How did you spend your time last vacation? Have you heard about the language
training programs conducted at our university? Every year at Dankook University
(DKU), in keeping with our ongoing good spirit, has many volunteers participate in the school’s language training program. As an activity, this program is a huge draw for highly competitive college students. However, the school language training program often falls short of our expectations. What are the problems?
|▲ Dankookians are celebrating the last day of international exchange program.|
The problems begin to appear immediately with communication challenges between the school and the students being the biggest hurdle of them all.
Selected students are passed on information regarding the dispatch school on orientation day. Prior to that, students communicate with staff through the Internet Cafe.
However, students are often left waiting a long time before their queries are addressed, proving it is not easy to communicate with local staff immediately. Under the current system, participating students do not receive the required response within an appropriate amount of time. This is not ideal when preparing for a long-term stay abroad. In addition, a lot of students have been receiving
inaccurate information. For example, students were advised that they should be
ready to pay the tuition in cash. However, this was not the case. Instead students had to obtain a money order from a local bank and this cost them additional fees. In addition Dankookians were told that classes would be made up of 50% Koreans and 50% foreigners, along with three dedicated foreign assistants. However, when Dankookians went to the class, it was 100% Korean students
and the assistants randomly changed each class. It is tragic that Dankookians who
were selected through a difficult and competitive process, followed by a long period of preparation time, were subjected to such a low level situation.
The Dankook Herald (DKH) interviewed Kim-Jung Hoon (junior, Dept. of Materials
Science and Engineering) who went to the USA for a short language training course last summer vacation. He had already experienced language training for an year. That experience encouraged him to apply again and gain more confidence. He said, “I had lots of difficulties abroad and hard times due to the school’s incorrect information, but it was a valuable opportunity for me to experience a new culture and meet good people.” “DKU knew very little information about
my host university. I took cash due to the fact that I heard that I could pay in cash for my tuition fees. However, they refused to receive a cash payment. Instead, they required a money order which required me to pay a commission,” he expressed in frustration when responding to the question of
the advantages and disadvantages of the international program. “I didn’t expect to
improve my English from the beginning because the training course was short.
However, I think that the host university should reconsider teaching auxiliary verbs and the verb ‘to be’ to university students during class,” he answered regarding the question relating to the language training level and quality of education. “I spent my time just playing infantile games and activities, thus wasting my time,” he added.
Is this the best way for students to go aborad to enjoy a variety of experiences while at the same time studying? How can DKU solve the problems mentioned regarding the language training abroad program?
DKH met with Dankook University International Affairs (DUIA) Manager Heo Jeup
and Choi Ji-young Chief, to discuss how they felt the international exchange program was progressing. DKH asked how the DUIA office exchanged information with participating overseas universities. “We exchange information by participating in an international exchange meeting which is held three times an year. This meeting was formed to exchange information with other universities interested in a student exchange program. We contact other universities by email and phone
because visiting universities directly would cost a great deal of money and require a lot of time,” heo said.
Next, we asked how DKU managed the online exchange program cafe. Heo said,
“DKU doesn’t operate the cafe officially, but those in charge of each programs do it. The reason we manage online cafes is that it is difficult to notify those involved through the DKU homepage because often notices are just for students participating in the program. Direct e-mail is also difficult because some students insist that they don’t always get e-mails from school. We think the person
in charge should check the cafe everyday for prompt problem solving,” he
Finally, DKH asked what the school thinks about the fact that all of the class participants in US program were Koreans, and how DKU will deal with other program has related problems. Heo said, “It is as it should be, that we address the problems as they occur. It is useless to take a class with only Koreans, so we will look into this problem and fix it.”
DKU provides various international exchange programs every year and many students participate in these programs. However, sometimes participating students have had difficulties due to insufficient or incorrect information from the school. DKU should communicate with the students who already participated in the international exchange program to evaluate the program and address any problems with the goal of improving it. Also, DKU should communicate with participating students actively and check for potential problems with the overseas universities. Since the students are representative of our school, DKU should make an effort to help participating students take part in the exchange program without experiencing any inconveniences.
Han Ka-eul, Kim Gang-san, Lee firstname.lastname@example.org