What do exchange students think about their lives at Dankook University (DKU)? One may wonder about their experiences out of simple curiosity, and others may wonder about how they came to be a DKU exchange student. The Dankook Herald (DKH) interviewed three exchange students to learn the answers to these questions.
|▲ Picture of DKU Jukjeon Campus (Photo from DKU Portal)|
We interviewed Allyson, Wambi, and Soeun, all visiting from the United States this semester. Allyson (Senior, Department of Korean Language) from Wichita State University (WSU) stated that she was always interested in coming to Asia and experiencing Eastern culture. She decided to come to South Korea after some research and found that the only university in Korea partnered with her school was DKU. She added, even though it was her only option, she is grateful that she ended up at DKU. Wambi (Senior, Department of Law) who is also from WSU said she wanted to study abroad all the time, and luckily, she got the chance to join the summer program at DKU. The last interviewer Soeun (Senior, Department of History) from California State University chose DKU for its appealing location, which is not near a busy city, its many opportunities to work with Koreans, and DKU’s distinguished reputation.
When questioned about the differences between their school and DKU, Allyson cited the biggest difference as the number of assignments and tests. America has different kinds of opportunities for grading such as weekly assignments, projects, and quizzes which may be up to 50 different things by the end of the semester. She said it is a bit nerve-wracking that she only gets 2 opportunities a term to earn a good grade. Wambi saw the difference in the lack of a central location on campus for people to eat, do homework, and host events compared to her school in America. For her, she goes to a café to get work done or stays in her dorm room. Soeun said she does not really see a difference with her school in America, except for the language.
When asked what they found most convenient for students at DKU and what needs improvement, Allyson said the online learning platform was very useful because she can learn anything. She said the only thing that needs to improve is connecting local Dankookians with exchange students. She felt that she didn’t have a chance to meet Korean students. Wambi thought the Global Talent Network (GTN) system was most helpful. She added that through this system, she made friends, participated in events, and received a lot of additional help. The only thing she would like to see changed is the absence of social events where they could get to know more students. As an exchange student, she said she would like to make more Korean friends and participated in cultural exchanges, but as it stands, it is difficult to meet new people. “It is unfortunate that there are limitations due to the pandemic,” she said, “but it would be helpful if there are more activities in the future.” Finally, Soeun said, the GTN buddy system is the most convenient tool available for students. She also did not believe that anything needed to change, but rather some things would be nice if they were added, such as a program that connects local Dankookians with exchange students during their college life.
|▲ Picture of Wichita State University (Photo from Leverage Edu)|
We asked if there was any facility, program, or class they would like to recommend to other Dankookians and Wambi recommended Hyedang Hall’s cafeteria. She explained that it’s a convenient place to go between classes and the price of the food was reasonable. Allyson recommended the GTN programs for both exchange students and local Dankookians. She quoted her GTN buddy was very helpful and the experience of being connected to another Dankookian was a lot of fun. Soeun recommended ‘The 7 habits,’ lecture by Professor Kim Jae-il.
There were lots of documents they needed to prepare before coming to DKU, including a student visa, Tuberculosis and COVID-19 tests, and proof of health insurance. Soeun said, “DKU was very helpful in the process of filling out the forms and submitting the necessary documents.” Additionally, Wambi said she spent a lot of time preparing scholarship applications with her home university. Allyson said because exchange students share a dorm room with other students, she had to prepare herself mentally for the experience.
The exchange students who conducted this interview described DKU with the words "inviting", "wholesome" and "delightful" respectively. They also added that they received the warm hospitality and gained meaningful experience at DKU. Dankookians should be proud of the good impression they had of the university. The warm hospitality of Dankookian has enabled these students to feel more comfortable here, at DKU. The only missing ingredient was a need to connect more local students with their foreign classmates. Get involved and look out for more interviews with international students conducted in the future.
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