Changwon National University has been striving to enhance learning and improve students' academic achievements through attracting foreign students. CWNU has been trying to make exchange programs with overseas universities. As a result, we have more than 270 international students from 19 countries. Students from China, Vietnam, Mongolia, Japan, Sweden, Tanzania, Nigeria, Cambodia, and Taiwan are studying hard in CWNU. In this article, we met a few foreign students and listened to how they are adapting in Korea, how they are doing in their school life, and what their difficulties are. We also would like to introduce some international programs with Korean students and foreign students.
Interview with 11 foreign students
International students’ average duration of study at CWNU is one year, and they often study in Korea to obtain a master's degree after completing a bachelor's degree in their home country. “Are you satisfied with your school life in Korea?” in this question, 91.7% answered that they were satisfied with their school life. The answers to the question “What inspired you to study abroad?” varied. But the common answer was “to experience Korean culture, to learn Korean advanced technology and to build new friendships.” About the biggest difficulties in Korean life, they answered that adapting to different food is the most challenging. Shivalika Pokhriyal (Dept. of Microbial Biotechnology) said, “The most challenging thing in Korea is food. I am an Indian and I don’t eat seafood and I don’t eat beef or pork, so it’s difficult to survive in Korea.” The other difficulties are language barriers and the expense of living in Korea. Many foreign students agreed that “Everything is expensive.”
When asked about how they get necessary information and help with school life, they said that they are mainly helped by professors and their department office, and that they exchange information with other foreign students or Korean students around. I felt that there was a lack of information exchange through social communities such as SNS. The biggest difficulties about their school life is their study. They often don’t understand what they are learning from classes because of the language barrier. Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy (Dept. of Analytical Chemistry) said, “I can’t speak Korean, so it's hard for me to communicate with others or get more information about from Korean friends.” Lee Ick (Dept. of Computer science and technology) said, “In major classes, the professor teaches in Korean.”
When we asked about new Korean friends, they answered that they knew 5-6 Korean friends and all 11 students interviewed said they really hope to make more Korean friends!
What are some ways in which international students can interact with Korean students? The best known exchange program is the 1:1 matching program to share their different languages with each other and help with school life. Eight of the interviewed students knew about the program and five said they had participated in the program. One applicant was sadly rejected and said he was going to reapply next semester. Asked whether they think they need more exchange programs, 10 students said they would like to have more active exchange programs. Based on the interviews, we contacted the International Exchange Office and the officer also said that they felt there is a lack of exchange programs and replied that they will increase programs with an increased budget starting this summer vacation.
The one-to-one program is the only exchange program on campus, boasting a high level of competition each year until 2016. But this year, noticeably few Korean applicants applied for the program. The office is planning a trip to Korea called, "Beautiful Korea," and has requested for active participation and support from Korean students. “We will activate the one-to-one program and create buddy clubs so that Korean students and foreign students will have their own clubs while promoting the school and continuing their own matching program.”
CWNU is working extremely hard to improve the exchange program. However, there is a challenge in encouraging students’ participation and developing various programs on campus. I hope that the good programs and active participation of students will make students’ exchange more active.
|International students are experiencing Korean culture|
Sarah Park firstname.lastname@example.org
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