As ILS-lecturer Food I recently visited Sookmyung Women’s University and Dongguk University, two institutes in Seoul which have an international partnership with Fontys ACI. In order to strengthen this collaboration I gave a number of lecturers, in which I introduced the Dutch education system as well as specific food issues to the Korean students. Since food is a good to connect people and to help to break down barriers of language I let them taste typical Dutch products such as “stroopwafels” and “hagelslag”. The best introduction for the Dutch food is to actually taste it and they loved it.
At Sookmyung Women's University, where Food is part of the program, I spoke about the influence of Korean cuisine in the Netherlands. That is, with less than thirty restaurants, still restricted. However, this will change, chefs in the Netherlands are very interested in the Korean (cooking) techniques. For example, fermentation, the conversion of organic materials by bacteria or fungi, a technique which is used in the traditional Korean Kimchi dish.
During my lectures at Sookmyung Women's University I also narrated on trends such as the increasing focus on a healthy lifestyle and thus eating pattern in Europe and USA. Twenty years ago I was engaged in nutritional education in Spain. Because the Mediterranean diet was strongly influenced by the rise of fast food, an increase in obesity followed. It would not surprise me if something similar is going to happen in South Korea.
At Dongguk University I was asked to give a presentation about studying in the Netherlands and in particular at Fontys ACI. Since education in South Korea is still mainly focused on transferring knowledge, it is not common for them to work interactively . So I actually gave my lecture on the "Western style" with different ways of interaction. For example, at both universities I worked with post-its, for our students very normal , almost boring, for them an eye-opener. They really liked it and I had more interaction than expected.
During my tours I often saw ”Dutch coffee” in Seoul. I wondered about this name. So I asked the students about the origin of this “Dutch Coffee”. To my surprise, most students had no answer. One student was clever and looked it up and discovered that it is cold coffee imported by Dutch settlers in the seventeenth century in Indonesia, and from there on been distributed to South Korea.
Last but not least, Food is Everywhere in Seoul, for a food lecturer it is a paradise, the number of food signals is impressive, I was continuously trendwatching. My stay was too short to digest so many different flavours, smells, ingredients and cuisines, so Seoul, I will be back!