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A Professor’s View on How Korean University Students Spend Their Summer

   
 
  ▲ Jamie Melynchuk(Professor of Dharma College of Foreign Language)  
 
   The summer vacation is coming to an end, now the fall semester begins. For Korean students, summer vacation is quite a long vacation, lasting from late June to the end of August.  This time away from regular studies affords students with numerous options to take advantage of before the next school year. First, a lot of students study to retake Korean SAT or transfer to another university. Similar to the US, top-notch university graduate students are favored among big companies. Everybody is so obsessed with which university  they attend.

   Students who want to improve within the univeristy would take summer classes to upgrade themselves. Some students may not have achieved the level of proficiency that they wanted during the previous school year so they take the class again or take a related class. Some students may also want to take additional classes to get ahead of their credit requirement and possibly allow for fewer classes in the next semester.

   Many university students study English in summer to take tests such as TOEIC, OPIC and TOEFL. They may take part in summer student exchange programs or attend English Hakwons.
Others may have worked a part time job to pay for their hobbies and pleasure time. Coffee shops, restaurants and retails stores are among the favorites for university students to work at. Work experience is vital as academic study alone will not prepare you for the realities of working.

   Obviously these options are not the best way to spend a vacation but if a proper work and life balance is maintained the additional studying can be worth it in the long run. The important thing to remember is that work and lifemust be balanced. Working too hard reduces productivity and means that other important life skills are missed that will ultimately be the key to a successful career and life.

   Some students may travel to other cities in Korea such as Busan or Jeju Island or the more adventurous type probably travelled to another country to experience a new culture. Travel is one of the most valuable aspects in personal growth. Korea is a very small country with few opportunities to be exposed to different cultures. Travel can be for pure relaxation but can also include learning about history and different ways that people live their lives in other parts of the world. I suggest students not to feel afraid to try new things, new foods and meet new people when they travel. People who have never travelled will often have misconceptions about other people and places and will miss out on one of the most enriching and educating experiences life has to offer.

   Koreans are generally active and the summer, while it can be hot and humid, it does give students a time to get outdoors for activities like hiking, camping, cycling, running and more. Other hobbies include martial arts practice, photography, playing music, and painting. As mentioned earlier, enjoying hobbies should be a part of a student’s regular life and not reserved for only summer vacation but the extra time off may allow more time to be devoted to them.

Jamie Melynchuk  jamiemelnychuk@hotmail.com

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