NEWS@UOS met Won Na-mi, a senior of the Dept. of Korean History, who is an exchange student of the Tokyo Gakugei University. The University of Seoul (UOS) made provision for exchange student relationships with Yokohama National University, Hiroshima Prefectural Women’s University and Tokyo Gakugei University in Japan. Won Na-mi studied abroad from April 2004 to March 2005 for one year. She described Japan in just one word, ‘same’, “I didn’t feel Japan was mysterious.
I simply felt Japan is much the same as Korea. As time went by, I was conscious of comforts like Korean life.” said Won Na-mi. She looked like she never had any anxiety about foreign countries. She said “My relatives lives in Japan. My great uncle is a Korean resident in Japan. And my hometown is Busan, really close to Japan. So, to me Japan is a familiar country. I accepted it immediately.” This wasn’t the first time she had visited Japan. She went to Japan with her family years ago.
When she was in elementary school, she was really interested in Japanese animated cartoons. With this as the driving force, she has started to be very interested in Japan. She had studied Japanese as a second foreign language in high school. She said “I try to use Japanese at the moment. I think language is easy to forget if we don’t speak frequently. So, I’m studying Japanese steadily. Of course, it isn’t simple.”
When we asked about the prerequisites before departure from a country, she said, “A visa is a deservedly essential thing and all sorts of basic supplies are needed. What is most important is, I think, learning to ride a bicycle. In Japan, many students attend school by bicycle. I took lessons after arriving in Japan.”
She said that she listened to a lot of news about North Korea in Japan, more than in Korea. In Japanese broadcast programs, it covers the political news of North Korea. Things about South Korea are mostly connected with entertainment like the renowned Gyeo-ul-yeon-ga, Dae-jang-geum and so on.
She also added, the Japanese people looked comparatively independent. “I think they aren’t nearly as concerned about other people’s opinions. They just go about their daily routine and it’s not a problem to eat meals alone. It seems that individualism is more prevalent in Japan than in Korea.” NEWS@UOS sought some advice from her for UOS students. “I thought that the world is extensive.
I’m planning to go to Europe next. I hope UOS students have international vision. And when we are university students, do as much traveling. It is the best time. When you go to foreign countries as an exchange student, you become a representative of your country. I wish UOS students can have many varied experiences.”