Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Miami County student studying amid Korean Unrest
Emerald Frierson, 20, is studying the Korean language and taking courses for her engineering major at Ajou University, in the city of Suwon, South Korea. The school is about a 45-minute bus trip south of the country's capital, Seoul.
Her study is part of USI's Study Abroad program.
Frierson, a native of Peru, Indiana, and a graduate of Maconaquah High School, already was in South Korea when North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il made public his country's possession of nuclear weapons. The admission sent a jolt through the world - including much of South Korea - and added a dose of fear to Frierson's exciting opportunity.
“I was kind of frightened at the thought that a North Korean attack could occur at any moment,” she said. “Now, I don't feel anything. If you look at the reality of the situation, if North Korea attacks South Korea, they would virtually be annihilating themselves.”
Frierson cited the probable string of international events that would follow an attack on South Korea, a chain that likely would lead to nuclear attacks on both the United States and North Korea.
That such an attack would be illogical gives her some comfort. But it doesn't ease all of her fears - or, she suspects, her family's concern.
Her parents, Kenneth and HuiCha Frierson, live in Peru, Indiana.
“I'm sure my parents are uneasy, considering the situation,” she said. “But they also know that (an attack) would be a very irrational decision on Kim Jong-Il's behalf.”
So Frierson plans to continue her studies in South Korea, where she is learning more about the language, the world, and her own heritage. “My mother is Korean - thus my particular interest in this country and its culture,” Frierson said. “Growing up in a multi-cultural household, I have always been intrigued by different cultures. I figured the best way to grow and learn is through experience and I thought why not take advantage of the opportunity while it is here in front of me.”
Frierson’s mother and sisters plan to visit Korea at the end of the semester. Then the family will tour the area, visit with family in Korea, and return to the states at the end of July.
University of Southern Indiana is located in Evansville, Indiana. Founded in 1965, the University enrolls 10,050 students across five academic schools. Over 70 undergraduate majors and 10 graduate programs are offered at USI.