There has been increasingly large number of international students at numerous universities in Seoul. Among them at the University of Seoul (UOS), many students around the world are invited to study in different sectors. You can easily find a number of competent international students as well as professors on campus who are devoting themselves to UOS. Therefore, The UOS Times gathered information in order to actually find out how many of international students and professors are there who have become a part of the UOS community.
International Undergraduate Students
The first statistics on the left side show the number of international students at UOS. In 2014, there were a total of 435 students with 165 international undergraduate students, 142 language training students, and 128 exchange students. In 2015, there were a total of 412 students with 159 international undergraduate students, 140 language training students, and 113 exchange students. In 2016, there were a total of 490 students with 153 international undergraduate students, 190 language training students, and 147 exchange students. In 2017, there were a total of 510 students with 146 international undergraduate students, 201 language training students, and 163 exchange students. Lastly, in 2018, there were a total of 434 students consisting of 169 international undergraduate students, 129 language training students, and 136 exchange students. Overall, the number of international students varies each year, as is evident in the statistics.
Nationality of International Undergraduate Students
The statistics below show the nationalities of international undergraduate students at UOS. In 2016, there were a total of 490 students from different nationalities, with 151 students from China, having the largest number of students, followed by 76 students from Japan, 53 students from Mongolia, and 48 students from Vietnam. This graph explicates that there are relatively large number of students from Asia who are willing to study at UOS. As for language training students, Japan had the highest number of students, followed by Vietnam, China, and Taiwan. On the other hand, for exchange students, U.S. and Spain ranked third and fourth respectively. Most of these international students had humanities or engineering majors.
IIn 2017, there were a total of 510 students including 124 students from China, which had the highest number of students, followed by 65 students from Japan, 53 students from Vietnam, and 42 students from Mongolia. Besides the students from Asia, there were also those from U.S., Spain and Uzbekistan. As for language training students, Taiwan had the highest number of students, followed by Japan, Vietnam and China. On the other hand, for exchange students, the Netherlands and U.S. ranked second and third respectively. In this year, as well, most of these international undergraduate students had humanities or engineering majors.
In 2018, there were a total of 434 students including 93 students from China, which had the highest number of students, followed by 63 students from Japan, 38 students from Taiwan, and 30 students from Vietnam. In this year, there were not only students from Asia, but also those from Europe, especially from Germany and France. Moreover, the numbers of students from Malaysia and Hong Kong were on the rise. As for language training students, Japan had the highest number of students, followed by Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. On the other hand, for exchange students, U.S., France and Russia ranked second, third and fourth respectively. In this year, as well, most of the international undergraduate students had humanities or engineering majors.
International Graduate Students
The first statistics on the right side show the number of international graduate students at UOS. In 2016, there were a total of 100 students: 74 of them with Bachelor’s degrees, 24 of them with Doctoral degrees, and two of them with Bachelor’s and Doctoral degrees. In 2017, there were a total of 112 students: 83 of them with Bachelor’s degrees, 28 of them with Doctoral degrees, and one of them with Bachelor’s and Doctoral degree. Lastly in 2018, there were a total of 126 students: 95 of them with Bachelor’s degrees and 31 of them with Doctoral degrees.
Nationality of International Graduate Students
The statistics below show the nationalities of international graduate students at UOS. In 2016, there were a total of 100 students including 70 students from China, which had the highest number of students, followed by eight students from Mongolia, five students from Vietnam, and three students from Malaysia. It still can be concluded that there are relatively large number of students from Asia who are willing to continue their studies at UOS. Most of these international graduate students had humanities or engineering majors.
In 2017, there were a total of 112 students including 112 students including 66 students from China, which had the highest number of students, followed by 10 students from Mongolia, five students from India and Vietnam, and three students from Taiwan. In this year, as well, most of these students had humanity or engineering majors.
Lastly in 2018, there were a total of 126 students including 66 students from China, which had the highest number of students, followed by 22 students from Mongolia, four students from Russia, and three students from Taiwan. Again, this year, as well, most of these students had humanity or engineering majors.
However, it was notable that there were also students from Botswana, Armenia, Algeria, and Panama.
As you can tell from those statistics, various types of international students are attending UOS. The UOS Times wondered how each of these international students has adjusted to the life at UOS. So, The UOS Times interviewed three different students: a graduate student, an undergraduate student, and an exchange student.
Why did you choose UOS out of all the universities in Korea?
