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GLBL 3581 - South Korea: The Politics of Youth and Old Age

This course studies the politics of contemporary South Korea with a focus on the political debates and cultural shifts - including intergenerational conflicts - that arise from a rapid industrialization and aging population. 

In the first week of the course, taking place at York University’s Keele campus, students will learn about the history and politics of modern Korea, from the start of the 20th century to the present. Following this week of intensive learning, students will travel to Seoul, the capital of South Korea and the home of half the nation's population. In Seoul, learning is composed primarily of guided experiential opportunities, including visits to museums, universities, and cultural and historical sites including palaces and temples. 

Field visits include the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History, the Seoul Museum of History, the National Museum of Korea, the Seodaemun Prison History Hall, and the War Memorial of Korea. The site visits will be preceded or followed by a short lecture to relate the visit to the course material. There will also be a full-day guided tour to the DMZ (the border between North and South Korea) that is located 75 kilometers north of Seoul. 

Students will spend time at Yonsei University and Chung-Ang University in Seoul to attend lectures on Korean history, politics and social policy with Korean students. The visits to universities, and potentially also to high schools, will allow students to gain a first-hand appreciation of the current political dynamics of Korea, as well as the lives of young people in the country. 

Location: Seoul, South Korea

Course Director: Prof. Thomas Klassen, School of Public Policy and Administration (

Course Dates: TBA, Summer 2023

Pre-requisites: This course is not open to students who have completed fewer than 60 credits. 

Applications: Applications for this course will open in late Fall 2022

For more information, students can connect with Katie Gribbons, LA&PS Study Abroad Coordinator (

Hear from past students!

The best part of this course was meeting and bonding with Korean university students. By interacting with Korean students, not only was I able to learn about life in Korea, but also share my life in Canada.

— Andy Jeong

This course was an opportunity to experience Korean culture, history, and politics firsthand. We learned a lot through our field trips and by exploring Seoul together. It was a great educational adventure that we will never forget.

— Fanny Fazekas