Donnguk University provides diverse services for international students. Most of them are run by the International Student Center, which includes culture experience programs, tutoring, and regular counseling for international students. Dongguk University provides various facilities and services for “anyone” studying in Dongguk. To mention a few, there is Sanglokwon which offers many kinds of foods and the Health Promotion Center where Donggukians can receive oriental medicine treatment as well as get some medicine. In addition, students who live in the Namsan Dormitory can use the fitness center. The programs and services are open to everyone. These are all for 19,143 students studying in Dongguk, of course including the international students.
In 2016, international students were 1,784 in Dongguk and 166 students came in 2017. It would be great for them to have a good and fulfilling time while they stay at Dongguk University, which is one of the reasons Dongguk has been launching various programs. Yet, several questions have come up: How well do they know about school facilities? Are they using the existing facilities well? In order to find out answers to these questions, The Dongguk Post met several international students studying at Dongguk University and listened to their experiences.
|Zeng Fanke (Sophomore, Business administration) from China|
Q. How do you use Central Library and school cafeteria?
Zeng Fanke: I often go to Central Library to work on a paper or study between classes. A reading room in the library is always clean and comfortable to study.
I prefer to eat at the Sanglokwon among the cafeteria in school. The dishes are delicious and people working there are very kind. However, Gruteogi, which is at the Business Administration Building, has not many menu and the dishes does not taste good as Sanglokwon.
Q. Do you know that there is a Women's Lounge at Engineering Building 2?
Zeng Fanke: I did not know at all. Since there are areas where you can take a rest in the library or cafe, I would not like to go to the lounge, and it is also stressful that there are people who do not know each other in a narrow space with only a few beds. It would be much better if the lounge is bigger than now and it would be more comfortable if there are desks and chairs. Then I would like to go there.
Q. Do you have other inconveniences in your school life?
Zeng Fanke: Desks and chairs in the lecture rooms are attached together. At Schools in China, there are no desks with chairs like that. In class, I cannot move the desk and chair seperately if I want to. While sitting on the chair for a long time, my back really hurts. I hope school change them into detached ones. Also, there are too many mosquitoes at buildings in school. It interferes with class for a time. Next year, school should take measures to deal with mosquitoes.
Chao Chen (Junior, Business Administration) from Taiwan and Lee Wai yin (Sophomore, Department of Food Industry Management) from Hong Kong.
/Photograph by Khang Seok-jun
Q. Have you ever used the Health Promotion Center?
Lee Wai yin: Last semester, I went there with my leg injured. The person who treated me was kind, and she treated my leg well. However, when another foreign student who could not speak Korean came to receive treatment, he seemed like he was feeling inconvenient because of the difficulty in communicating with the nurse. I am afraid that anyone who does not speak Korean might feel uncomfortable because there is no person to translate Korean to a different language when an international student visits the Health Center.
Q. What is your personal opinion towards school services?
Lee Wai yin: I think international students use Hyehwa Hall more than any other places in the school. My friends and I found restrooms at Hyehwa Hall dirty compared to other restrooms. Also, it is inconvenient to use them because there are not many of them.
I do not know why the school set a curfew at Namsan Dormitory. We are all grown-ups. Why do we have to follow such restrictions? There is no curfew in Hong Kong and Taiwan. This made me feel reluctant to apply for the dormitory.
Q. Have you experienced any inconvinience during school life?
Chao Chen: At the Central Library, I want to have all books in series. For example, some books should be from one to ten, but several books are missing, which is a shame. Moreover, the amount of time given to students to borrow books from the library is too short. It is only two weeks here and even if you extend, it is still only three weeks. In Taiwan, it is one month. It would be much better if the library of Dongguk extends the period.
Every time I eat at Sanglokwon, I think it is inconvenient. The menu is limited and there is a lot of spicy food. Although it seems to be okay for Koreans to eat spicy food, for us, it is hard to eat. I want the menu script that can tell us how spicy they are. In addition, I do not know exactly what kind of dishes there are because they are only written in Korean. My friends and I cannot find out what ingredients are in food. We have no choice but to choose the dishes in random.
Q. Do you get enough information of clubs from school?
Chao Chen: I do want to join a club, but I cannot get any information about the clubs except for Haram, the Korean teaching club for international students. I would like to join the mountaineering club, but I did not even know if there was a mountaineering club. I have never received any information about the club from the school. In addition, I have not heard of any international friends who joined a club. I would like the school to provide international students with much more detailed information about the clubs.
As the interview shows, there are some cases in which international students know well about the school facilities and that they are satisfied with the services. However, some do not even know about them.
There are three main reasons why they do not use the services. First, there are problems due to language differences. International students have difficulty in communicating with people working at the facilities or using the facilities where the guide is only in Korean. Second, the students do not get enough promotion or information about the facilities and services. Lastly, due to some cultural differences between Koreans and international students, it sometimes becomes hard to understand the services. From the interview, The school should listen to an increasing number of them and make more publicity about the facilities so that international students can use school facilities more easily and more often.
Hwang Hae-su firstname.lastname@example.org
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