A year has passed since Ewha admitted its first batch of students for Ewha Global Partnership Program (EGPP), which offers scholarships to talented female students from developing nations. Now, these students are expected to be proficient enough in Korean to take regular classes with other Ewha students.
In their first year, students were assigned to Korean classes for three hours in the morning and had the option to take classes conducted in English in the afternoon. Starting from their second year, EGPP students must fulfill the same requirements as others in their majors to graduate. Since there are not enough classes taught in English they must take classes in Korean. However, many say they are having a hard time getting adjusted to their courses.
“Classes offered by our majors are so demanding for us,” says Tachaporn Wajasath (Television & Film, 2). “It is difficult for EGPP students to completely adjust to this new atmosphere. I think I can only understand about 50 percent of what the professor is saying and that is through the words that I catch rather than the sentence as a whole.”
Other EGPP students are having similar problems. Nguyen Thanh Cam (Advertising & PR, 2) said, “It is difficult if you do not have close friends in your class because there is no one to ask for help with the lessons that you cannot catch during class. My mentor takes a class with me and she said that she will help me as much as she can. So I am kind of relieved,” said Nguyen. Mentors are Ewha students who have been selected by the Office of Global Affairs to help EGPP students adjust to their new life at Ewha.
Assigned readings and exams are other worries for EGPP students. “There is so much to read after each class. It is essential for us EGPP students to look at the lecture materials beforehand and also go over them after class in order to follow professor’s lectures,” says Veronica Maria (Political Science & Diplomacy, 2). EGPP students are also concerned about the unexpected quizzes that some professors are planning to give during the course. Maria and Nguyen asked professors if they could make the exam questions in English or let them answer the exam questions in English, but were turned down.
“If you are a Korean in a foreign university, the course follows its original curriculum the way it was planned. EGPP students are no different from other Ewha students,” said Professor Hong Jong-phil (Media Studies) who went on to suggest that is would be helpful if the school made EGPP students reach a certain level of Korean proficiency before letting them take regular classes in Korean. When he was a foreign student in a university at the
Ewha is planning to continuously increase the number of courses in English in part with the Global Ewha 2010 Project. “Realistically, the situation of foreign students having problems with Korean classes is the same in all universalities nationwide. The obligation to attend classes in Korean from second grade was stated in the admission manual and I believe that foreign students will gradually start adjusting to their regular classes if they attentively participated in their Korean classes last year,” said Jeannie Choi, the Program Coordinator at the Office of Global Affairs.
Currently, the EGPP students are trying to overcome their problems on their own. Students record lectures or look up words before classes. They try to sit in the front row so that they can concentrate to their fullest. “We cannot lose to miss even a word that the professors say. It is true that we have to study harder than other Ewha students, but this is the major that I chose and these are the courses that I have interest in. If I cannot overcome the situation, at least I have to find a way to cope with it,” said Maria.