York students join South Korean students to study public policy

Student working at home having a video conference with colleagues

York University undergraduate students studying Canadian social policy paired up with students in South Korea to examine key areas of social policy, including heath care and income security.

Professor Lee (right) and Professor Klassen
Professor Thomas Klassen and Professor Sophia Seung-yoon Lee

Professor Thomas Klassen (Public Policy and Administration, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies) and Professor Sophia Seung-yoon Lee at Chung-Ang University in Korea, both taught public policy courses in the fall term at their respective universities. The two professors arranged for their students to collaborate on studying aspects of the welfare state.

Klassen gave a guest lecture to the Korean students, and Lee did so for the York students. Teams of students from the two universities joined together to create multi-media projects that highlighted current social policy debates.

York student Radiah Khan said, “I consider myself very lucky to have worked with students in Korea to learn about health care. With the 14-hour time difference, I was worried about how well the collaboration would work, but everything went smoothly. I loved being able to be a part of this collaboration.”

Cameron Riel, also from York, said despite difficulties such as time zones and communiciations, “I ultimately gained an exceptional experience unlike anything else so far during my time at York University” and that the partners they worked with from Canada and South Korea were “incredibly intelligent.”

Cameron Riel
Min-ji Shim at Chung-Ang University
Min-ji Shim

Khan and Riel’s counterpart at Chung-Ang University, Min-ji Shim, said the project offered an opportunity to learn from York students and jointly consider policy solutions in both Canada and Korea. “There are not many opportunities to work with Canadian students, so this was a precious endeavour,” said Shim.

Students of different backgrounds living in different time zones had a chance to enhance their skills and knowledge with teamwork, said Lee, “which I believe is essential in this global, digital era. The collaboration of classes from Korea and Canada was an excellent experience for my students and myself.”

The students that prepared the best multi-media projects were awarded with gift cards courtesy of the Korean Office of Research and Education at York University, which is funded by the Academy of Korean Studies and which provided support for the collaboration. Students were also presented with certificates of participation to confirm their successful completion of an international collaborative team project.

“Working across cultures is demanding but wonderful preparation for a world, and a job market, that in increasingly interconnected,” said Klassen. “I’m so impressed with how much the students from both universities learned.”