“John” Jang Wook Kim, left, Chancellor Steve Angle, fourth from left, Gen. B.B. Bell, third from right, and Korean students from Shungshin Women’s University in Seoul.


In a ranking that you don’t brag about, South Korea is now designated as one of the most-polluted countries in the world. The Korea Baseball Organization has even canceled games in Seoul due to air pollution.

With that in mind, eight college students from Sungshin Women’s University in Seoul are in Chattanooga this week, touring the city and studying the steps it took to morph from being one of the most-polluted U.S. cities in the 1960s and ’70s to the clean’n’green city of today.

“We have environmental problems nationwide, so we want to benchmark how Chattanooga overcame the experience,” says “John” Jang Wook Kim, an assistant professor in Sungshin’s College of General Education.

“We want to see the changes that have been made and are being made in Chattanooga,” he says. “How Chattanooga changed the past and the future.”

Eunyeong Choi, a senior in economics, says she wants to study the economic impact that Chattanooga has experienced by cleaning itself up.

“There must have been some economic impact and also costs,” she says.  “How did they allocate the resources that were effective?”

But the students—four sophomores and four seniors—also are tourists who want to see the sights. Standing in front of Chamberlain Field on a recent morning, their “ooohs” are almost harmonic. And then, naturally, it’s into Starbucks.

Among other sites, they will visit the Volkswagen plant, the Enterprise Center, the Tennessee Aquarium and downtown area, Lookout Mountain and Girls Leadership Academy. They will also spend three days in Nashville.

Titled “Global Frontier,” the program bringing the students to Chattanooga is highly competitive with 10 teams chosen to travel to such countries as Estonia, Spain, Germany, the U.S. and Japan, Kim explains. The students in Chattanooga are enrolled in a variety of majors, including Western painting, service-design engineering, French literature and environmental engineering, he says.

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