I chose UOS because it is located right at the center of Seoul, so it makes it convenient to go anywhere in Seoul. Also, the Seoul Mate program let me have many Korean friends and cultural exchanges with Korean students. The Korean students from the Seoul Mate program helped me a lot to adapt to UOS. Also, I love its library. It is open for 24 hours and the first floor is so well-designed that it helps the students study well.
The answers to this question did not differ much among these students. However, when asked if they have any difficulties or problems at UOS, their answers were quite different from one another.
International graduate student
Any difficulties in campus life as a graduate student?
The biggest problem was the language. It was hard to understand the lectures because when I took a class in Korean, I had to do my reports and take the exam in Korean. Also, in my home country, when you are finished with your work for the day, you can go home right away. But in Korea, you usually have to wait until your boss finishes their work. Due to these cultural differences, it was hard for me to adapt to the life here as I am currently working at the lab. Another difficulty in campus life has to do is with the school notifications, which are too complicated to find. A lot of these notifications, particularly on scholarships and dorm applications, can be checked through e-mail or Edu-class, but I hope we would be able to find or receive them more easily.
International undergraduate student
Any difficulties in campus life as an undergraduate student?
UOS provides basic guidance on campus life, but it is still difficult to know the “tips” of campus life. Korean freshmen are usually told tips on campus life by their seniors, but international students are not. When registering for classes online, Korean students would open multiple-internet pages, which make the registering process much easier and successful, knowing the tips they heard from the seniors. However, many international undergraduate students cannot sign up for classes well as they are not really aware of such tips. Therefore, I hope that there will be a place where we can interact with Korean students and other international undergraduate students more on campus.
Any difficulties in campus life as an exchange student?
There is a guidebook with the list of classes that exchange students have to take, and it also explains the level of difficulty of each class. I took a Korean class with my friend which was supposed to be at a basic level as explained in the guidebook, but it was much more difficult than expected. So, my friends and I were very confused when we took the class.
According to the interviews, the students had various difficulties and problems at UOS: from language barriers to the problems with the guidebooks. So, The UOS Times interviewed the vice president of the Institute of International Cooperation and Education (IICE) about such difficulties those international students experience at UOS and about possible solutions as well.
Suggestions about the difficulties
Most of international students claim that the dormitory and those programs to assist international students in general are provided only to exchange students. Is this true? Why do you think they say so?
In case of exchange students, they are studying at UOS through a mutual “exchange program” agreement. So, most of them are students who do not even have basic knowledge of the Korean language, so they get assistance from Korean students through the SeoulMate Program to adjust to school life. However, international students are the ones who properly gained admission to UOS, just like any other Korean students. In other words, exchange students are visitors to UOS, while international students are “regular” UOS students. However, we are trying to understand and resolve the complaints from the international students. So, we have plans to implement the Buddy Program, the one we did in the Department of Korean Language and Literature, with the purpose of triggering active exchanges between both international and Korean students.
In the case of Korean classes taken by exchange students, students said that they feel these classes are much more challenging than what the guidebook explains. We would like to hear IICE’s opinion on the cause of this problem and the possible solution.
The Korean language classes offered to exchange students are divided into three levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Students can choose classes based on their level of proficiency in Korean. However, since these classes are mandatory for all exchange students, it’s hard to keep the level of each class suitable for everyone. IICE will try to explain the level of difficulty of each class in more detail in the guidebook so the students can refer to it when applying for these classes.
International students also said that it is hard to find or receive school notifications. It seems it is hard for those students to get quick and easy access to the school notifications or to get help with any urgent problems. Some of them have suggested having a questioning and answering (Q&A) board online. What do you think about this suggestion?
Through an international student club of Edu-class, we are announcing school notifications on registering for classes, payment of tuition, dormitory application, graduation certificate, information on scholarships, insurance application and so on. In addition, handbooks for international students are regularly uploaded and distributed to guide their campus life. However, if they want to a Q&A board as well, we will open it on the website of International Student Club.
We wonder if there is anything else that IICE is trying to do for the international students.
To prevent international students from being discriminated against or isolated, we plan to operate a counseling program for international students just like the one Korean students can receive at the human rights center at UOS. IICE is also planning many other programs to help international students adapt to campus life and Korean culture.
As more and more various types of international students come to UOS for their studies, the difficulties they encounter are also diversifying. In response, UOS is trying to come up with better solutions in order to offer the best possible environment for all of them. However, it is also important that local students bear in mind that those international students are also members of UOS and they should not be the ones having subjected to any discrimination or inconveniences.