Tips for spending a year abroad
Tips for spending a year abroad
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  • 승인 2007.06.01 00:00
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▲ Park Seo-young peses with her foreign friends in a dinner party.Park is currently studying at Nottingham University in United kingdom as an exchange student.

       Studying abroad as an exchange student can be the chance of a lifetime. But getting through the selection process at Ewha can be tough, and even after they selected, some exchange students experience unanticipated problems. Students who have studied, are currently studying, and are going to study in foreign countries as exchange students gave the Ewha Voice some tips on getting prepared.

      Ham Ji-ah (Business Administration, 4) who has studied at New York University for fall 2005 to spring 2006, says that knowing the application process thoroughly is important. Then decide how you are going to study for the TOEFL, how much time you will allot to studying, and when you will take the exam. She adds that it is helpful to know why you want to go to the university you chose in order to prepare for the interview. The interview question she got was “How will you contribute to Ewha by studying abroad?” and she answered about the benefits she could contribute in long-run rather than in short-run.

      Kim Ha-neul (English, 3) who is going to West Virginia Wesleyan College this summer was asked the same question in her interview and she says that she succeeded in making the interviewers laugh. Kim first responded “Do you know people in Bulgaria shake their heads to say yes?” with a gesture shaking her head from side to side. Then she explained her experience in the U.S. participating in a Work & Travel program where she made a club with French, Spanish, Russian, and Bulgarian friends who each taught each other about their culture. Her recipe for success in the interview was grabbing her listeners’ attention with an interesting opening for reply.

      Kim Keun-young (International Studies, 3) is going to in the Netherlands  this summer, says that she decided to go to the University of Groningen because the curriculum matched well with her major and she also wanted to go somewhere unfamiliar. Kim comments, “People tend to go to schools in the U.S., but I think what’s important is to choose the school that suits your purpose of studying abroad best, whether it is traveling, making foreign friends, or improving your language skill.”

      Park Soe-young (English, 2), who is now studying at Nottingham University in England, corrects the illusion that studying abroad will automatically boost your English skill. Park says that coming as an exchange student is more a way of testing how much progress you have made in studying English so far. Park says that only if you are really ready will you be able to get along with foreign friends and follow your classes.

      Bae Eun-mi (Chinese, ’07) who was at Beijing Normal University from  fall 2005 to spring 2006 says that, if students are willing to go to China to study, the door is wide open because there is always a shortage of students applying for Chinese universities. If you want to be exempted from the written test to apply to Chinese universities, however, you have to score above level six on the HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi). At first, Bae didn’t get a good score because she took the test with no preparation because she had no information about the written exam. For her interview, however, Bae got information from students who had passed the selection exam and also took advantage of the website, made a script for her interview, and memorized it.

      Lee Sun-min (International Studies, ’07), who was at the Univiersité de la Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris III from  fall 2005 to  spring 2006, says she applied for a French school because she wanted to both experience a new culture and improve her French. Having lived in the U.S. for a long time in her childhood, Lee wanted to spend a year in a place she had never lived before.

      The biggest problem Lee had as an exchange student was transferring credits after coming back to Ewha. As she was planning to minor in European studies, she got a list of courses she could get credit for from the dean before leaving. But when she came back the new dean had changed and refused to give her credit for some of the classes she took. In order to graduate, she had to give up her minor in European studies. So, Lee advises, “Asking the dean to approve classes before leaving may be a good idea, but it may not be the solution to all problems. Students should always keep in mind that they run the risk of not being able to transfer credits once they come back.”

      Despite the troubles Lee went through, she encourages Ewha students to challenge themselves. “Try out for the exchange student program, not just to countries you are familiar with, but also to countries you only vaguely know about. There is no need to worry about failing the selection exams even before you try. Believe me, there will be a way to solve every problem, and you’ll have the experience of a lifetime!”



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