientists, said she went on the trip to learn more about another part of the world.
“We always hear about Europe and people are always going to Europe,” said Huehl, a senior biology major. “I wanted to go someplace different, like Asia.”
The other scientists-in-training were Julie Walter, a senior biology major, who is spending the semester at sea, and Carrie Werkmeister, who is majoring in agronomy.
Huehl was surprised at the beauty of the country both inland and at the island they visited called Cheju.
“They have a beautiful campus,” she said. “They have a little forest in the middle of campus and rolling hills.”
While the group traveled around South Korea, mostly by bus, Huehl describes the countryside as being a mixture of fields and apartment buildings.
“There were apartment buildings with fields right next to them,” she said. “There’s so many people in the country that buildings go up all over. Then they have fields wherever they can find land that’s workable. You could travel along the road, see different fields and then see the buildings in the background.”
Since much of the country is mountainous, the farmers have to experiment with different ways of growing products either through incline farming or using a shed-like covering.
At the ginseng root farms, the farmers grow the ginseng in part-shade and part-
sun using dark-colored sheds that are placed over the plant.
This was something that especially interested Kasiviswanath Muthukumarappan “Muthu,” a food engineering professor.
“Korea has more mountainous area than flat land area, and they have learned to survive with what they’ve got,” he said.
Particularly beneficial to Muthu’s research was learning the way South Koreans use the by-products of their crops. They produce ginseng candy from the root, and with their other major crop, they create green tea ice cream.
“They are very advanced in the techniques that they use,” Muthu said. “Not all plant products are able to do that with very high efficiency.”
Another trip to South Korea will be offered in May. If you are interested, please pick up an application before January from the International Programs office in the Administration building room 315.