The Israeli Embassy in Korea opened the first virtual embassy in the metaverse last September, and the virtual realm is becoming a place where people from Korea and Israel can learn about each other’s languages and cultures. A lot of Korean and Israeli students are thrilled by this metaverse news!
The Hebrew class at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) and the Korean Studies students from Hebrew University of Jerusalem met at the metaverse embassy earlier this month to talk.
Every student made an avatar and used it to get to the meeting in the E=MC2 conference room on the second floor, which was in the pavilion.
What do they go through?
During the event, the students talked about who they were and how they spent their winters and free time in their home countries. The Israeli students spoke in Korean, and the Korean students spoke in Hebrew.
The meeting was set up by Irina Lyan, who is in charge of the Korean Studies Program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Shin Seoung-yun of HUFS, and the Israeli Embassy in Seoul.
The Israeli Embassy is pleased with how the metaverse has been used and wants to use it as a way to get more people from the two countries to talk to each other.
“The avatars gave the feeling that the students are actually in the same room together, it was incredible to see how fast they got used to the metaverse platform and how confident they were during the presentations. The eight thousand-kilometer distance between Israeli and Korean students dropped to zero with this new platform,” Rasha Atamny, who is the deputy chief of mission at the Israeli Embassy in Korea, says that this is the case.
“It is a brand-new and interesting way to talk to people. The metaverse is a unique and interesting way to promote understanding through public diplomacy. Soft power diplomacy uses new social network paths and changes in technology over time to make it easier for people in Israel and Korea to connect with each other and reach more people.”
Atamny says that the embassy wants to hold at least one event every month on the metaverse platform.
She said, “It is a new and exciting platform to experience communication within. The metaverse is a unique and attractive tool for public diplomacy to bring people closer. Soft power diplomacy adapts to the advancements in technologies over time and harnesses new pathways of social networks to maximize the reach and connectivity between Israel and Korea.”
Israel looks into Korea
Lyan is ethnically Korean and is from the fifth generation of his family. He was born in the former Soviet Union and moved to Israel more than 20 years ago. Lyan and the embassy put on the event. She has been in charge of the program’s Korean studies since July 2020.
The Korean Studies Program at Hebrew University started in October 2013 and has 62 undergraduate students right now. The program teaches Korean language, history, culture, economy, and politics.
Lyan says that since 2020, there has been an increase of over 20 students every year. Most of our students are interested in Korean pop culture.
Professor Lyan says that the metaverse event made it possible for Israeli students who were learning Korean and Korean students who were learning Hebrew to connect virtually, despite being in different places. The process of learning started even before the event, when students prepared their texts in both languages and exchange students helped the participants.
“I think these kinds of small-scale interactions are valuable because they help people learn about each other’s cultures. The metaverse is a fun and convenient addition to the physical meeting space, especially for young people who spend more and more time on digital platforms “She spoke.
“Creating an Israeli-Korean network may go a long way if people take classes in person and talk to people online who share their interests or have interests that complement their own. I really hope that it was just the first time that students from the two countries met each other.”
Because Korean culture is still very popular, the Korean Studies program at Hebrew University, which only has one professor, Lyan, plans to hire another person and start a master’s program.
“For today, we are the only program to major in Korean Studies in Israel but courses on Korean language and history are taught in Tel Aviv, Bar Ilan and Haifa Universities. I believe it will grow as well in other universities since the demand for Korean Studies is overwhelming,” said Lyan.
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