These days, people tend to visit countries and places that offer cultural experiences, traditional value and historical stories. On June 11 and 12, high school students from Noeun in Korea partnered with Zhenjiang Vocational College in China and those from Jeonmin in Korea with International School of Tunis in Tunisia had virtual live classes to present their tour industry design to boost cultural tourism in their regions. The virtual meetings created a unique opportunity in that all four schools commonly shared rich culture from the long history of their country; however, their partnerships from the same continent (East Asia) and different continents (East Asia and North Africa) reflected interesting comparisons in perspectives.
Most students commonly emphasized the importance of the spiritual/religious aspect of cultural tourism. Korean students from Noeun High School, for instance, narrated the history of Bulguksa Temple and Wongaksaji Pagoda. They see Bulguksa Temple and Wongaksaji Pagodas “a symbolic embody of the teachings of the Buddha.” This narrative along with their visual presentations enabled Chinese students to appreciate many similarities and relatively slight differences of the temple’s construction and spiritual inheritance between China and Korea—A Chinese student was excited to identify a Jinhan Temple similar to Korea’s Bulguksa Temple. Likewise, Tunisian students introduced the history of ancient Mosques, Islamic calligraphy and arts in the city of Sousse. Korean students from Jeonmin High School were fascinated by the beauty of Tunisian arts that have not been very familiar to them and such great difference also made them desire to visit Mousse one day.
While analyzing their existing tour industry and receiving partners’ feedback on their design of new attractions, students realized tourism impacts on natural environments and learned how global cultural tourists contribute to local economy. They also saw cultural tourism as a global education for peace since it fosters the appreciation for their own and other cultures and builds friendships with local people. A Tunisian student commented, “During this semester, we were all honored to get to know you, make new friendships and learn more about the tourism in South Korea. We were also proud to present to you all a part of Tunisia’s touristic sites, which is our very own prideful heritage”.
Along with the presentations, exchanges of the cultural performances such as K-pop dancing and singing, and traditional music performances escalated magical bonds among the students of the partnered schools. Each school expressed their joy of learning the new cultural attractions by mutually inviting the partners to their country and promising to visit the other. The principal of Zhenjiang school in China shared his hope on this global learning, “China and Korean have a friendship with a long-time history. Our two countries have similar cultural backgrounds. It is hoped that the teachers and students of both countries will learn from each other, communicate with each other, make progress together, and contribute to the globalization of education”.