Dear Infusion Readers,
As Editor-in-Chief, I had hoped that my first letter to you, our readership, would be to introduce this year’s final print issue. When the 2019-2020 Infusion team assembled last fall, we set out to bring you a year of exclusive online content — creative and informative writing, photography, experiments in design and curation — all culminating in one print magazine to serve as record of all we, Fulbright grantees and alumni, had learned and experienced this year. However, as the world shifts to adapt to a global crisis such as COVID-19, I find it necessary to write you a different letter.
Allow me to summarize, briefly, the circumstances that have been governing Fulbright Korea grantees over the past few months. Beginning in February, grantees were given regular opportunities to voluntarily depart South Korea as concern surrounding COVID-19 continued to rise. On March 19th, the U.S. Department of State issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory (Do Not Travel) to South Korea — the highest level possible. Subsequently, the following conclusions were reached: Fulbright Korea would end all programming for the grant year by April 12th, recommending departure for all remaining grantees. Those who choose to stay in the country do so as private citizens. Come April 12th, we will all officially be Fulbright Program alumni.
It is in accordance with these decisions that we must announce that Infusion will suspend all publication activities for the remainder of the originally-planned grant year.
However, this isn’t quite the end of us yet. During these tumultuous past weeks, Infusion’s staff remained enthusiastic and dedicated, even through all the delays and personal upheaval. I’m thankful for their commitment, through which it is possible that we still have great content, submitted by our last deadline, ready to publish on our website over the next few weeks, after which we will officially wrap up the publication year. I must make it abundantly clear that by continuing operation past April 12th, we are switching from Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) management to Fulbright alumni management. As of next week, we will see all of our grant statuses changing, and therefore temporarily be renamed The Fulbright Korea Alumni Infusion Literary Magazine.
I want to take a moment to acknowledge the tireless work that has been done on behalf of all Fulbright grantees in South Korea. Korean American Education Commission (KAEC) Chair Mitchell Moss, Executive Director Byungok Kwon, Executive Assistant Heidi Little, ETA Program Coordinator Isabel Moua, and ETA Program Assistant Young Sook Lee, and more KAEC personnel who have worked behind-the-scenes have been fully committed to their mission to support ETAs through these unprecedented times. Infusion is always appreciative of KAEC’s support, and as an ETA myself, I am grateful for the commission’s appropriate and compassionate response.
Lastly, I want to thank the 2019-2020 Infusion team. They’ve been understanding of endless schedule changes, present during virtual meetings that bridged time zones, and willing to adapt to keep Infusion going through all of this uncertainty. I’m so thankful for their trust, and I am relieved that they may now be more able to direct time and energy towards taking care of themselves and their communities, which I believe to be the most important right now.
Thank you, and take care,