A Visit from Stanford

As a proud Stanford alumnus and an all-around sports fan, I love cheering for the Stanford Cardinals in any sport.  So I was excited when I learned that the Stanford women’s water polo team would be coming to Gwangju to represent the United States in the World University Games, which is a bit like the Olympics for college athletics.  I had a great time attending the Games’ opening ceremony and a couple of the U.S. games, which you can read about here: http://goo.gl/jes8SP   

Stanford Water Polo team in Gwangju! (Photo from Stanford Water Polo Twitter account)

Like the outstanding student-athletes they are, they came to Korea prepared – completing extensive research into a number of different aspects of Korea.  Before arriving, each team member did independent research and made a presentation about Korea; some were about the history and culture while others were about current events and economic issues.  They told me they really enjoyed being in Gwangju - they loved eating the excellent food from Gwangju’s renowned restaurants and getting off the beaten path to explore Damyang MetaSequoia Park.  They also told me they made fast friends with a number of Koreans working at the games such as their bus driver and some local volunteers, who shared insights with them about the region’s history, current events, and things that make it unique.  You can see more from their time in Gwangju, including how excited they were to see Psy perform live, at the Stanford Water Polo Twitter account (@stanfordh2opolo).

After the games, they came to Seoul to visit with Robyn, Sejun, Grigsby, and me.  We invited them to the residence and served up hamburgers and hot dogs which they hadn’t yet had in Korea, while relaxing and chatting.  Grigsby had a great time meeting the team and even managed to steal several hot dogs and buns when nobody was looking! 

Stanford water polo team enjoying BBQ at the residence
Grigsby’s new friend! (Photo from Stanford Water Polo Twitter account)

Afterwards, I took them on a walking tour of the neighborhoods around the residence and the Embassy. I provided them with a little bit of history of the Jeongdong area, Deoksugung Palace, the British Embassy, Chungdong First Methodist Church, the statues of Admiral Yi and King Sejong, Donga Ilbo and Chosun Ilbo headquarters, Sejong Arts Center, and more.  I have to say - I love my neighborhood!  It’s so full of history and dynamism.

With Head Coach John Tanner
Wonderful time with the team

I had a great time showing them around.  I’m proud of the entire U.S. delegation that came here to participate and excited for more U.S. college teams to visit and compete in Korea!  A special thank you to the people of Korea for being such tremendous hosts!

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