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  • Locations: Busan, Korea; Seoul, Korea
  • Program Terms: Early Fall
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Information:
sociology italy
 Location Seoul & Pusan, South Korea
Early Fall 2017
August 13 – September 9, 2017
 Estimated    Program Fee $3,900
 Credits 5 UW credits
 Prerequisites N/A
 Program      Directors Matthew Saxton; Jeffrey Kim
 Program  Manager Katherine Kroeger |
 Application    Deadline March 1, 2017
 Information  Session(s) February 1, 12:30-1:20, MGH 015 February 2, 12:30-1:20, MGH 015
  General Students will explore how culture and technology affects the use and sharing of information in modern networked environments, including topics in urban informatics, data-driven storytelling, info-graphics, and information behavior.
Where You Will Study
Expenses, Financial Aid, & Scholarships


Program Description

Korea is a leading country in adoption of digital technology. Per capita, it has the most broadband access of any country in the world. Its fast moving Internet-based applications, culture and life will provide students a sense of what may come to the United States in the next five years. Gaming is also prevalent across genders and ages. Within this environment, UW students will study and work with Korean university students to learn how culture and technology affects the use and sharing of information in modern networked environments. Students will study topics in urban informatics, data-driven storytelling, info-graphics, and information behavior.

South Korea is facing rapid demographic challenges. A declining birth rate is the lowest among OECD countries (1.19 children per woman). Immigration from neighboring Asian countries continues to rise (from 1% of the total population in 2002 to 4% in 2016). Economic growth may be slowing, and the job market is increasingly more competitive. More women are entering market sectors previously dominated by men. These changes pose questions to the traditional, monolithic sense of Korean identity. The rapid advance of information technology and social media reveals these social and cultural changes vividly and immediately.

Connecting to family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances is instantaneous. New stories rapidly develop and are quickly disseminated through technology-enabled platforms. Modern storytelling behavior, as currently occurring through the artifacts generated via social media and photo-sharing, is a good example. The creation and distribution of these information artifacts may be a factor in reinforcing strong ties within groups and between diverse groups during instances where rapid social change is redefining the social fabric.

UW students will engage the following research questions in partnership with Korean students through observation and analysis of data:

  • How are the properties of information artifacts and information services similar or different across urban cultures in the US (Seattle) and Korea (Seoul)?
  • How do these artifacts and services shape social changes and information behavior within these two cultures?


This program will be held in collaboration with Sunkyunkwan University (SKKU) and Seoul National University (SNU). Readings will be assigned in advance of the Seminar so that the Seminar itself will be largely experiential. Faculty at SKKU and SNU will conduct lectures and workshops for the Seminar students. Students will also take part in site visits to a number of Korean companies in the IT and design industries.

Possible cultural activities include visits to a handful of Seoul's numerous museums and palaces; an overnight stay at a Buddhist temple; a NANTA performance; and a visit to the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ).


Seoul & Pusan, South Korea


The first 2 weeks of the Seminar will take place in Seoul, with SKKU providing on-campus housing. This will give students a chance to experience both Korean campus life and the cultural energy of central Seoul. In the third week, we will stay in a hotel in Busan, and then return to Seoul in the 4th week where we will also stay in Seoul.


Pre-Requisites/Language Requirements

The program will appeal to undergraduate and graduate students who seek to understand the interaction between information technology, cultural influence in information behavior, social life, economics, and insight into technology use and design issues. The Seminar will have broad appeal. In addition to iSchool students, we expect highest interest among students from a variety of Communication, Business, Engineering, Asian Studies, and Political Science majors.

There are no academic prerequisites. Applicants will be interviewed to ensure that they have an accurate understanding of the program and it will be a good fit for them.

Students will walk approximately 3-4 miles a day as we travel between venues and use public transportation for much of our intra-city travel. In the summertime, Korea has a warm, humid climate. Students will need to dress for warm weather and keep hydrated.


5 Credits


INFO 497: Information, Culture, and Technology in Modern South Korea (5 credits)

In this course, UW students will study social and cultural aspects of information and technology use in Korean society while engaging in workshops with Korean students. The workshops will cover topics including the following:

  • Interaction across social and cultural boundaries using information technology
  • Social media and knowledge sharing across cultures
  • Photo-sharing and digital storytelling
  • Mobile technology
  • Managing technology change in modern society

Learning Goals: 

In this seminar, students will:

  • Observe, analyze, and discuss the role of culture in the application of information technology
  • Compare UW and Korean information behavior (search, use of social media, photo-sharing, etc) in educational and social contexts
  • Practice digital story-telling techniques through blogs, photo-essays, and infographics
  • Synthesize, interpret, and report observations on information use across cultures.

