On December 11th and 20th, high school students in the United States and South Korea virtually assembled to discuss the theme of the "Impact of Globalization on Our Societies." As classrooms from both sides of the globe logged into the IVECA Live Class, the stage was set for a dynamic exploration of how globalization has shaped our societies. To lend focus to their exploration, the students turned to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These global benchmarks provided a lens through which the impact of globalization could be analyzed and related to broader societal goals. Each group chose specific SDGs, such as Clean Water and Sanitation and Climate Action, to anchor their research and discussions.
Guided by the SDGs set forth by the United Nations, US students drew connections between globalization and societal progress. For instance, the discussion around SDG 6, clean water and sanitation, unearthed historical practices of purifying water through gravel and sand. Drawing parallels to the present, students celebrated the power of contemporary influencers, such as Mr. Beast, a social media content creator who leveraged his platform to fundraise and drill over 100 wells in Africa. This compelling example highlighted the positive impact that globalization, when harnessed effectively, can have on addressing pressing global challenges.
Starting from the ancient civilization of Gojoseon, the first kingdom on the Korean Peninsula, Korean students guided their audience on globalization’s impact over time. In one group, with a focus on SDG 13 - Climate Action, students recounted the fear of Gojoeson civilians of freezing to death from frigid temperatures. Fast forward to the present, Earth’s temperature has been rising steadily over hundreds of years. Countries are banding together to work towards the climate crisis solutions with the Paris Climate Agreement adopted in 2015. Through this agreement, countries have set goals to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, in alignment with their US partners, Korean students highlighted the importance of platforms such as the Climate Action Challenge, a social media competition that encourages ordinary people to respond to the climate crisis. The boundaries that have once separated us are now blurred, allowing for a free flow of ideas and cultures.
The overarching message resonating from these virtual exchange sessions was clear: the more connected we are through globalization, the greater our ability to communicate and collaborate toward achieving shared goals. As these students continue to learn from each other and build connections across continents, they are not just participants in a virtual exchange; they are shaped into global citizens who create an impact on their societies. A Korean student stated, “The international exchange is not something that happens easily, and sharing stories with people from different cultures is incredibly valuable. Through this experience, my school years have become even more meaningful.”