by Gerry Krzic (K-41)
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?
Olivier (France): I am interested in East Asia. In France, I had the opportunity to go study in either Korea or Japan on a scholarship. I had some friends who went to Korea and they liked it, so I decided to go to Korea. I am a computer science major, and in the future, I would like to develop software applications. Studying in Korea, which is very high tech, can help me. ISS is a good way to continue my interest 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 Flickinger & Frank Sesek (USA)
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:
Pictures were taken by the staff or students of CBNU or Gerry Krzic.
What About Summer Study in the USA?
Why Study in the Summer in the USA?
Left to Right: Nana Koizumi, Anna Watanabe, Tomohiro Osawa, Madelin Ahren, and Caitie Roach
Nana (Japan): I've enjoyed spending my time here -- having parties with Americans -- I loved the ice cream and dance party. In the future I would like to be a flight attendant so I want to be able to speak English well. I'd like to go to Korea to study, too. That would be fun.
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:
The summer school students in Korea and in the USA are very impressive. They come from across the globe with great interest in learning about other cultures and languages. They are "thinking globally" regarding their future careers. And, have cheerfully participated in service learning projects at "soup kitchens," homes for the elderly, global "pot lucks," home stays with American families, and educational programs for youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. All the while, they are doing it with grace and good will. The opportunities for the global friendships that the summer school programs provide bode well for our planet's future. Many FOK members experienced the same when serving as Peace Corps Volunteers.
Feel free to leave a comment above or take our FOK ISS Survey. Enjoy the remaining summer days.