Voices of the Bay

International Commuter

Hans Schattle navigates international time zones instead of rush hour traffic


With his family in Rhode Island, his students in South Korea, and his publishing team in England, Hans Schattle has become adept at navigating three international time zones. After living for ten years in Seoul, Schattle and his family relocated to the East Bay last August while the tenured Professor of Political Science commuted over the academic year to South Korea’s prestigious Yonsei University.

A self-proclaimed “government geek” at Bristol High School, he was President of Student Council, Senior Class President and Editor of the school newspaper. After graduating from Boston University with degrees in Journalism and Economics, Schattle worked at The Standard Times and WCVB-TV before pursuing a Master’s Degree in Political

Science from Boston College. He then moved to England and attended Oxford University where he received his doctorate in Political Science. After teaching at Bryant University, Roger Williams University, and Babson College, he accepted the faculty position at Yonsei located in the homeland of his wife Yunkyung Choi.

Schattle’s third academic book co-edited with Jeremy Nuttall, Making Social Democrats: Citizens, Mindsets, Realities, is being released by Manchester University Press this month. Hans can be contacted at HSchattle@yahoo.com.

"By virtue of living in Seoul and watching everything fairly closely, and having read a lot of the history, I often get called by broadcast media to comment about the Korean peninsula. I recently had op-eds in London’s The Guardian and The Providence Journal. I don’t think anything is going to change from now [June] to August. Post summit there are many details to be worked out.

At Oxford I was a student of David Marquand, a household name in British politics. This book is in his honor and features 15 essays from historians and political scientists on the topic of social democracy, not so much top-down but what does it take for a citizenry from the bottom-up to emerge in ways that support and sustain social democracy. My first book looks at how citizenship has changed in our globally interconnected world; my second book, which preceded Brexit and Trump, looks at how national citizenship has changed in the climate of globalization. I try to write in ways that interested citizens can understand without too much academic jargon.

I have the top 0.5 to 1% students in the country, so they are intellectually very curious and engaged. Korea is richer than before. In the past people would not take more than a day off for a holiday. Now if a holiday is on a Tuesday, the government will declare Monday a holiday, so people can take the long weekend and relax. I see that South Koreans are beginning to enjoy what they have accomplished. I think it’s healthy."