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Spotlight on South Korea

Rob Hardin, Win Koo, and their South Korean colleaguesAmericans are known for being fanatics about college and professional sports. Two UT faculty members in the Department of Exercise, Sport and Leisure Studies went to South Korea in the summer of 2008 to teach students about this obsession in U.S. culture.

Rob Hardin, associate professor, and Win Koo, assistant professor, spent July at Chonnam National University in Gwangju, South Korea, teaching seminars on Sport in American Society.

Hardin's seminar focused on professional and collegiate sports in the U.S. He described the major professional sports and their role in American society, and he explained the divisions in collegiate sports.

"The structure of sport in the United States is very different than that of Korea," he said. "Professional and collegiate sports do not consume society in Korea like they do in the United States. The students were awed at the amount of money athletes and coaches earn at the professional level. The facilities in the United States are far superior as well."

Koo led discussions focused on the business side of sport and professional opportunities in the sport industry in the U.S. and internationally.

Koo, a native of South Korea, also used the trip to assist in arranging for 13 former elite athletes to study at the English Language Institute at UT. They are part of the Korean Foundation for the Next Generation of Sports Talent (NEST). NEST helps retired athletes transition from the competitive sports world into the business world.

Hardin learned a great deal from being immersed in Korean society.

"Now I have a better understanding of the issues international students face when they study at Tennessee," he said.

Koo teaches graduate and undergraduate sport marketing classes. His research focuses on sport consumer behavior.

Hardin teaches courses on sport media, intercollegiate athletics and event management. His research focuses on the interaction of sports and media and aspects of college sports such as media relations, fan motivation and revenue generation.

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