The Dongguk Center of Teaching and Learning (DCTL) announced the start of its own academic counseling service for international students on August 27th on Dongguk’s official homepage. This program aims to assist students toward a successful university experience. This service was started three years ago for both Korean and international students; however, foreign students have not utilized it much due to the lack of promotion. As a result, the DCTL decided to make a new notice on the Dongguk homepage in order to encourage foreign students who are having troubles with their college studies to seek help.
Actually, the DCTL counseling program is not operated by a counseling expert. Psychology consultation is operated by the Student Counseling Center, and problems related to foreign students are dealt with the Department of International Affairs. However, considering the fact that Student Counseling Center experts are not fluent in English and that Department of International Affairs is an administrative branch, there is no center that takes care of problems with their studies. Thus, the DCTL counseling program was set up to ease the burden for students. In fact, about 130 Korean students who seek ways to improve their studying skills come to get counseling at DCTL per year.
However, the DCTL does not separate foreign students from Korean students in its program. International students can request counseling and schedule appointments in the same way as Korean students do. They mostly requested consulting because of concerns about memorizing, concentrating, managing their GPA, and scheduling for courses. The two biggest problems among foreign students were, firstly, the professors who do not teach in English even in English lectures. Secondly, the Korean language lectures are hard to understand well, but are essentially required for degree.
Unfortunately, more than one month has passed from the date of the announcement. However, none of international students have come to take this program because the promotion on official homepage is insufficient to get attention from them.
Additionally, they prefer the Department of International Affairs which is familiar to them. Lee Sun-young, a research professor and the only counselor in DCTL, said, “We have a future plan to connect students through Department of International Affairs by building bridge between the two departments. We believe we can make improvements by taking in a few students at the first stage and spreading words of our program through them. We want to be a supporting branch for foreign Dongguk students who are having academic problems.”
The DCTL counseling program will continue to compile data and utilize this data for future counseling services. Thus, it could serve not only as an academic counseling place but also as a communication place of international students in the future.
This will need time and tolerance of both students and DCTL because it is basically a research center rather than a professional counseling center which can use its time only for counseling.
Yang Si-young firstname.lastname@example.org
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