As we approach the conclusion of this grant year, we react differently to our eventual departure and feel an urgency to process and record our time in Korea before moving forward. This issue of Infusion explores and explains some of the feelings we have as we wrap up our year. We get a genuine look into how grantees came to understand their unique roles in Korea and what personal progress came out of this experience. Our contributors write about their daily interactions in Korea and speak of their personal relationships—those affected by our departure to Korea and those forged after our arrival in Korea.
Committing to be a Fulbright Korea Grantee comes with the anticipation of a new adventure—and the expectation that the challenges embedded in such an opportunity would push us to do some hard work. We knew it would be hard work to keep in touch with our loved ones back home, and it would be hard work to adjust to new responsibilities and meet new people in a different cultural context. There seems to be a shared determination among us to be patient and persevere through any of the tough stuff until we reach moments of clarity, understanding and acceptance.
The work we do as grantees is varied: it can be as seemingly simple as rehearsing a Korean greeting or as arduous, albeit rewarding, as learning how to make hanji paper. For some of us, the core of our work happens in our classrooms. We do our best to execute our lesson plans despite any hiccups and choose the most enlightening parts of our personal histories to share with our students. We also use plenty of emotional labor to prepare ourselves to visit—and revisit—places we expect to be comfortable. We must acknowledge the reality that with the passing of time and the widening of our perspectives these places may now feel entirely unfamiliar.
I’ve watched the hard work of contributors and staff members produce four issues of Infusion during my two years in Korea. The effort put forth by the contributors and the staff is always impressive and admirable. Each issue is only possible with the willingness of grantees to embrace their experiences in Korea and the diligence of an editorial staff to refine and arrange this magazine to best capture an honest look at what it means to live, work and contribute to the communities in Korea.
Please enjoy the stories, poems, student pieces and photographs presented in Volume 9, Issue 2 of Infusion.
Dawn Angelicca Barcelona