Price introduces Seoul National University undergrads to CA’s creative industries

March 8, 2018

Seoul National University undergraduate students take part in the “Creative California” training program at USC Price. (Photo by Deirdre Flanagan)

By Cristy Lytal

For the first time, the USC Price School of Public Policy hosted a three-day training program to introduce undergraduates from Seoul National University (SNU) to “Creative California.” Through a series of lectures and site visits, students from South Korea’s top university gained first-hand knowledge of creative industries, ranging from film to fine arts to sports.

“I hope that this experience will greatly impact our students to think about their future careers,” said Joon-ho Kang, professor of sport marketing at SNU, “[as well as] impact their quality of life, open their eyes to different worlds and different industries, and let them enjoy culture, entertainment and sports as a tool to make their lives much richer.”

The Creative California program is the most recent addition to SNU in the World, a series of training programs in international locales including Tokyo, Beijing, Madrid, Paris, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C.

Insightful site visits

Professor Eric Heikkila, director of the USC Price Office of Global Engagement (Photo by Deirdre Flanagan)

Through the Creative California program, the SNU students ventured behind-the-scenes at Warner Brothers Studios, hosted by Vice President of Public Affairs Michael Walbrecht. They toured a soundstage and got a glimpse of the studio’s celebrated movie landmarks, cars, props and memorabilia.

“I didn’t know that Warner Brothers had such an amazing portfolio,” said Gyutae Bae, who is majoring in Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design at SNU. “And actually, we got to be on the tour with a very high executive, and he gave us a lot of background information about what is going on in the studios and information that I couldn’t really get access to as a normal tourist. That was a really interesting experience.”

At the Getty Museum, the SNU students viewed world-class art collections, and met with Vice President of Communications Ron Hartwig.

Interactive lessons

Photo by Deirdre Flanagan

Throughout the program, the students also enjoyed lectures on topics ranging from the creative economy, to the government’s role in Hollywood, to sports management. Speakers included Kevin James from the Los Angeles Department of Public Works, as well as USC faculty members Eric Heikkila and Elizabeth Currid-Halkett from the Price School, Colin Maclay from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and David Carter from the Marshall School of Business.

Professor Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, the James Irvine Chair in Urban and Regional Planning (Photo by Deirdre Flanagan)

“What I felt was most impressive here was the culture of freely asking questions,” said Gieun Ko, a Korean Language Education major at SNU. “For example, when professors lectured, they said, ‘Please ask questions if you want, and interrupt’ [and] respect students’ opinions. And they always said, ‘Oh, that’s a fantastic question. I’ve never thought of that.’ I think that’s where the creativity starts.”

The students were also struck by the fact that in the creative industries, deals are done in the bars as well as in the boardrooms.

“The biggest difference I felt here is that the professors and all the students emphasize networking a lot,” said Yoonyoung Cho, who is majoring in English Language and Literature at SNU. “That isn’t a big part in Korea. We don’t actively interact with experts in different areas. And here, there are a lot of happy hours that can be used to make that connection, which is a very key element in creativity.”

After experiencing the Golden State, many of the SNU undergraduates expressed interest in pursuing graduate studies in the United States.

“This program has helped them to rethink what their options might be for post-graduate studies and for onward careers,” said Professor Heikkila, who directs the Office of Global Engagement at USC Price. “It was eye-opening for them that they could begin to see how their areas of study might link to these kinds of creative industries.”