The ‘major study program’ is for international students that study according to the ordinary school curriculums just like other native Koreans. In this program, the international students are paired with Korean natives. Then Korean students tutor their partners on their major studies. Since many lectures are carried out in Korean, the international students face many difficulties in understanding the subject. Thus, the tutors act as a great reinforcement to their major studies. However, this program is not quite available for all international students, so they prioritize freshmen over enrolled students when selecting the pairs. There are 30 to 40 different pairs and they are obligated to carry out 10 private lessons per semester.
On the other hand, the ‘one to one program’ has quite a different tendency. This program also pairs up random Korean students and international students. However, unlike the other program, it is centered around exchange students or students that stay in Korea for shorter periods of time. While the counterpart focuses on difficult major studies, this program concentrates on cultural fusion and language exchange between partners through many events or activities. Thus, this could be less academic compare to another, but through activities both of the partners could enjoy mutual benefits by sharing what they own.
Song Min-kyeong, a freshman Korean student majoring in International Relations, and Gabrielle Jousselin, an exchange student from France studying in the Department of Clothing & Textiles were interviewed as a pair from the ‘one to one program’.
Q: What have you guys as a pair done through the one to one program?
Song & Jousselin: We met periodically to exchange our different languages and cultures and as part of that we participated in a ‘But’ program that was held for Hangul Proclamation Day at the campus. Also, visiting ‘the House of Changwon’ and walking around in Korean traditional costumes still remain in our memories. From now on we are planning to try some more interesting activities that are related to our culture.
Q: Have you had any difficult situations due to cultural differences?
Song & Jousselin: Up until now, we haven’t faced any trouble.
Song: Frankly saying, I was quite worried about communication once I heard of Gabby’s nationality since I don’t speak a word of French. However, as I spend time with her, I realized that communication skills are not the only component to accept and understand someone. There is something else deeper in the relationships between people. Besides we could communicate basic stuff in English.
Q: How was this program helpful for you? If you could re-apply to the program in the future would you do it again?
Song: For my case, I had no background knowledge of France and she helped me learn little by little. Thus the fascinating side of this program is gaining knowledge and an interest of your partner’s country which spontaneously led to an understanding of differences. Through this program, I gained an acceptance, which is a vital part of multiculturalism. Therefore, I will definitely re-apply for this wonderful opportunity in the future if possible to expose myself to another set of differences.
Q: Any reinforcement that you guys want to suggest based on your experiences?
Song & Jousselin: For us, the system now is just perfect. However, when we look around, there are a few international students who didn’t really wish to join the program in the first place that are now part of some pairs. Thus, we didn’t see any motivation in such pairs, so we felt sorry for Korean students who must have applied to this program with full motivation to meet people with different ethnic background.
|▲ Min-kyeong and Gabrielle at ‘the House of Changwon’.|
By Young-min Kim, reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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