Postechians Experience the 5·18 Democratic Movement
Postechians Experience the 5·18 Democratic Movement
  • Reporter Kim Seo-yeon,  Park Jee-won
  • 승인 2019.04.24 13:26
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▲Postechians at the "Field Trip to Gwangju"
▲Postechians at the "Field Trip to Gwangju"


From April. 12 to 13, POSTECH Peace Institute (PPI) hosted “Field Trip to Gwangju” – a field trip to the historic sites of Gwangju 5·18 Democratic Movement. The purpose of the trip was to raise students’ historical awareness and provide an opportunity to acknowledge the importance of peace. Gwangju 5·18 Democratic Movement is the movement that occurred from May 18 to 27, 1980, where people of Gwangju came together to fight for the abolishment of former president Chun Doo-hwan’s military dictatorship, the abolition of martial law, and the establishment of a democratic government. Eleven POSTECH students participated in the event and experienced various activities including visiting places related to the movement, partaking historical experiences, and debating with each other through a group discussion. The participation fee was fully funded by PPI, and 150 PAMs is to be provided to those who submit field trip reports.

To inform the readers about the field trip, The Postech Times interviewed Choi Tae-seon (MSE) who participated in “Field Trip to Gwangju”.
When asked why he had applied for the event, Choi explained two reasons: PAMs and “recharging”.  Choi came across the event on the PAMs website and thought it would be a good opportunity to earn PAMs for his graduation requirements. Also, as the event was to be held on the weekend after midterm exams, Choi took the field trip as a break to recharge himself. 

“Field Trip to Gwangju” consisted mainly of visits to sites related to the 5·18 democratic movement, such as the 5·18 Liberty Park, the 5·18 Archives, and the 5.18 Road. Choi chose the ‘May 18th National Cemetery’, a cemetery to honor the victims of the Gwangju 5·18 Democratic Movement, as the most meaningful place visited; the students visited the cemetery and paid respects to the victims of the uprising. 

Choi referred to the group discussion session as the most fun and memorable activity since students were given the opportunity to lead the discussion by themselves. The discussion’s theme was questions that we must contemplate throughout our lives; students came up with questions based on what they had learned during the field trip – what they had learned from the Gwangju 5·18 Democratic Movement – and shared opinions through debates. Many inspiring questions were presented: “Will history be repeated?”, “What is the purpose of the existence of a country?”, “How should history education be changed?”, and so on. His most memorable question was whether the soldiers who pointed guns at the Gwangju citizens by the order of the military dictatorship should be seen as victims or perpetrators.

Overally, Choi was very satisfied with the field trip. He was satisfied the most with the well-organized schedule and the sufficient support provided by PPI to the students. When asked if he wanted to recommend “Field Trip to Gwangju” to other students, Choi answered “yes” without hesitation. Since Choi had such a great time “that [I] would really like to go on the field trip again, if [I have] the chance next year”, he expressed regret over the low student participation rate, explaining that only 11 students took part in the event whilst the quota was 20. “I would like to tell Postechians to participate in the field trip at least once, twice if possible. In POSTECH, there is little opportunity to go out and accumulate knowledge of Culture, Humanities, and Society, since lack of such knowledge is replenished by talks given by lecturers and humanities classes on campus. “Field Trip to Gwangju” is a great opportunity to get off campus and communicate with people with similar thoughts.”