Danish-Korean Maritime Partnership Put to Sea
In 2014, two Danish schools of marine engineering entered into an agreement with the leading maritime university in Korea. Amongst other things, this has led to a great number of Danish and Korean students studying a semester abroad and Danish students going on study trips to Korea.
By Line Bildsøe
AAMS-student Christian Gram Johansen and other Danish students in the engine room of the training vessel at Korea Maritime and Ocean University.
It all started last spring. Innovation Centre Denmark, part of the Danish Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, was the promoter of this partnership between Aarhus School of Marine and Technical Engineering (AAMS), Copenhagen School of Marine Engineering and Technology Management (MSK) and Korea Maritime and Ocean University (KMOU), which aims to establish and develop the working relationship between Korean and Danish maritime educational institutions.
A Mutually Beneficial Partnership
Denmark and South Korea already cooperate in several areas, and South Korea is an important market for Danish shipping. Both countries are major seafaring nations, and because of their shared interest in the maritime field, this partnership makes perfect sense for both parties.
Anders Hanberg Sørensen, principal of AAMS, explains: "South Korea's prioritisation of education, research and development, their position as a major seafaring nation and their focus on green energy, are just some of the reasons why a partnership with us makes such perfect sense.”
"At AAMS, our vision is to educate the international technical leaders of the future. Internationalisation is an important aspect of realising this vision. By studying or doing an internship abroad, our students get a taste of what it is like to study or work in another country solving tasks, with colleagues from abroad. This way, they will be better prepared for gaining employment in a globalised labour market. At the same time, the international students who join our school contribute to the international environment here at AAMS.”
An Ocean of Experiences
At the present moment seven Koreans are studying at AAMS and MSK, while 10 Danish guys are studying at KMOU in Korea - a very educational experience, both personally and professionally, according to Christian Gram Johansen, student at AAMS:
"Since I am considering pursuing a career abroad, an exchange stay seemed like a great idea. The stay gave me a lot of excellent experiences. I chose South Korea exactly because of the country's superiority in the maritime field, and I already visited several shipyards and companies; for instance Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd, where Maersk's Triple-E ships are built, and Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., LTD., the world's largest shipbuilding company”.
The Danish students generally perceive Koreans as a very friendly, welcoming and helpful people. They experienced this hospitality particularly from one of the professors at KMOU, KangKi Lee, who invited the students to dinner at his home, on a trip on his boat, on a hiking trek, and many other things.
Living in another country naturally brings challenges also, especially because of the language barrier and the cultural differences. Christian explains:
"The Korean culture, their ways and norms are very different from how we do things in Denmark. There are more rules, more hierarchy, and the Koreans are generally more courteous and formal in their manner and appearance compared to Danish people. However, since we are a group of international students, we do not adhere strictly to those rules and neither did we get the impression that the Koreans expect us to.”
This is only the Beginning
According to the principals of AAMS and MSK, this is just the beginning of a cooperation that will hopefully only flourish in the years to come. The hope is that more students will follow suit and discover the opportunity of going abroad and acquiring knowledge and experience.
In the longer run, the plan is to extend the Danish-Korean cooperation to include exchange of lecturers as well and to establish development projects between the two countries.