Erica Vogel, anthropology graduate student, has received a $20,500 U.S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research award to study how Peruvian migrants to Korea have changed course from working in Korean factories to training as missionaries and evangelists. Her findings will provide insight on the different tracks migrant workers take in order to join and gain potential acceptance into new societies while also shedding light on the interplay between churches and migrant workers in uncertain legal environments. 

“Peruvians began migrating to Korea in the early 1990s when Peru’s economy reached a thirty-year low and Korea’s was experiencing a post-Olympic boom,” says Vogel.  “The economic landscape and migrant policy in Korea has since changed, yet, despite facing an increasing risk of deportation and a decrease in wages, Peruvians continue to migrate to and remain in Korea, and an increasing number are pursuing careers as missionaries.”

From November to May, Vogel will be living in Lima and Chimbote Peru where she will interview former migrant workers who have returned to Peru to begin studying in seminaries with scholarships from Korean churches. She will research their motivations for the change in career pursuits and their success in translating Korean-style evangelization techniques to their families in Peru.  In addition to interviewing former migrant workers and their families, she will also conduct participant observation in Korean-Peruvian churches. Findings will be included in her graduate dissertation.

Funding for this research began July 1 and will run through December 2011.  Additional research funding has been provided by The Korea Foundation, Pacific Rim Research Program, UCI Center for Asian Studies, and UCI Department of Anthropology.


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