Dokdo, the solitary island. Ask a Korean about Dokdo and you will most likely see Korean nationalism oozing out of their pores. However, that fervor for Dokdo seems lost amongst the foreign community. It seems the pervading thought is: "who cares, they're just a couple of rocks". This leads to much confusion and animosity about why Korea is so adamantly fighting for sovereignty over Dokdo.
Through this trip, we were able to learn just how much of an impact, culturally, that Dokdo has on Korea.
2016.07.26, the weather was on our side and we were lucky enough to actually visit Dokdo and see for ourselves.
"It was initially described as a once in a lifetime opportunity. How could I refuse? I thought that the trip to Dokdo would be a chance to see a part of Korea I wouldn’t travel to on my own. It turned out to be much more than that. Not only was it a chance to network with fellow guest teachers from around the country, it was a chance to step foot onto a piece of South Korean history. I was provided with an opportunity to speak with an Ulleungdo native about the importance of Dokdo, given information about its history and laws, and given a strategic way to communicate this information with others. This information came to life when we were given the chance to step foot onto Dokdo and take our required photos of proof to show our friends, family, and co-teachers. After exploring Ulleungdo, tasting its local dishes, and bonding with fellow native English teachers, it was time to head back to the mainland. Before boarding the ferry, we were all given one more souvenir : a Dokdo residency card. This card will remain in my wallet as a reminder of my once in a lifetime trip to an island of great importance to South Korean history. "
- Margaret Lehmann
소답초등학교, Sodab Elementary