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SEOWON : The place for well-renowned leasers

A person who leaves a mark in history and one who transcends time have one thing in common. They have unshakable principle in their mind and a person, a mentor, or someone that they look up to help them to become who they are and attain the heights of their greatness.

A person who leaves a mark in history and one who transcends time have one thing in common. They have an unshakable principle in their mind and a person, a mentor, or someone that they look up to help them to become who they are and attain the heights of their greatness. There would be no Thomas Edison without the makings of his mother. Without Mozart's father, Mozart would be nothing and his gallant approach to classical music would have never been heard. Helen Keller would have not been able to overcome almost insurmountable odds and be an inspiration to everyone without Ann Sullivan. Going back to the Joseon Dynasty of Korea, parents placed a great emphasis on moral education when teaching their children. Seowon was molded and by embraced these values of the Joseon Dynasty. Tour by definition is a journey for business, pleasure, or education where people see and experience nature and customs aside from their own. But for me, a tour is an experience that places me in the heart of another’s native culture and spirit. And by that, Seowon answers a foreigner's need to be captivated by Korea's culture. There are a hundred and one reasons why we have to set foot on Seowon.

First, let's get to know more about Dosan Seowon, built in the 1560's by Lee Hwang, a great Confucian scholar. He educated and taught his students to be genuine honest men full of integrity and pride. Hence, Dosan Seowon is the alma mater of many great scholars. It started as a small scale private school, but its well educated students made marks in history that gave the school and town its credibility, and live on to the footsteps and memories of Lee Hwang and his contributions.

Second, Sosu Seowon, the very first Seowon established in Korea, was built in 1542 by Ju Se-bung, also a Confucian scholar who wanted to cherish the memory and commemorate Anhyang. Anhyang was another great Confucian scholar of the Goryeo Dynasty. The name Sosu Seowon itself means rebuilding the broken Confucianism and maintaining it. This Seowon may not be as big as others but you can feel the sense of freedom and purity as you enter Sosu Seowon. Next to it is a beautiful free flowing river called Nakdonggang. You will probably think that Seowon is the haven for Korean scholars where they could establish their ambition and spread their philosophy.

I personally visited Sosu Seowon before. My stress and worries suddenly disappear as I enter this Seowon. It gave me the feeling of tranquility that I have never felt before. The breeze coming from the Nakdonggang River as it surrounds the Sosu Seowon put my mind at ease. As I set foot on this place and walk around, it made me understand the gracefulness of my ancestors. And, I know that Seowon, the popular Confucianism cultural area, will be a journey worth every step for foreigners who visit.

Currently, we live in a fast paced world and people make every minute count. Students study hard and compete amongst each other at a battle arena called the university where everyone is struggling to be the next global leader. Adults are getting more responsible for their work and move forward for national development. When you feel tired and burned out from your work, how about visiting a Seowon and putting your mind at rest? Seowon will help you find the true meaning and essence of life. Lee Hwang, who established Dosan Seowon once said, "One should not make the purpose in scholarship just to get into the highest public appointment, but study for the reasons of humanity and practice virtue that is the most matured step and the real purpose of education." Life is like a constant battle ground for survival. Visit and have a chance to reflect on yourself at the headquarters of education, Seowon.