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Fulbright trip to South Korea creates international connection

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Oct 25, 2022

Being open to understanding different cultures around the world and partnering with institutions in other nations to create international connections is part of the purpose of the College of Lake County (CLC). International Student Navigator Lindsey Hobson was honored with a Fulbright International Education Administrators (IEA) award to travel to South Korea this June to learn about the host country’s education system as well as establish networks of U.S. and international colleagues over the course of an intensive two-week grant duration.

Lindsey Hobson with CLC alumni in South KoreaHobson, who visited South Korea in 2015 and later started studying the Korean language in 2017, has been in pursuit of an institution in South Korea to partner with. Her recent visit finally sparked a bond.

South Korea is an important country to have a relationship with because according to the 2020 college enrollment data, the highest percentage of international students at CLC were Korean.

Photo: Lindsey Hobson (third from right) with CLC alumni who live in South Korea

“Our goal is to create a sustainable pathway for student and faculty exchange,” Hobson said. “We can create a mutual understanding between our cultures. This partnership opens new paths, and CLC can broaden its horizons beyond Lake County.”

The Fulbright award paid for the trip, including airfare, housing, food and medical insurance.

Creating international partnerships as a community college is a challenge, Hobson said. Oftentimes, institutions won’t consider a partnership with a community college. As the only community college representative on the trip, Hobson was happy to show off what community colleges have to offer.

CLC currently has partners in The United Arab Emirates, China, the Philippines, Japan, Austria, Costa Rica, England, Ireland, France and Spain. Earlier this year, CLC was one of five U.S. colleges and universities to receive a 2022 Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization from the National Association of International Educators.

During the trip, Hobson met with and toured the campuses of nine colleges and universities, meeting with deans and presidents.

Lindsey Hobson at Oryukdo Skywalk“They were very interested in showing us what was offered,” she said. “We can learn from their programming and how they work with international students."

Hobson was particularly impressed with the buddy systems in place at many of the colleges and universities. Local students at the institutions are paired up with visiting international students, giving them better access to help when needed.

Photo: Hobson (right) at the Oryukdo Skywalk

The most exciting part of her trip was her visit to Inje University in Gimhae. CLC’s Department of Global Engagement is currently in the process of developing a memorandum of understanding which would provide a sustainable connection with the university for student, faculty and staff exchange.

Like CLC’s Baxter Innovation Lab at the Grayslake Campus, Inje has its own makerspace called the “Dream Factory.” Hobson saw a natural connection between the two institutions because of these similar spaces. Inje also is invested in advanced technology, just as CLC is focused on innovation with the new Advanced Technology Center in Gurnee.

“The Department of Global Engagement’s philosophy toward our international partnerships is that we work with people, not institutions,” said Director of Student Records and Global Engagement Dr. Jacob Cushing. “Lindsey’s Fulbright to South Korea connected our office, and her, to some amazing people in South Korea and at Inje University. Inje University and CLC connect on many different levels, but primarily we connect with our mutual goals of providing a high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities we serve."

About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes in 2019 and is a national leader in many areas, including campus internationalization, sustainability and conservation.