Jason Camelio, director of international programs, blogs about our Korean partner institution, Seoul Jazz Academy and their president’s recent visit to Boston.
The busy schedule of crisscrossing the globe for Berklee provides us with many opportunities to experience other cultures and histories, and learn about their rich traditions. It is a rare chance that we have to share these experiences with guests visiting the college. During the week of April 8th, we were fortune to be able to host president of our Berklee International Network partner in Korea Seoul Jazz Academy (SJA) Mr. Charles Kim and his daughter in Boston. Their visit was primarily for the Welcome Week event at Berklee, which opened the campus to accepted students for the fall 2013 semester and their parents to learn more about the college as they prepare to start their studies. Having been graciously hosted by Mr. Kim and the team at SJA, we thought it would be fitting to extend our New England hospitality to him as well.
During the course of the week Mr. Kim and his daughter had the chance to sit in on classes as well as attend concerts, including one celebrating the music of the renown composer and another Berklee parent Bill Whelan. They also visited some local sights, such as Harvard Hard (i.e. Hahvad Yahd) and checked out a Red Sox game at Fenway. In our discussions throughout the week, Mr. Kim expressed his knowledge and appreciation for the special history of the New England region. In particular, he was interested in the writings of Henry David Thoreau, specifically Walden (Life in the Woods). As we got to the end of the week, I took the opportunity take Mr. Kim and one of our new transfer student from SJA bassist Ji Won Hwang up to Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts.
The Friday morning was typical for springtime in New England — cold and damp with a vague hope that the sun and warmth would break through. Standing on the shore of the pond, we were surrounded by a serene seen with the water like glass reflecting the further shore in perfect symmetry. We took it all in with slow deep breaths. It was truly special to have the chance to share this moment.
The moment could not be more distant from the events that were to unfold a few days later at the Boston Marathon and in the following weeks. But, it is moments like our visit to Walden that seem to last in our memories and overshadow those more difficult times. Sharing an opportunity like this is much more representative of the life and spirit of Boston and New England. It is the better perspective to have. As Thoreau stated, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”