With the end of the semester, every one is looking forward to summer vacation. Many Donggukians have already set up various vacation plans : It might be studying a foreign language, working part-time, getting a driver's license, on other specific licenses and so on. The most preferred plan is a trip to abroad. Ninety-two percent of Dongguk University (DU) students want to having an overseas activity and not just a travel. But 45% of them don't know about the many overseas activity programs offered by the school. They have only limited information. Even when they know about opportunities of going abroad getting the chance is hard.
The Post researched this issue to determine the problems of DU's international relations and how these problems can be solved...................................................Ed.
Part 1. Present Condition and Problems in DU's exchange programs.
DU has several programs for its students' abroad activity. DU has offended an international exchange program for 10 years. A department concern with international relationships was established in 1995. Before establishing the department, there was no idea about the importance of international relationships. Moreover, School Authority (SA) opened the Korean Language Institution for foreign students just 3 years ago.
Fifty DU students go to its sister schools and 10 foreign students come to DU through the Exchange Student program. The program is one or two semesters. And DU has some short-term academic and cultural exchange programs as well. Among them, the annual exchange is only with Sapporo Gakuin University (SGU) in Japan. Every year 10 students come and go to each university. Other DU departments also have some abroad programs including the Dongguk International Inquiry, which sends students around the world for special study every year. When DU students go abroad, they only get 35% of the registration fee from the SA.
Although DU has relationships with many universities through the world, there are no real relations. we don't get benefits from our sister universities. Compared with other Universities in Korea, DU's exchange programs. When students go abroad for study, they have to pay their own way because sister universities didn't send their own students. Exchange means "give and take". So, exchange partners give only when they take as much as they give. Based on this principle, DU students have to pay for everything. Why don't foreign students didn't come to DU?
Sister universities want a dormitory and classes that are lectured in English. However, DU can't satisfy these requirements.
The main reason why foreign students avoid studying at DU is lack of housing. Foreign students stay at lodging houses provided by DU. Highchi Kana, a Japanese student, said, "Before I came here, my parents didn't agree with my decision because they don't want their daughter living in a boarding house. Now, I also agree with their idea. It is uncomfortable. If there were a dormitory, my parents' apprehension could be reduced."
Problem is also a lack of classes in English. DU professors can choose how much English is used in their classes. Same universities English to be used in classes. Sungkyunkwan University requires professors to use English in class 30% of the time, classes of the management school are in English, AJu University. One problem at DU is that students hardly ever register for the courses taught in English. This is because students are worried about their grades. For this reason, DU has few lectures in English.
There are a little chance According to a poll, students complained about the support and information about exchange programs. About 45% of students answered that they have a lot interest on the exchange program but don't have enough information. Many students want to go to countries where English is the common language like the U.S.A, Canada, Australia, etc. But DU has only three English-speaking sister schools. Even more, to go there, students have to pay for all school expenses including boarding expenses by themselves. DU's support is only 35%.
Part 2. Examples of Others Universities
Yonsei University (YU) has three kinds of international exchange programs. There is a short-term linguistic instruction, a Study Abroad Program (SAP) and an Exchange Student Program (ESP). About 440 students go overseas each year through the exchange student programs. SAP and ESP are similar but there are something differences. The differences are regulation and capacity. Through SAP, students can go abroad at low prices and the number of students is not limited.
Contrary to DU, YU's ESP based on the principle of reciprocity.- Thus, if YU sends 20 students to a sister school, they received 20 students. YU has a dormitory for foreign students, so many foreigner come to YU. And YU's classes are lectured in English about 30 percent of the time. It helps foreign students to understanding their lectures.
Korea University's Visiting Student Program (VSP) is almost the same as YU's SAP. About 350 students in 2005 went abroad through this program. KU also has lots of classes lectured in English. And has a its Office of International Relations has a web site that offers the useful information. KU's students frequently used the site.
Dankook University (DKU)'s exchange program is similar to DU. But DKU has a small dormitory for foreign students. And they offer a short-term student exchange program for 4 weeks. Through this program, students can get 2 credits, about 90 students use it. One DKU professor a faculty said, "Although few students go abroad, we try to minimize a student's own expenses while abroad.
Part 3. Why Does DU Need International Relationships?
Bak Ji-hye (Dept. of Indian Philosophy, 00) went to Shanghai from Mar. 2004 to Feb. 2005. She didn't feel any difficulty about studying Chinese and understanding lectures because she can speak Chinese quite well. But she faced financial difficulties because she paid all her schooling fees and boarding expenses.
“The formal exchange student program is more helpful to students than studying abroad by one's own expense. The formal program offers credits to students. So the students can't help studying hard because the credits will effect their rank at school in Korea. Friends from various countries helped me to learn not only Chinese but also English and Japanese.
Although the program gave me a lot of experiences, I wasn't fully satisfied due to the lack of financial support. I was the only Korean student who paid all costs for education by myself. Other Koreans were supported by their schools."
When we apply for a job, experience abroad is considered a key factor. An executive of T cosmetic firm said, when they hire new employees, whether he/she has experience abroad is essential. But each department puts its own value on the experience. For example, international sales and marketing departments consider the experience of going abroad to be important, but domestic operations departments do not consider it. They pur more valued on experience through International Internship Program held by Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs. They think that money is the key to individual study abroad, but ability is really what counts. These formal programs support the educational costs. The manager added, "The most important thing is not the experience of going abroad but whether he/she is good at English.
