On being a session reactor at the 3rd Philippine Korean Studies Symposium

Posted on December 14, 2014

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I have attended several academic conferences as a paper presenter and as a participant. Yesterday, 13 December 2014, I had a chance to experience the other side of academic conferences as a session reactor at the 3rd Philippine Korean Studies Symposium at the Asian Studies Center of the University of the Philippines (UP).  It’s an entirely new experience for me. Instead of preparing a 15-20 minute presentation on my research, I had to read a conference presenter’s paper carefully and make constructive comments on it.

With old and new friends in Korean Studies.

With old and new friends in Korean Studies.

I reacted to a paper titled “An Unforgettable Journey: A study on the Korean exchange student program experience” by Alyssa Nicole Esteban, a college student in UP. Since it was my first time, I was extra careful in reading and commenting on her paper. I tried to glean her main ideas, the strengths and weaknesses of her paper, and areas she can explore more. I also shared my own exchange student experience in Korea.

Glad to meet new people from University of the Philippines, Yonsei University, and Korea University.

Glad to meet new people from University of the Philippines, Yonsei University, and Korea University.

I wasn’t really sure if my comments shed more light on the student exchange experience to the paper presenter and to the audience, most of whom were college students.

My doubts were somewhat allayed when this student approached me for a picture. As someone new to the academic world as a teacher, I must admit that I find it strange when people call me “Ma’am”. But I must get used to it, right? Anyway, she also told me how awesome my experience in Thailand and Korea seemed. So it does mean that my words somehow got through to the audience, right? I certainly hope so.

An enthusiastic student from UP. I hope more students are like this.

An enthusiastic student from UP. I hope more students are like this.

And I certainly hope, too, that this kind of participation in academic conferences won’t be the last. I truly enjoyed sharing my ideas and listening to others, as well.

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