The University of California Irvine (UCI) has begun planning their educational program to bring Korean coaches and players to the United States.
Introduced by Constance, the professor broke down their intentions to bring Korean Esports representatives to Irvine to not only teach young Esports student enthusiasts at UCI but also help elongate their Esports careers. Let alone the action, the thought itself is revolutionary. No college nor educational program has yet to really push the fence on bringing Korean representatives to the U.S. to teach students.
Constance explains the hindsight behind this amazing initiative.
“I’m stating the obvious but every other country holds Korea in extreme high regards. This is because the players are fantastic and the coaches are fantastic. The whole industry is exemplary. We began to investigate into what we could really do to make that professional ‘arc’ productive. So when professional players are done competing, they can still participate in ways that are sustainable salary wise.”
Representatives at UCI, such as Constance, has come to the conclusion that the professional Esports career is not as sustained as other careers in the job field. In hopes of increasing the amount of options and avenues these professional players could have, Constance describes some of the planned approaches.
“We started to think about what professional development we can provide before, during, and after. This is to make sure that if they do walk away, these players have a set of skills that are top notch for continuing a great career. We have been talking about figuring out a way for professional players to become mentors for our kids and help them on gaming. In exchange, we give them the option for college course credit, etc. This is to ensure that they walk away with something, may it be giving them the opportunity to be fluent in English so they are bilingual.
There are also a lot of overlap between people in technology (computer science and informatics) and Esports. We are even experimenting with if there is a connection there so that we can provide players with a bit of an off ramp. UCI has also started collaboration with Korea University towards building out a Esports research center which looks a lot like ours. Ours hopes are to make them sister centers. It would be interesting to get them involved. If finalized, this would mean that the players wouldn’t even have to leave Seoul or at least not leave the metropolitan area.”
When asked about the relative time frame of when said curriculums for Korean players and coaches would be finalized for this exchange, Constance replied with a modest response.
“Right now, we are in the very beginning stages. Part of what we are working out right now is our Esports program, and even Korea University is what this curriculum/program should look like. Going for just English language learning is low hanging fruit to some respect. The question is, what else could we build? Not all professional players will abide to the same curriculum. They are going to have a wide range of interests. We are still in the process of figuring out what the pathways should look like. I don’t want to just put a pathway for Esports only. Some players might look for careers in business or computer science. One pathway we have been thinking of is building a foundation for subsequent work.”
Whilst listening to Constance passionately going over in detail of the educational future for Esports, I could not help but sit on the edge of my seat with a big smile on my face. As with any industry, Esports grows everyday and the people with it. Although the plan to invite Korean players and coaches to the U.S. is still in the preliminary stages, the step has been taken. We will just have to see what UCI and Korea University has in store for Esports in the near future.