March 2023 – As part of a potential world-wide rollout, and in collaboration with our brilliant learning experience design partner, Solvd Together, RPfT were asked to assist with writing and developing three pilot workshops for a new client. One of our established Project Managers and Facilitators Neil Grainger, was tasked with helping to develop and deliver these three pilot workshops in Southampton, Rotterdam and Busan, South Korea.
The workshops consist of forum theatre, individual skills practice and an introduction to a simple psychometric to help the participants understand their own default behavioural style, and how to flex this to be able to step into the role of a Trusted Advisor within the organisation. Whilst the Rotterdam and Southampton workshop comprised mostly English speaking participants and were delivered in English, our client was keen to have native South Koreans as part of the delivery team. Neil worked alongside 3 of RPfT’s Korean based Actors and Facilitators to make up the workshop team, who delivered in both Korean and English.
Ever since I traveled across Japan on my honeymoon, in 2017, I have wanted to explore its neighbouring countries, soak in other cultures and seek out the similarities and differences that make East Asia such a wonderful part of the world. As Project Manager and Lead Facilitator on an exciting new pilot programme with RPfT and Solvd Together, that dream came true as one of the first three workshops took us to the port of Busan in South Korea.
On arrival in Busan, it’s easy to spot the vast similarities to Japan that, for me, make it so wonderful. Firstly, like Japan, it feels safe. The streets are clean and every corner has a state of the art vending machine, some selling hot as well as cold beverages. Much like Tokyo, Busan is a busy city but it never feels noisy or overbearing. No one is shouting in the street, there are no sounds of beeping horns or loud teenagers- there is a level of respect and consideration for others that makes even rush hour a relatively soothing experience.
As Busan is a port, it is positioned right on a stunning coastline and in my time off I was able to walk the Igidae coastal walk looking across the Sea of Japan. I like to think of myself as an amateur photographer and when traveling on a job with RPfT, I delight in using my downtime to stroll with my camera and capture the stunning architecture and landscapes of each city. Busan does not disappoint.
After a few days of working in Busan, myself and some colleagues made the 3 hour train journey across South Korea to the capital of Seoul. Seoul feels immediately younger and more vibrant but also has the fascinating balance of modern technology mixed with ancient temples- my favourite thing about cities like Tokyo and Kyoto.
In the daytime, we took in the dumpling markets, Korean BBQ’s and endless cosmetic retailers with seemingly endless varieties of face creams and moisturising masks (my wife being the beneficiary of a few). However, it’s at night that Seoul truly comes alive. The bright neon lights of the city are vast and it seems almost impossible to take a bad photograph in such a vibrant place.
In my short time in South Korea, I was lucky enough to work with colleagues from both Seoul and Busan who were incredibly proud of the heritage and beauty of the country. In truth, there is a long, complex and troubled history between Japan and South Korea that I cannot pretend to fully understand but what is clear is that, much like Japan, South Korea is another fantastic and vibrant jewel in a part of the world I cannot wait to return to.
See some of Neil’s wonderful pictures below…