In the corner of your mind, you might think you want to be a friend with a foreigner. If you have had this kind of hope once, there is good news for you. The University of Seoul (UOS) supports the International Summer School (ISS)! Every summer vacation, a great number of UOS students aspire to participate in this program. However, many UOS students barely know the existence of the ISS. After hearing personal experiences from Cho Seung-hee and Chio Eun-young (International Relations, Sophomore), you can get specific information about the ISS. As well as the UOS Buddy program that is executed every semester, each Korean student manages to meet one international student in the ISS. However, the difference between the ISS program and the UOS Buddy is that availability whether Korean students can live in a dormitory with international students or not. Therefore, living together made it easier to create intimacy with each other.
Firstly, they were interviewed to join in the ISS with several students per room. To be a member of it, certification of semester scores and language are needed. Do not be afraid of this! The most important thing to pass the steps to be a member of the ISS is showing that you are a passionate and responsible person. It is because the goal of the ISS is to communicate and carry out cultural exchanges between Korean and international people, sociability and responsibility are more vital than language skill.
If you are capable of expressing basic things, you can have a chance!
Finally, they became UOS Buddies! When their buddies had to take classes that were open for international students (International students should take classes from 9am to 3pm), Korean students had free time. Seung-hee and Eun-young pointed it out as one of the advantages of the program. Seung-hee had a part-time job during summer vacation. Although they participated in the ISS, they could handle their personal things. And, there were many activities such as a field trip and cultural activity. Eun-young was impressed to visit Blue House, the Korean presidential residence. Although we live in Korea, there are not a lot of chances to see how the President lives and manages things. However, she learned about that by participating in this program. An explanation about Blue House is first explained by a presenter and then it was translated to English.
There are two precious things one can get through the ISS. The first is advancement of English language skill. Although Seung-hee has been interested in being friends with foreigners (she would go to the cafe S in the university), this program is the best place to do this. When she went on a field trip with her buddy, Seung-hee mainly got along with a Canadian friend. While chatting with a foreigner, she used to translate Korean to English in her head. So, there was little time to talk with each other. However, in the ISS she did not feel any burden to speak English because she just chatted with her friend.
Also, the ISS is a time for them to understand each country’s unique culture. One memorable subject of conversation is the unique expressions in Korean. Their foreigner friends marveled that Korean has a great number of onomatopoeic and mimetic words. There is even an onomatopoeic word to express picking one’s nose, “Hubijeok hubijeok(후비적 후비적).” Her Canadian friend had interesting time learning about these kind of Korean word.
The ISS is the most suitable chance to meet a foreign peer group. They still communicate with each other through Facebook. Thanks to the internet, they continue to be familiar with each other. If you have ever wanted to become friends with an foreign friend, use a university program like ISS, GEP and so on. You already have many opportunities.