For S enterprise, a student without overseas experience is disqualified from joining the company. S enterprise considers these students to have a narrow mental horizon and to be a in competent. C company believes that, overseas study (especially under the auspices of nation) and overseas travel experiences help someone to cultivate leadership skills.
Part 4 Seeking Ways of Improvment.
Strengthening Informatino Activities
Few students know how many programs are offered. The SA argues that it's all students' fault. At an interview with the Post, Office of International Relations said, "Students have shown low application rates on every overseas program. There a lack of knowledge of what's going on at this campus." But according to the poll most respondents remarked, "A homepage is the only way, a homepage, to know information about the international exchange." Hongik University (HU) distributes an webzine which contains articles about international activities, it enables HU's students to easily acquire information.
Outside of DU there are plenty of opportunities for study abroad. Government institutions concern diplomacy or culture support youth abroad activities and enterprises hold various abroad events. Then, how can we benefit from them? The role of SA is to gather information and inform students about it. But the SA is not satisfying students. There are still students' complain. Because of a lack of information. "I can get more information through other universities. because they inform all students about various programs outside of their own school. It is hard to finding news about outside programs on DU's homepage or public board," said an application of a trade internship program.
Although DU is awful at informing us about activities, there are plans to solve these problems. At the beginning of this semester, Student Welfare distributed a leaflet which contains some information about short-term overseas activities that will be held during the summer vacation. Two of them were newly planned. And most of the existing programs expanded their numbers. Donggukians regarded this as a sign of improvement.
Attracting External Capital
If it is difficult to expand the budget and labor for the supporting students' overseas activities, there are other ways. Attracting external capital is one way.
KU is a good example for DU. The faculty of KU's management school attracted capital from giant enterprises. It was the result of synergy. The enterprises looked for institutions suitable for a donations and KU needed money and found it. DU should attract outside funding as well.
Improving Quality of Lecture
Lets imagine that you are attending a Spanish university. If you can't speak and hear Spanish, you can't follow your classes. Likewise, most foreign students in DU can't fully understand their lectures. Thus, DU should offer more classes lectured in English. As mentioned above, students tend to avoid these classes. For this reason, the SA should reward professors who instruct in English. Of Management, Social Science and Philosophy departments should require and lectures in English because those subjects are common around the world.
Eminent professors attract student. To attract more foreign students, DU should satisfy their needs
Focusing on Global Business
The SA tends to make light of the Office of International Relations's role. A serious problem is DU doesn't have a separate room for the Office of International Relations. They share space with The Institute for Language Research and Education. It's too cramped. A comfortable international lounge the exchange students is needed. If DU wants to broaden the depth of exchange, having an international lounge is necessary.
In the globalized era, no one can stand alone. All beings can improve their status through interdependence with others. Educational systems are not different. For better education, DU should interchange its resources with others. Only an effective interchange can cause a real relationship. Although DU has many sisters, there are only a few real relations. More efforts are required to make DU's sisters real sisters.
Here's a good example. One of DU's sister universities, Sapporo Gakuin University (SGU), has worked toward a better relationship through improving the quality of the exchange. Whenever SGU sets up a sisterhood relationship, the president of the university visits that university. It helps to improve SGU's international stature.
DU's 100th anniversary is in the offing. Now is the time for positive change. Already there are fruits of innovation: DU purchased sites for the itself, has reconstructed its administrational organization and the Ilsan Buddhist General Hospital of Oriental Medicine will soon open. Those are good signs for future.
Interest in overseas activities are more popular, and students want more information and opportunities. The SA should satisfy the student's needs. To expand global exchange programs, DU needs to take the initiative and use those good chances. It's time to direct more attention to international activities for a globalized DU.
The Post met many students who are part of the international exchange program in Korean.
Jen Chia-hui, Dept. of Korean Lang is from Taiwan and came to DU as am exchange student in March 2005. She said that is was hard to comprehend lectures in Korean at first. She lives in a rooming house near the campus because DU doesn't have a hostel. She said, "Although I'm challenged here, I study hard and live a worth while life. Most foreign students who are studying in Korea feel challenged by school life, culture differences, and language problems." Even though understanding Korean lectures is difficult, she tries to adapt herself. She added that living abroad is hard, but it is the most wonderful time."
1. How much do you know about the DU exchange program?
① I know it well and I used it.
② I know about it but I haven't used it
③ I'm interested in this program but I don't know much about it.
④ I don't know it well.
2. Are you satisfied with the exchange program?
31.18% said yes.
3. Do you want to participate in the DU exchange program?
① I want to participate in any kind of exchange program.
② I prefer a program which is supported by DU.
③ I prefer a long-term student exchange program.
④ I prefer a short-term language study abroad and cultural exchange programs.
⑤ I don't want to participate in any programs.
3-1. If you prefer an exchage program, why?
① Because it offens long-term training.
② Because I can keep my registration at DU and get proper grades.
③ Because SA supports part of the fee.
④ It will help me get a job.
⑤ A short-terum exchange programs don't impose a burden.
3-2. If you don't care about an exchange program, why not?
① Because it imposes a burden on me an disturbs my educational plan.
② I want to participate in program but I wouldn't be chosen.
③ I don't think those Programs have merit. ④ Not enough financial support.
Kim Hyun-ah, News Desk Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
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