Passing through the Hyehwa Hall, which has the Center for Foreign Students, Donggukians may get to see a lot of international students. Having a lot of international students in this globalized community can be positive in that Donggukians get to meet people from diverse cultures. Several programs such as Dongguk BUD and Foreign Language Exchange Program are available for Donggukians. With such programs, Donggukians can learn foreign languages and have deeper understanding of different cultures. In return, international students are given opportunities to explore Korean culture. They also get to learn Korean language and make Korean friends.
However, there are voices of concern from Korean students that international students lack Korean language ability. The first thing that comes to mind is about team project. Some classes, or even the majority of them depending on major, might include team project as part of the grade. All of students would challenge themselves to get good grade. This is the point when it gets complicated. When Korean students are teamed with international students, complaints such as “International students do not participate in the team project” or “International students try to avoid participating by saying they lack Korean skills” are heard frequently.
The current regulation of Dongguk University stipulates that foreign applicants of Dongguk University must have level three for Test of Proficiency In Korean (TOPIK). According to the official website of TOPIK, the description for level three is stated as, “Able to carry out daily routine, with fair use of public facilities and able to socialize without significant difficulty.” International students also need to do research and give presentation in Korean, if they take classes in Korean. Korean language skills at the status of “being able to carry out daily routine” would not be enough. If those with sufficient Koreans skills were allowed to take classes, then at least, there would not be any communication conflicts.
Currently, there are many international students in Dongguk University. All of them came here with different reasons, and one of the reasons could be learning about Korean culture, or Korean language. However, such communication conflicts would not be the desirable result. Both Korean and international students would face inconvenience if international students cannot speak fluent Korean and Korean students have to struggle due to their language problems. The only way both Korean and international students can benefit is to have better regulation for international students.
Kim Ji-min firstname.lastname@example.org
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