The Bottom of Foreign Students’ Heart

Kim Ka-Ye, Bang So-Yeonl승인2015.04.06l수정2015.04.06 15:11l0호 0면

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▲ They are from Cambodia, Paraguay and Peru(from left). It’s been almost one month since they came to DKU and they seem to be happy being here.

“I really love the harmony between the university and the nature that builds up the will to study and as there are many different kinds of vegetation, it encourages me to get interested in my major even more. I like English class because professors in Peru make students just read and speak, so we can’t
study it profoundly. But here professors teach English one step by one so, I was able to fill my void.”(Andre, Dept. of Microbiology, Senior, Peru)

“I realize that Korea is economically developed country through Dankook University, it gave me a good image about Korea. I’m very satisfied with the
high quality of education in DKU. At the beginning, I was worried because my country is quite different from Korea, but now I feel like I’m at home.”(Christian,
Dept. of Economies, Junior, Paraguay)

“As Andre said before, the university has a good atmosphere and its surroundings. The library and other infrastructures are well established so it’s very
comfortable. Especially the students residential complex is very clean and cozy to live and the internet is very fast. But above all, Korean students are very kind and helped me a lot and I’m really having a good time here.” (Phoem Sokun, Dept. of English, Junior, Cambodia)

These are interviews of foreign students at Cheonan campus. Even though it has been only one month since the start of this semester, but as the saying goes ‘First impression is important,’ they have a good opinion about our university. While we were interviewing them, one of them laid down on the grass and said “I like this place to rest.” We could realize through them that our university has
good facilities, something that we didn’t care about it before. They mentioned not only good things, but also the inconveniences.

“Before we came to Korea, we entered the DKU’s webpage and checked out our curriculums. It was in English, but when I wanted to apply for attending the lecture, the lecture timetable book was all in Korean. I was a little surprised that there’s no English version.” (Paola and Betsabel, Dept. of Microbiology, Sophomores, Peru)

Apart from that Phoem Sokun suggested carefully “I’d like that notifications like a school event be in English in order so that students like us can be notified, too. In English DKU’s webpage, there are just the introductions of university and curriculum and even that isn’t being updated. So we want to know about school events, it’s difficult to know about information like where and when.” Chritian
said about ‘What DKU should improve in future.’ “Despite the English Medium Instruction(EMI), the lecture is conducted basically in Korean. Even though professors spend their time to explain to us in detail, it will be better to explain in English as the lecture is an English lecture."

With all this inconveniences that foreign students said above, we visited the Division of International Affairs(DIA). And we interviewed the leader of Global Talent Network(GTN in Jukjeon campus), Dong-Hyuk Kim(Dept. of Business Administration, Junior.)

What do you think the most difficult things for foreign student? “It’s the language problem, of course. Most of them came here without any knowledge of Korean. They came here not to study Korean but to have cultural experiences and growth of themselves. Therefore, everything what they’re going through is difficult for them.”

Because of the language, I think they have some problems with attending class.
“Yes, at least they can attend EMI class. But they hardly understand a class in Korean. Therefore, we give a guidance about how to teach those foreign
students to professors. Also professors explain them the contents of the class in detail everytime even outside of class time. Sometimes an assistant is chosen
to help foreign students to follow of the class and do their homework and tasks. Not only these class assistants, also GTN members help them as well.”

Apart from attending class, they have problems with the application for lectures. Most of the books for class are written in Korean, so how do they apply for a lecture?

“GTN members also help to apply for attending lectures. We explain to them in detail like the main subject of class and how to organize the timetable efficiently. Unless our school provides the lecture timetable book in each language, there is no way to solve it or we will still have to help them. Another thing is that it’s very hard to understand for foreign students about administrative affairs, even Korean students don’t know about it very well, either.”

In addition, foreign students pointed at ‘high living prices’ as a one of the difficult things. That is an issue to Chinese students and Mongolian students in
whose countries’prices are relatively lower than Korea. Exchange students have to bear in their mind that prices and standards of living are different from various countries.

DKU gives exchange students 300,000 won as resettlement funds. Once one university in sisterhood relationship asked money for meals. Therefore our university signed up to pay 300,000 won a month to the foreign students who are in university signed with DKU. Now we signed the agreement with nine Chinese universities, 57 Chinese students benefit from this agreement. In case of students who aren’t in an university signed with DKU, they used to solve the problem by asking their professor for a financial help.

Through the interview with exchange students, DIA and GTN student leader, we could know that foreign students have had satisfaction with campus infrastructure and quality of education. But notices and school events that they need to know are not posting and some EMI classes are taught in Korean. These problems still need an improvement. The primary reason for those problem is that DIA is not
systemized.

In case of Hanyang University and Dongeui University, their international exchange affairs divided into parts like visa, alien registration, class and documentation. But in the case of our university, DIA is handling all those works. So they have a lot of remains they could not care, those can be difficulties for foreign students. So GTN informs school news and events to them. The number of exchange students coming to DKU are increasing. But comparing with the growing number of them, there are still short prepared programs for them. So DIA and GTN are responsible for a huge amount of work for the foreign exchange students.

For globalization of DKU, it is important that the number of universities in sisterhood relationship increase. But the most important thing is the campus
image that they feel. To improve the university image, it is responsible to support the learning environment. And more consideration for exchange students is needed to communicate between our university and foreign students.


Kim Ka-Ye, Bang So-Yeon  dkherald@hotmail.com
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