Friday, November 30, 2007

dear old duke

wednesday night i went to a duke korea alum end of the year dinner. it was interesting. it made me think. the dinner was at the ritz carlton and the food was amazing. but i'll talk about that later. other than me and soojin (both 07 trinity girls) the alum were all old men. they were mostly fuqua alum, LLMs from duke law, and a few MDs. there were also a few who had gone as visiting scholars (does this mean they were students? or lecturers?). there were almost NO women. the few women who were there were the wives of duke alum men, and half the wives were also duke affiliated. there were maybe 2 couples, one was both fuqua and the other was both LLM, where both the man and wife were dukies. i wonder if they met there, or if they were both accepted bc they were a package deal?

anyway, duke alum in korea are surprisingly a lot like those at home, it's an old boys' club. it makes me wonder also, are there less duke women grads in korea? or are they in a society that keeps women from attending bc they have to take care of the kids? but from the looks of the alum last night, these ppl are members of korea's elite society. they are all in the upper echelons of their respective corporations, or are doing really well in their own business/hospital, or are so well-off they're jus chilling doing philanthropy. so the point of that was, these WOMEN if they are graduating with duke mbas and llms, is that they definitely are in a class where hired help is a given. for more on why being a woman in korea SUCKS, refer to LJ's entry on korean womenlife.

i would NEVER EVER choose to be a woman living in korea. even though i am from america, ppl STILL try to fit me somewhat to the korean woman mold. i'm so happy that i am enough of an "outsider" that some ppl are nice and understand and don't ask me to do all the normal traditional woman roles of the house and whatnot. i enjoy my guest status in that respect. like at restaurants, i am never expected to pass out the chopsticks and spoons even though i am the youngest female bc they all know i was not brought up like that. which brings me to my next point: entitlement and prestige?

these ppl went to a diff duke than me. we definitely had differnet experiences. this i know, just from observing the international undergrads. our duke experiences may have overlapped in a few areas, but overall were vastly different. however, were our reasons for going the same? did we know that duke offered us very similar things? entitlement, belonging to the (academic and social?) elite, school name, better opportunity, bragging rights, etc. korea is crazy competitive and clearly studying in america was a leg up, but studying at a place like duke was a super duper double leg and arm up.

anyway, dinner was delish. i had scallops for the first time since coming to korea!!! winty!! i missed scallops soooo much!!! and DIP!!! i haven't had any kind of dip yet, and i miss it sooo much!!! you girls KNOW how much i love scallops and how much i love chips and dip, GOOD dip!!! oh well, i didnt even have time to TRY the dessert bc they moved on to entertainment and bonding games before i was ready. =( oh well.

on another note, a source at duke (ok, john) tells me that this year's team is the best in the whole country. i am SOOOO mad i'm not at duke to enjoy this firsthand, but SOOOO proud of our boys and hope to find a way to watch their games SOMEHOW from the motherland!

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