Although South Korea is a developed country and income levels are high, prices of West European countries and the United States are burdensome to South Koreans. Nevertheless, West European countries and the United States are preferred regions for Korean exchange students. As there are more and more students of the University of Seoul (UOS) who are willing to be exchange students, concerns about financials deepens. So The UOS Times will introduce a good program, which can alleviate the financial burden of students who want to be exchange students. Also, we will inform readers how to prepare for that program. The UOS Times interviewed a student who studied at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).
Introduction of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Virginia Tech’s Football Team
Virginia Tech is located in Blacksburg, Virginia in the United States. Virginia Tech was established in 1872 and originated from Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College. Virginia Tech has more than 30,000 students and 1,400 faculties. It is ranked as one of the top 20 universities among state universities of the United States. As the name of the university shows, Virginia Tech specializes in engineering. Engineering is one of the strengths that Virginia Tech has and in the branch of architecture this university competes for the top rank of architecture in the United States. Besides engineering and architecture, business administration is another strength of Virginia Tech.
As the number of UOS students who go to the United States as exchange students increases, they are not particularly inclined to go to Virginia State. Choi Young-eun (School of Business Administration, ’15), a former exchange student of Virginia Tech said that she wanted to improve her English speaking, so she chose Virginia Tech where there are very few Korean students. According to Choi, the surroundings of Virginia Tech are very rural, so transportation around there is somewhat uncomfortable and it takes a long time to get to the downtown area of Virginia State. She also added that Blacksburg is equal to Virginia Tech’s village in that it is a deserted town during school vacations because most students live in the university’s dormitory only during their semesters.
Let Us Talk About an International Student Exchange Program (ISEP)
Price levels of the United States are higher than any other developed countries like Japan, France, and the United Kingdom. Most Korean students think of this as a burden of being an exchange student in the United States. Besides entertainment expenses, which are not necessary for studying abroad, food expenses and housing expenses are burdensome to Korean students. Choi said that she could alleviate these burdens by utilizing ISEP. ISEP is a program which supports food expenses and housing expenses of exchange students. UOS is one of the universities affiliated with ISEP. If you want to be an exchange student in the United States, applying for ISEP is a beneficial option. ISEP requires some verification about the applicants’ will of study. It requires a letter of self-introduction through which applicants should explain the appropriateness of financial aids, personal details report, passport, and letters of recommendation from the student’s university. Choi remarked that preparing and submitting these documents is time-consuming, so ISEP students usually arrive in their chosen foreign country about a month later than other non-ISEP students. If you are selected as an ISEP student, you should fill out the first blank of your hopeful university as ‘ISEP’ when you apply for an exchange student through the administration information system of UOS.
Life in Virginia Tech
Choi said that Virginia Tech produces diverse food for students and it tasted very good. The joyfulness of eating is one of the satisfactory factors in Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech hold an event named “The Big Event” which is similar to voluntary activities in Korea for rural communities. Students of Virginia Tech support the rural communities, which require a lot of aid from others. The regional community of Blacksburg provides meals and snacks to poorer students. Through this program, students familiarize themselves with the service spirit to the regional community.
Culture of Virginia Tech
Snowy Weather of Virginia Tech
There are many interesting programs in aspects of culture. Students of Virginia Tech hold a riff off, which is an event competing for the top a cappella team among four or five a-cappella teams. Also Virginia Tech is proud of its football team. Especially, Virginia Tech students think of University of Virginia (UV) as their rival. For this reason, the football game between Virginia Tech and UV is so enthusiastic and important to students of these universities. Virginia Tech also has diverse programs in its dormitory and students hang out with each other like family through these programs. Choi introduced an interesting experience that occurred because of Blacksburg’s weather condition. Blacksburg sometimes has snowy weather. For this reason, Virginia Tech sometimes pauses its schedule and students enjoy this situation and have snowball fights.
Advice to Future Virginia Tech Exchange Students of UOS
Choi said “The weather changes very fast, so there are four seasons during one semester. If you plan to be an exchange student of Virginia Tech, you had better prepare all sorts of clothes. Although there are many programs for helping foreign students, adaption to Virginia Tech is up to how affectionately you hang out with your friends who came from other countries.” She also added, “You should have an ability to endure Virginia Tech’s unfamiliar environment where there are not so many Asian students. Good luck!”