Seoul in September is a city in transition from the baking heat and humidity of high summer to something crisper and altogether more comfortable for a northern European like me. Over the 10 days I have been in South Korea, I have seen - and felt - this transition take place as more autumnal weather arrives in town. Tomorrow I shall be coming back home to Bath.
My trip to Seoul was made possible by an award of £4,000 from the University of Bath’s International Research Accelerator Scheme to visit colleagues at Yonsei University, as part of a planned research project with the provisional title Discounting our future: towards an understanding of how we model pure time preference and how this impacts upon environmental policy making. Once again, I would like to thank the University and colleagues who took the time to look at my proposal and give me this opportunity to deepen research links with colleagues at Yonsei.
Hans Schattle, who is a Professor of Political Science at Yonsei and also visited Bath last year as part of our Global Mobility Scheme, is hosting me on my visit. I first met Professor Schattle when I visited Yonsei as part of a University of Bath delegation in June 2013. We have kept in touch, through a PoLIS delegation I led to Yonsei in October 2013 and at the official University of Bath reception hosted in Seoul in October 2014 by our Vice Chancellor and Chancellor. Yonsei University is one of Bath’s key strategic partners and my working relationship with Professor Schattle is further evidence of our International Strategy starting to generate stable and productive research collaboration around the world.
While I was in Seoul, I also hosted a reception for a group of Bath alumni in the buzzy downtown district of Gangnam (made familiar to many outside South Korea through the K-pop star PSY’s worldwide hit ‘Gangnam Style'). We had a really excellent turnout, with one alumnus travelling over three and half hours from elsewhere in South Korea to attend the event. Bath alumni also took the opportunity to wish the University of Bath a Happy 50th Anniversary. I would like to thank Cassie Long for her organisation at the University of Bath and to our local alumni volunteer Youseok Cho, who was responsible for the logistics in Gangnam.
Finally, whilst at Yonsei, I gave a public lecture on what still appears to be the number one topic worldwide at present: Brexit. Over 50 students, Bath alumni, and other stakeholders attended the lecture and the question and answer session was a pleasure: Yonsei students are sharp, well informed, and engaged. Just like our own students, in fact, whom I look forward to teaching again in just over a week’s time.
Charlie Lees is the Professor of Politics at the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies.