Sunday, August 31, 2008 Announces American Scholarship Winner!

09/01/08 - is proud to announce the winner of the 2nd annual Travel Scholarship to an American! The number of applications received far exceeded previous application periods, and we received many, fine applications, with essays describing a variety of backgrounds – International Studies, Translation, Music, etc. – and cultural exchange interests – Student exchange, Language studies, Grad studies and research, Volunteer work, etc. But our winner is an American Anthropology Grad Student who once taught English in Japan through the JET program, and now has a Master’s degree in Korean Studies and a Bachelor’s degree in East Asian Languages and Cultures (with a focus on Modern Chinese literature).

Our judges of the applications found this scholarship decision the hardest one yet. With so many worthy applicants, with admirable accomplishments and aspirations, it was extremely difficult to choose just one. But the winner’s application proved to be the finest example of the ideals and goals of While there were many worthy submissions, is proud to award a $1,000 travel scholarship to Bonnie Tilland !

Congratulations!We notified Ms. Tilland earlier this week, and were gratified by her response, part of which follows:

As I wrote when I first inquired about the scholarship, I am actually in Korea now. I was participating in a cultural program near Seoul from late July-mid August, and the costs of the program were covered by the program's institution. However, I am now in Jeonju, Korea doing pilot research for my dissertation and will be here a little over two more weeks (returning to the U.S. on Sept. 15th). I signed up on Homestay Korea, a link I found on your website, and the homestay is going great! I paid about $650 to the family for the month (includes most meals), and then also need to cover other living expenses and expenses associated with fieldwork (mostly transportation costs). So the $1000 will go a long way in helping with my project!

And of her research plans:

This summer I have spent two months in Korea to begin preliminary research that will lay the groundwork for my PhD dissertation research, which is scheduled to begin in late 2009. In July and August I am participating in a cultural program in a Seoul suburb at the Academy of Korean Studies, which has given me the chance to learn more about Korean traditional arts and also to refresh my spoken Korean. In August and September I will travel to Jeonju, a smaller city in Korea's southwest with a long Confucian history and a reputation for both strong educational facilities and film culture (because of an annual international film festival). During my research this summer I will be conducting interviews with Jeonju residents, observing local television and film fan clubs, and making contacts with local faculty and members of the Jeonju International Film Festival commission.

I am currently working on my Anthropology M.A. thesis on Korean television dramas that combine themes of workplace, family and relationships, and am analyzing conversations on online TV drama fan site message boards. I am interested both in the conversations happening among Koreans about the representations of family, work and love on television, and in conversations between fans around Asia who are hooked on the "Korean Wave" (Hanryu) of cultural products such as film, television and music. In particular, I am exploring connections between discussions of "family values" (as portrayed in television media) and national and regional identity. I first became interested in my research topic through friendships with Japanese classmates in my intensive Korean language program at Sogang University in Seoul in the summers of 2005 and 2007. I found that the themes and images in Korean TV dramas opened up discussions about cultural exchange and pan-Asian values between people from countries with complicated historical tensions.

Once again, congratulations Bonnie Tilland! And our heartfelt thanks and best wishes to all of the applicants for their good work and high aspirations to reach out to other cultures, and be part of this “bridge building” in our world today.


Anonymous said...

The person who won the travel scholarship for East Asia is already in East Asia? What....?

Anonymous said...

I was also surprised