This is my final paper for the midterm exam. I have a total of three drafts before this one, but I decided (of course) to put this one seeing as this is the final one. So…here it is. It’s about the difficulties that the international students here have during their stay in Korea.
The Life of Foreign Students
Sitting here in front of my laptop, trying to write something wonderful while watching the cursor blink on an empty page, I suddenly think that studying in DongSeo University (DSU) is so different from studying back home. There are many things here that I cannot find in my home country. All of them are great experiences, but they came with several difficulties at the beginning. Apparently, a lot of my fellow international students here in DSU also feel the same way. In some situations, they find adapting to the new way of studying, living, and behaving are a bit tough. Of course, most of them think that language is the main problem. However, there are some other difficulties that they find including the landscape of DSU which is uphill, and the fact that almost all the websites here are in Korean. Through my interview with the other international students, I realized that it was an eye-opening experience to hear their true feeling about the difficulties of studying in DSU.
It is common knowledge that the language barrier happen everywhere in the world. It is especially true if people are planning to stay for a long time. For DSU’s international students, the shortest time span of study is approximately three to four months, while others may even stay up to four years. Therefore, the language barrier is something that needs to be overcome quickly.
It is true that in DSU, there is a Korean class provided by the university to teach all of the foreign students to speak Korean. When asked about this Korean class, a fellow student stated, ”It’s driving me crazy!” Why does a class designed to help foreigner learn the language, is in fact make people go crazy? It is because the teacher cannot speak English, and that English is forbidden in the class. While they all acknowledge that it is an effective way of learning a language, almost all of the students taking the class complained because they cannot fully understand what the teacher is talking about. Therefore, language barrier is not only preventing the foreign students from communicating with people on campus, but also making it hard for them to even learn the language itself.
Another aspect of the language barrier that becomes a problem is the written language. The fact that everything here is written in Korean is an obstacle for the international students. Starting from the sign on the road until the language used in the websites, including the website used to register classes in DSU, are all in Korean. This proves to be a problem because as I mentioned before, most of the international students cannot speak Korean, so they need to rely on someone else to interpret the things on the website. More than two people I interviewed stated that they feel burdened with the fact that the websites used for class registration are all in Korean. They feel uncomfortable with the fact and it becomes another difficulty in their campus life here. “Most of the websites don’t have English version making it difficult to register for classes or get any info from them,” said one of the international students from China. From his statement, it is obvious that even if it seems like a small matter, it is actually not. Some people really feel troubled by this problem. It needs to be resolved seeing as it is kind of a handicap for foreign students.
Another thing is the fact that DSU is located on the foot hills. Most of them have never encountered a school with this kind of geographic position before. This situation is especially hard for the Indonesian and Philippine students, seeing as almost all of their schools are on flat lands. They were amazed seeing the landscape of DSU when they came here for the first time. Moreover, when they need to go to the International Exchange Center in building number one, they need to face the steep road to get there. One of the Indonesian students said that he feels lazy to climb up the hill just to get to classes. Another said that it is an extremely tiring trip up the hill, just because they need to ask or confirm something in the International Exchange Center. It is true that after some time, they are starting to adapt to the landscape, but at first, it was torturous for them, because everywhere they go, they will find another steep road waiting for them.
Now as I am seeing my paper filled with words, I come to think again about all these difficulties that my friends seem to be having throughout their stay here in DSU. Some look like small insignificant things, but for some, they are major. Some I can relate to such as the language barrier and the steep roads on campus. Yet, overall, despite all the complaints, and typical difficulties in the beginning, these are the things that make studying in DSU deserve to be remembered as a memory of a lifetime.
So, what do you think??? ^^