Have you hesitated to apply for the Student Exchange Program (SEP)? SEP is a very good opportunity for you to improve your language skills. Of course, it is also a great experience. To make your decision easier, we will introduce one of our partner universities by interviewing Park Soo-jin (Department of English Language and Literature, 09’) who studied at Beijing Union University (BUU) last semester.
Soo-jin said she originally wanted to study at BUU for one full year, but she had to prepare for her Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK - Test for using Chinese fluently) test. She said she learned many things thanks to BUU. Before she went, she researched that if she went to BUU, there would be a chance to interact with many different kinds of people, and enjoy many attractions because BUU is located in Beijing. After she arrived in Beijing, she was surprised that BUU and the University of Seoul had such a strong connection through SEP. BUU even picked her and other exchange students up from the airport. Also, Korean students had their own professor at BUU who took good care of the students.
She said she studied Chinese at BUU because she thought being good at Chinese would be beneficial to her future. She studied in the class of level two and it was helpful for the HSK test. She said BUU has five levels of classes and it is divided depending on students’ level test results. The level test is composed of writing, listening and speaking Chinese, such as reading a text or explaining what they see in a picture. Unfortunately, she was disappointed a bit because although the campus was very big and wide, she had very few chances to meet real Chinese students at BUU.
She did, however, meet many diverse people and travelled to so many places that she cannot remember everything about them. Wangjing was the most memorable place because it was a Korean town in Beijing. That place was impressive due to the variety of food available there. Her classes started at 8:10 a.m. and ended at 11:30 a.m. Because of her generous schedule, she went sightseeing a lot during her first month there. However, having thought she had visited all the main attractions in Beijing; she started to study more in her free time. Her friends tended to do the same.
How has her SEP experience affected her? She said her vision of the world widened thanks to SEP. She had previously studied in Canada and U.S.A., but she said studying in China was a fresher and more useful experience for her. She recommends studying at BUU but warns all students to be careful about their health because the tap water in many homes is lime water.
These days she recommends students to study at BUU through SEP. She said, "Language ability is important, but if you can only speak basic Chinese conversations, you do not have to worry too much and you should have a more enthusiastic attitude for everything." She regrets her passive attitude at BUU. She said if you endeavor to meet Chinese students or speak Chinese, you can improve your language ability. Lastly, she cautioned about taking care of your health.
As you can see above, SEP is a chance to widen your vision and provide an unforgettable experience. There are many partner universities all over the world, not just BUU. If you want to learn about these other universities, or even BUU, you can find information easily on the Institute of International Cooperation and Education’s website; (http://kiice.uos.ac.kr). On their website, you can get SEP reports and other helpful information. Or just call 02)2210-5058 and ask about anything you are curious about regarding the program. Seize this great opportunity!