When West Meets East: A Short-Term Immersion Experience in South Korea∗
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Keywords∗The author thanks Drs. Carol Shieh and Roberta Schweitzer for reviewing this article and offering
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AbstractThe purpose of this study was to explore American student perceptions of caring for Korean patients during a 2 week exchange program. Perceptions of Korea/Koreans focused on five ar-eas: respect, hospitality and gift giving, ability to speak English, hierarchal relationships, and being protective. Their perceptions of personal change focused in four areas: valuing personal cultural experiences, increasing cultural awareness and compassion, seeing people from other ethnic groups as individuals and developing interest in oriental medicine. Four areas of impor-tance identified when caring for Korean patients included showing respect, importance of family, food, and care for post-partum mothers. Differences were experienced between an individualistic, low-context society (United States) and a collectivistic, high context society (Korea) where the influence of Confucianism is pervasive.