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Student Exchange Program

[Editor's Note]
"The United States was attacked by terrorism. We may think this faraway attack matters little to us. However, let's suppose that a victim in the World Trade Center (WTC) knows your cousin who lives in New York. People on this earth are connected in this way. This is a human network. And here is a small network between Korea and Japan." This is how Professor Hinkelmann, who accompanied ten Japanese students to Korea, explained the cultural exchange between Dongguk Univ. (DU) and Sapporo Gakuin Univ. (SGU) before the ten SGU students gave a presentation about their campus life on September. 12. "The WTC terrorism showed us that military power cannot play a key role anymore in international exchange between nations. Now, it is more important to understand each other through cultural exchange. In this sense, cultural exchange between DU and SGU is a small springboard to understanding between Koreans and Japanese."
His remark highlighted the importance of international exchange. No matter how important international exchange is, it will be useless if students don't know that DU has an international exchange program with SGU. And I want to report on other exchange programs at DU and how to participate in them.
This Cover Story will give you information on how to join DU's international exchange programs through two interviews and one essay.

[Part I]
After DU started its first international exchange program with Maine Univ. in America in 1975, we then set up sisterhood relationships with 50 universities in 14 countries.
DU's international programs include Professor Exchange, Student Exchange and Joint Auspices of International Academic Forum. Among them, Student Exchange consists of Studying Abroad as an Exchange Student, Short-term Language Study Abroad and Cultural Exchange.

□ Studying Abroad as an Exchange Student
This program gives undergraduates a chance to study abroad at sister universities as an exchange student for one year. The International Relations Center collects applicantions and selects exchange students at the beginning of each semester. Students can apply for this program in March or September. Selected students are usually sent to America, Japanese and Chinese universities.
Only junior and senior undergraduates, who completed over 15 units and have over a 3.0 average, can apply for this program. Five students are selected among the applicants through grades (25 percent), language tests (25 percent) and interviews (50 percent). An applicant must score over 600 points in the JPT (Japanese Proficiency Test) and over 6 grades in HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi), a Chinese proficiency test for foreigners. This helps students who want to go to Japanese or Chinese universities gain additional points in language test. However, over 500 points in TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is a basic requirement for students who want to study at American universities.
The merit of this program is that students can take courses at universities abroad that are acceptable at DU. However, exchange students should pay their tuition to DU in order to stay enrolled at DU while studying abroad. Scholarship students can be granted a 35 percent reduction of tuition.
The cost of studying abroad for a year depends on each foreign university. Japanese universities generally offer exchange students exemption from school fees and some scholarship money. But exchange students at American and Chinese universities study at their own expense including boarding expenses.

□ Short-term Language Study Abroad
This program offer students (including students on leave of absence) a chance to study language abroad for six weeks during vacations. There's no special qualifications required for applying. However, all sorts of expenses are imposed on participants.
DU students can currently take only Chinese language courses at Shanghai Teachers Univ. (STU) and must apply in April. Although Univ. of Regensburg in Germany opened a language course for DU student, it is hard to take the course due to conflict between the dates of the two schools semesters.

□ Cultural Exchange
The program aims at better understanding different cultures and is based on mutual visits by students. During their summer vacation, ten DU students visit a foreign university and take part in weeklong programs that are prepared by the host students and vice versa.
DU's cultural exchange with SGU is in its 2nd year and consists of student exchange activities in English, three-day homestay, seminars and forums about Korean and Japanese culture and sightseeing.
DU selects ten applicants through interviews in May. Students who were enrolled over five semesters and have above a 3.0 average can be student delegates representing DU.
Basically, students participate in this program at their own expense, but DU gives them some financial support.

[Part II]
The following two interviews will gives you practical information about DU's student exchange programs......Ed.

□ Studying Abroad as an Exchange Student
Interview with Kim Hyun-woo, senior in the Dept. of International Trade, who studied at Michigan State Univ. (MSU) as an exchange student in 2000.

Post: How did you prepare for going to MSU?
Kim: Getting a passport and visa to America were most important, and it was easy with help from DU. The problem was, however, that DU didn't offer information about MSU. So I visited MSU's website (http://www.msu.edu) and got the information -- tuition fees, all kinds of dormitories and their costs, club activities and medical insurance fees -- that I needed for MSU.

Post: How did you spend your time at MSU?
Kim: I was always busy. I was dedicated to studying my major while taking economic classes. However, I had to work part-time because staying in America cost lots of money. MSU offers various kinds of part-time jobs for students, so I was able to pay my tuition fee through a part-time job.

Post: How much did it cost to study at MSU?
Kim: As you know, there was no financial support from DU. I paid 30 percent of tuition fees to DU to keep my registration as a DU student, and I also had to pay MSU its fees.
The way of paying tuition fees to MSU is different from DU's in that you have to pay according to the number of credits you take. It costs about 230 dollars per one credit. Actually, you need about 2,800 dollars at least because the minimum number credits you should take is 12.
And MSU's dormitory charges are usually from one thousand to three thousand dollars, depending on the services you choose.

Post: Please give some advice to students who want to go to MSU as exchange students.
Kim: Get information through the Internet before going to MSU. And decide what you really want to focus on studying: your major, social and club activities, or improving your language proficiency.

□ Short-term Language Study Abroad
Interview with Lim Mi-wha, senior student in the Dept. of International Trade, who studied at STU as a participant in Short-term Language Study Abroad during summer vacation of 2000.

Post: Tell us about the Chinese language study program at STU.
Lim: First of all, this program consists of classes for beginners and for the advanced students. On the first day of this program, students are divided into two groups for each class after meeting with STU professors. However, students can change classes if they like.
Students can determine the size of classes as well. When I went to STU with otehr DU students, there were lots of students from other Korean universities, which resulted in bigger classes. However, the 16 DU students were allowed to organize our own class.
The classes are given from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., focusing on speaking and reading. Thus, students can have free time after 12 p.m.

Post: I understand that students pay the entire cost of participating in this program.
Lim: Yes. Students have to pay registration fees, tuition fees and accommodation charges themselves. The registration fees and tuition fees are about 570,000 won, that's relatively cheap. Although students can stay in a private house in China, I used STU's dormitory for foreign students. The charges depend on which floor you want to stay on because each floor has different accommodations. I paid about 300,000 won for staying in the dormitory. I spent about two million won while studying Chinese at STU.

Post: Do you think this program helped you improve your Chinese proficiency?
Lim: Yes, but I dont' believe that this six-week program will result in you speaking Chinese fluently. However, I got precious experience as a result of my effort to understand Chinese culture rather than dedicating only to study Chinese.
Just going to classes did not give me lots of chances to meet Chinese students because the classes were filled with Korean students. Moreover, Shanghai students were on their vacation. However, I tried to make Chinese friends through some Korean students already living in China. Hanging out with them helped me somewhat understand college life in contemporary China.
At the same time, I did various sightseeing in China after school and on weekends. Even though STU offered touring programs to Korean students, I toured alone because the school's program for foreign students were expensive and took away my chances to meet Chinese on my own.

Post: Please give some advice to students who want to participate in this program.
Lim: I don't think that students have to be immersed in studying a language. Short-term language study is basically a preliminary stage for long-term living and studying abroad. The question you should ask yourself is: Can I adapt to this new culture and environment? That's why I put greater importance on meeting Chinese and travelling around China.

Choi Jong-taek  feeling9@dgu.edu

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