"I try to read Korean newspapers and watch Korean news to improve my Korean" says Deng Jing, a Chinese student studying in DongGuk University (DGU) majoring in international trade.
On a very cold day in January when the Post met Deng Jing in a coffee shop, she introduced herself as a Korea lover, who had studied Korean from her high school days.
She said Korean language was like a sweet melody to her, which eventually led her to study in one of the Korean universities.
During the two hours of talk with this Chinese student, it was easy for us to understand why she has stayed in Korea over three years and how much she loves Korea. Even though she feels her Korean is getting better and better everyday, she still believes the subjective case and the objective case are the most difficult parts when learning Korean. Before transferring to DongGuk university from her Chinese university, she spent six months in the Center for Korean Language Education in DGU.
Following questions are for the interview with Deng Jing.
The post: What made you come to Korea?
Deng Jing: When I was in China, a Korean family lived in my neighborhood. I came to know that family thanks to my mother. After being acquainted with that family, I spent my time with the kids in that family. There were two kids, who were five years and seven years old. Fortunately, the family could speak Chinese very well, so there was no problem making myself understood. By playing with the kids, I became curious about Korea and its language. That was the year 2000. From then on, I dreamed of coming to Korea. However, I had to study for my college entrance exam. So I had to put off studying Korean and studied for the college entrance exam. After I entered a university in China I told my mother that I wanted to go to Korea. However my mother said I could not go to Korea by myself. She was so concerned about me. Then one of my friends I met on the Internet helped me come to Korea. She helped me to persuade my mother and study Korean in depth. So after a temporary absence from school, I came to Korea. That happened in November 2004.
The Post: Is there any special reason you chose DGU and international trade as your major?
Deng Jing: The Chinese friend who helped me come to Korea was also a DGU student majoring in international trade just like me. So I chose DGU as my school among many universities in Korea. In fact I was a computer engineering major in China. I changed my major at DGU. I changed my major because I want to be a translator in the future. Especially my interest is in business and trade. Moreover, there are more and more interrelationship between Korea and China these days. So I believe my choice was good. Also I heard from a friend of mine that DGU supports international major intently.
The Post: You also have a part-time job. Is that work related to your future career?
Deng Jing: Absolutely. It is closely related. My work is to translate Chinese into Korean or vise versa. I chose my current part-time job because, as I said before, I would like to become a translator. My part-time job helps me a lot both for my future career and improving my Korean. I am very satisfied with my work. Even though I sometimes feel tired to do both a part-time job and my school work, I think it is fruitful. Also by doing work, I do not have to ask for money to my parents. I want to show them that I can support myself in Korea. So the work I am doing gives me several advantages.
The Post: Was there any memorable moment while in DU?
Deng Jing: Good memory? Actually last semester I took a major course in international trade. The problem was that professor did not use a textbook. He just explained the terminology of the international trade and lectured. To me it was the most difficult class. Other students were all Koreans so they did not seem to have any difficulty taking notes and responding to the professor's question even though there was no textbook used. I could not really keep up with the speed of professor's talking and so it took a long time to write down the notes and study for exams. Fortunately, there was a Korean friend in that class who helped me follow the class. If it had not been for her help, I could not have gotten a passing grade. I want to say thank you to the student and I am afraid I might have that kind of professor next semester. (Laugh)
The Post: How often do you go to China? Have you ever felt homesick?
Deng Jing: I go to China every New Years Day. So that happens once a year. Of course, I really miss my family. As I told you my parents are worried about me because I am their only daughter. In 2005 I spent New Years Day in Korea alone, which was the most lonely New Years Day I have ever had. In China the streets are more crowded in New Years Day than normal days. But in Korea, all the stores are closed in New Years Day so streets are empty, which made me feel more lonely. Now I am planning to invite my parents this summer or when I graduate from DU. I really want to show my parents where I studied and played. I think they will feel better if they see my school and friends.
The Post: Are there any differences in college life styles between Korean university and China university?
Deng Jing: Drinking habits! That is the big difference in college life between the two countries. In China students do not drink that much or often. However in Korea, students drink very much and very often. Another difference would be taking trips while in school. In Korea there are many orientations and field trips with their colleagues. However, in China since all the students are living in dormitory they do not have to go to special field trips such as OTs and MTs.
The Post: Then, are there any common college life styles between Korean university and China university?
Deng Jing: Job employment. These days both Korean and Chinese students are suffering from high unemployment rates. I think there are three reasons for that. Above all, all the graduates want to go to so called 'global enterprises' or prominent companies. However, there are limited places in such companies. This situation is happening not only in Korea but also in China. And also China will hold 2008 Beijing Olympics. After the Olympics, China will be more open to the world and therefore Chinese companies are seeking for more 'global leaders'. So employers will demand more competent employees than ever before. I guess people who are not making themselves ready for the employment would face more difficulty in getting that kind of jobs than they had expected.
The Post: Do you miss your college days in China?
Deng Jing: Sometimes. (Laugh) As I said before all the students in China are living in dormitory. Therefore, students chat all night long. I had 3 other room mates when I was in China. We usually talk about hot guys, new restaurants, fashion styles and the topics girls usually have. To me it is very good memory because I do not live in dormitory in DU.
The Post: As a foreign student what aspects do you think DGU has to improve?
Deng Jing: It is sometimes very hard to make friends with students even in the same major. For example, suppose there are 50 students in international major. Among them I only know less than 10 students. So I hope DGU will help foreign students to get along well with other Korean students by supporting club activities or other ways. But overall I like my life in DGU and I am satisfied with my school.
You Sunhee email@example.com
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