Summer -- usually a time for extended vacations and relaxing. However, In Korea, a new phenomena -- International Summer School (ISS) is changing how students spend this time. In years past, summer school in Korea usually meant Korean language and culture programs designed for overseas ethnic Korean youth to learn about their ancestral homeland. Now, the summer schools have evolved into comprehensive international programs that offer a variety of courses such as Conflict Resolution, Capitalism and Social Conscience, Marketing and Consumer Behavior in East Asia --- all taught in English. Students from places such as China, France, Malaysia, and the USA are now coming to Korea to take these courses instead of in their home countries. Korean students also attend in order to study with their international peers and sharpen their English.
The programs in Seoul are booming in enrollment. Last summer, Hanyang University reported hosting more than 800 students. The popularity of the ISS programs in the capital has made regional Korean universities take notice. More and more are creating their own summer programs. Cheonbuk National University (CBNU) in Jeonju ("The Best Taste City In Korea") is one such institution.
Why Study in the Summer in Korea?
Ellie (Korea): I can improve my English and learn about other cultures in ISS and it’s better than going to a Hagwon (학원: private cram school). I am not sure of my long-term plans, but in the immediate future, I plan to go to the USA on a working holiday. After that I will decide what I want to do.
Good Job (Korea): It is a challenge for me to try to use English and I can meet people from other countries. I would like to be a motivational public speaker in the future. So, attending ISS can help me with my communication skills.
Vii (Taiwan): I became interested in Korea from watching dramas and I liked the way the language sounded. This was a precious chance for me to come to live, and not just travel, in a foreign culture and make friends. If I didn’t come here, I would be doing an internship in Taiwan; I like this better. Also, in the future, I plan to teach Chinese to foreigners (Koreans or Americans) so it is good for me to study a second and third language like Korean and English.
Young (Korea): Next year, I will be going to the Korean Army Academy at Yeongcheon, Gyeongsanbuk-do (육군3사관학교) and I want to improve my English for the advancement of my future career and also meet people from other countries.
Kim (Guam/USA): I became interested in Korea by watching Korean tv dramas when I was in high school and then through Korean friends I met at the University of Guam. So, I started studying Korean in Guam and decided this would be a great chance to know more about Korea though first-hand experience. I also received a scholarship. In the future, I would like to be a nurse, and knowing about other cultures will help me. I will be able to speak to Korean patients since we are getting a lot more visitors from Korea to Guam.
Minong (Korea): I studied in ISS last year and had a great time. I will go study for one semester in the USA and studying in ISS will help me prepare for that. Also, I plan to have my own school in the future so knowing about other cultures will help me.
River (China): My friends in China are crazy about Korea – dramas, music, tv shows, and fashion. So, they influenced me to come to Korea. Our university in China had a relationship with CBNU so I decided to come here. I want to be a translator for technical languages (engineering) in the future, so I would like to know Korean, English and German. I plan to study in Germany and maybe in the U.S. in the future.
CBNU also has a unique population in its ISS enrollment: The non-traditional student from the USA.
A More Experienced Point of View
Anne and Frank, from Boise Idaho, decided to join the CBNU ISS program after hearing about it from a friend who attended last summer. Both registered for the program through Boise State University, a sister school of CBNU.
Frank has had a lifelong interest in East Asia, having spent time in Japan during his undergraduate days. Anne also has an interest in East and Southeast Asia from her undergraduate courses in Asian history. She also works for the VA hospital in Boise and has heard many stories from returned veterans from Asia.
They have enjoyed their CBNU classes, the friendliness of the Korean people, and the rapport they developed with students from the different cultures. They also appreciate the deference and politeness shown to the "chronologically gifted." Both relished the opportunity to spend an extended period of time in Korea and would recommend the program to others.
In sum, one can only be impressed by the creativity of Korean universities to design programs that bring young people from across the world to Korea for study during their vacation time. These efforts are further contributing to the cultural diversity that one now sees in Korea and helps to create more "Friends of Korea." To take a closer look at ISS 2014 at CBNU , check out the following scenes:
What About Summer Study in the USA?
While all this activity is occurring in Korea in the summer, what is happening across the Pacific in the USA?
America has long been an attractive place for Korean students to further their studies. Some 70,000 Korean students study in the U.S. according to statistics by the Institute of International Education (IIE). While the number of American students studying in Korea is quite modest in comparison -- it is increasing to 2,600 in 2011 -- and this figure does not include students coming for summer study.
As in Korea, many American universities host summer study programs for international students. These programs can include language and academic-oriented classes. Most popular are universities located in major population centers such as Boston, L.A. and New York. However, universities in the "fly over" states ------>
are also getting into the picture.
For example, Ohio University, located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains is hosting Fulbright Scholars, Brazilian government-sponsored students, and high schools students from Japan, America, and Italy. So, why do these students choose to come to study in the USA during their summer vacation time? Let's get a young perspective and ask some Japanese and American high school students:
Why did you decide to come study in the USA?
What would you like to do in the future?
Would you like to study in Korea in the future during the summer?
Korean Students in USA/ USA Students in Korea
Why Study in the Summer in the USA?
Anna (Japan): I love all the activities. I liked volunteering to make food at the community dinner and visiting the home for the elderly. I really want to improve my English and make friends. In the future I would like to teach Japanese as a second language. Of course, I am interested in the Korean language, too. So, I would love to go there and study.
Tomohiro (Japan): I would like to be a tour guide in the future and take people to unusual, exotic places. So, I came here to sharpen my English skills and meet American students. I like to study and really enjoyed visiting Niagara Falls. I'd go to Korea, too.
Madelin (USA): i enjoy study Japanese so I wanted to come and make friends with Japanese students. I have enjoyed talking with them, sharing interests, discussing things we like and dislike. In the future, I might want to work with anime. I would love to go study in Korea in the future, too. I have some relatives who are Korean and I would love to be able to speak with them in Korean!
Caitie (USA): I love being here. The students are very welcoming. I love to practice speaking Japanese. I'd like to be a translator in the future and maybe live in Japan. I'd love to go study in Korea, too.
These students are experiencing a great deal as they interact with community members in Ohio and with other students and scholars from across the world. Here is a sample of an Ohio summer:
Feel free to leave a comment above or take our FOK ISS Survey. Enjoy the remaining summer days.