Student learning will be assessed through workshop exercises and written assignments based on use of evidence (readings and lectures, site visits, observations, interviews) to support assertions, critical thinking and interpretation in their analysis, creativity, and quality and organization of writing.


Program Directors & Staff

Matthew Saxton, Information School, Program Director

Dr. Matthew Saxton joined the faculty of the Information School at the University of Washington in 2000 after earning his PhD in Library and Information Science from UCLA, and currently serves as Associate Dean for Academics. His teaching interests are in the areas of information services, information behavior, and research methodology, and his primary research interest is in the evaluation of information services. Dr. Saxton’s research has appeared in Library Quarterly, Government Information Quarterly, and Information Research. His monograph Understanding Reference Transactions was published by Academic Press in 2002. He has led study-abroad experiences for UW students in South Korea for seven years.

Jeffrey Kim, Information School, Program Co-Director

Dr. Jeffrey Kim earned a PhD in Information and Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine. His general research interests are distributed teams and collaboration in social media space, technology support for collaborative work, technology and social innovation, social and organizational aspects of computing, and cybersecurity. He investigates the ongoing relationship between information technologies and work practices through collective storytelling in social media space. He has conducted field studies on the role of technology for distributed teams and their collaboration and knowledge-sharing practices in the semiconductor and aerospace industries as well as scientists in biotechnology and medicine. Dr. Kim has collaborated with university and industry partners including University of Maryland, Georgetown University, Intel, Microsoft, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Fourth Wall Studios, 42 Entertainment, Samsung, Toshiba, and Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).

Program Expenses

Cost: $3,900

Estimated Program Fee of $3,900, the UW Study Abroad Fee ($350), airfare, food (about $25/day), UW Study Abroad Insurance ($62/month), other health expenses/immunizations and personal spending money.

Average Airplane Ticket Price

$1,200 - $1,500* roundtrip

*Subject to when & where you buy your ticket

Payment Schedule

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Payment Type Payment Amount Payment Due Date
Non-Refundable Study Abroad Fee $350 October 13, 2017
Program Fee Balance $3,900 October 13, 2017


There are a variety of scholarships available to help fund your study abroad experience. Visit the Global Opportunities page for more information and application deadlines.


To be eligible to study abroad, all program participants must attend an in-person pre-departure orientation facilitated by the Study Abroad office as well as your program-specific orientations, offered by your program director.

You must register for orientation through your online study abroad account in order to attend scheduled orientations. You can visit the Orientation section of our website to view the current orientation schedule.

Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most forms of financial aid can be applied to study abroad. You can verify that your financial aid award will apply to your program costs by contacting the Financial Aid Office. Financial aid or scholarships awarded as tuition waivers or tuition exemptions might not apply so you will need to verify that these funds are eligible for use with study abroad by contacting the funding office.

Financial aid and most scholarships are disbursed according to the UW academic calendar (at the beginning of the quarter). If your program starts before the start of the UW quarter, your financial aid will not be available to you prior to your departure. If your program starts after the first day of the quarter, your financial aid will be disbursed at the start of the program. In either of these cases, you will have to finance any upfront costs such as airfare, health insurance and the start of your time abroad on your own. Please take this into consideration when you are making plans.

Revision Request

In some instances you may qualify for an increase in your financial aid award (typically in loan funds). Check with the Financial Aid Office about your options. To request a revision in your aid, you will need to submit the following paperwork to the Financial Aid Office:

  1. Revision Request Form
  2. Budget of student expenses for your program: The UW Study Abroad Office will upload this budget to your study abroad account after a signed contract has been submitted to the UW Study Abroad Office. You can request an unofficial copy of this budget by emailing

Visit the Finances section of our website to learn more about disbursement, revising your aid package, short-term loans and scholarships.

Application Process

The application includes a Personal Statement, three short answer questions, one recommendation from a professor or TA, and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the on-line application process students may be contacted by the Program Director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.


UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. You can do so by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website:

Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting:

For non-U.S. citizens, the procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at


$350 of the total program fee and the $350 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable and non-revocable once a contract has been submitted, even if you withdraw from the program. Students withdrawing from a program are responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy are included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the date (business day) a withdrawal form is received by the UW Study Abroad Office. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

1. Provide notice in writing to the Program Director that you will no longer be participating in the program for which you have signed a contract and accepted a slot.

2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to the UW Study Abroad Office, 459 Schmitz Hall.

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.