Due to the school’s policy, “Christianity and the World” and “Korean Language and Writing” are two compulsory classes which must be taken before graduation. Both of these classes are conducted in Korean and as a result, stduents who spent time overseas for a long time like myself find it hard to follow the course and cope with.
After taking “Christianity and the World” last semester, I found myself having difficulty trying to grasp the concept of the course during the semester. For this reason, I started worrying about the Korean Language and Writing class which is running now, in the fall semester. I tried looking for solutions and eventually ended up calling the Office of Register. After a long conversation through the phone explaining about the problems and difficulties I am going through, the office told me to call the office of the department of Korean Language and Literature, saying that the issue was not something they could manage.
I got to speak to one of the teacher’s assistants at the office. At first, she listened to my problems, and later asked if I called because I thought the school policy was unfair for students like me. She also mentioned that I was good with speaking Korean and that she could not find a reason to why I was complaining.
I felt uncomfortable talking to her because, for one, she seemed annoyed. Additionally, not only was I shocked by her response, but I was also surprised by how selfish she was for being unable to understand and not being considerate of the situation I was under. It is hard to score a good GPA when overseas students have to compete with a large percentage of domestic Korean students in a class focused on Korean language skills.
Simply put, my question is: “How are we supposed to compete with domestic Korean students in a Korean language class when we have never been educated in Korean, while they have been doing so since young?”
Having talked through this issue with my friends, we came up with three possible solutions that could put us at ease.
The first solution we came up was to give overseas Korean students permission to take classes with international students. In the cases of students majoring in International Studies, they are given advantages with relatively easier assignments and exams.
The second solution was to give overseas students exams that could classify them by different levels. Sogang University also has a compulsory Korean language course, but overseas Korean students are assigned to classes based on their individual Korean ability test results. I think this is fair because the class is formed of students with similar Korean ability.
Lastly, the third solution was to assign a specific professor or advisor who could help the overseas Korean students. Having adult supervision where we can ask for advice, or simply have someone who can understand our situation and support us would be a great difference.
Rather than simply acknowledging the problem, I would like to see the school actively find a solution that could help the students enjoy their school life.
♦The writer’s view in this section can be different from Ewha Voice’s view.