Small Town in New Jersey Strengthens Partnership with Korean University of Education

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by JAICHUNG LEE
The Presidents of Bloomfield College and Gyeongin National University, and the superintendent of Bloomfield school district holding the signed exchange agreement. [Image: Gyeongin National University of Education]

President Jaehee Lee of Gyeongin National University of Education flew from Incheon, South Korea, to visit Bloomfield, New Jersey, located 15 miles away from New York City. The visit aimed to enhance cooperation on teacher training with the Bloomfield community, involving not only Bloomfield College, but also Bloomfield school district. This agreement will expand opportunities for local elementary school students and teachers to communicate with their international counterparts.

Richard Levao, president of Bloomfield College and Salvatore Goncalves, superintendent for Bloomfield school district received the Korean school officials on January 24th, 2017. Attendees discussed specific ways to cooperate in training prospective teachers such as holding workshops, teacher exchanges, and other programs. New mentoring programs will facilitate direct communication between South Korean prospective teachers and experienced local teachers.

This is not the first connection between Bloomfield College and South Korea. The school has made similar agreements with more than five Korean institutions — including National Universities of Education and Education Training Institutes — over the last two years. Moreover, Bloomfield has held the ‘Global Student Teacher Support Project,’ hosting more than 20 Korean prospective teachers in cooperation with the Korean Ministry of Education. A lot of teacher trainees have already visited Bloomfield for periods of 2 weeks to a year, sharing their experiences and supporting cultural exchange.

South Korea is among the top four countries of origin for international students in the US. International students in colleges and universities contributed $650 million to the New Jersey economy last year and Korean students comprise 5.9% of all international students in New Jersey.

Jaichung Lee is a Research Intern at the East-West Center in Washington and an Asan Washington Young Fellow with the Asan Academy in Seoul.