2:36 pm - 12/03/2018

Half of foreign students at SNU don't understand Korean lectures



About half of foreign students studying at Seoul National University (SNU) have a poor understanding of major classes conducted in the Korean language, a poll released Monday showed.

According to the survey of 432 foreign students by the university's Diversity Council, 47.2 percent said they have little to no understanding of major classes conducted in Korean.

It found 24.3 percent of the respondents having no understanding, while 22.9 percent said they don't understand much. Only 17.8 percent said they can mostly understand the classes.

In a similar outcome, 43.8 percent of the respondents cited a lack of Korean language ability as the most important factor in experiencing academic difficulties.

Slightly over half (50.9 percent) complained of difficulties in participating in debate during major classes conducted in Korean, with 36.6 percent saying they are unable to take part in team projects.

Foreign students invited by the Korean government must go through a Korean language course for one year before entering SNU, but many say that the program is not sufficient for the foreigners to fulfill their academic goals.

Indeed, 34.6 percent of government-invited foreign students said the pre-entrance Korean language course was very insufficient, while 8.4 percent said it was not helpful at all.

In addition, the foreign students don't appear satisfied with SNU classes conducted in English.

Of 10,904 lectures offered by SNU last year, only 11 percent, or 1,237, were conducted in English, meaning that foreign students who are poor at Korean have difficulties in taking various lectures.

In the poll, 36.1 percent called for increasing the number of English lectures, while 22.9 percent raised questions at English capabilities of SNU professors in charge of English lectures.

"It is necessary to find practical ways to help foreign students improve their understanding of major classes conducted in Korean, if there are not many short-term remedies, such as replacing Korean lectures with English and other foreign language lectures," an official at the SNU Diversity Council said.

"In the long term, the number of English lectures should be steadily increased. More systemic support will also be needed to help foreign students improve understanding of Korean lectures, such as the introduction of English subtitles and tutoring between students."



source: Yonhap News
ah0000 3rd-Dec-2018 11:13 pm (UTC)

If you're going to offer entrance to foreign students then you have to invest in resources that allow them to learn, whether that's more Korean learning resources or a translator or something. One year of Korean sounds really insufficient.

Altho I'm not familiar, do American/Western universities offer anything at all? Like dunno even about 1 year of English. Is it free? Same applies to them

premonitioner 4th-Dec-2018 03:56 am (UTC)
I know a lot of British universities require international students to prove they have a decent level of English before they let them in, and many offer English language courses. It's absolutely not free lmfao, British universities make most of their money off international students because they are capped on what they can charge students with British citizenship.
nekobot 4th-Dec-2018 02:14 pm (UTC)
It's always quite shocking to find out how obscenely rich (and how grossly underestimating the level of language proficiency they'll need) a large percentage of international students in the UK are. I get that it's a status thing but it seems like so many people just send their kids off to Europe for prestige points without preparing them properly so that they can actually get the most out of their education here.
premonitioner 4th-Dec-2018 11:16 pm (UTC)
yeah....I lived with international students for my entire university life, and most of them were absolutely lovely and spoke pretty good English, they probably had up to 5 times more spending money than I did. One of Chinese girls I lived with bought groceries from one of the higher class supermarkets. Wasn't unusual to hear someone speaking a different language and be decked head to toe in designer fashion.

tho I did live with a clueless Korean dude who, despite having studied English in about three different countries across 4 years, thought that if he used the thesaurus feature on word, it'd make his essays better. Should have charged him for all the proof reading of essays I did. He was fortunate I spoke Korean and could understand that he was writing/speaking English using Korean grammar 80% of the time. Boy had more money than sense.
lil_poisonfrog 5th-Dec-2018 03:06 am (UTC)
I don't have a lot of knowledge on the subject but I'd guess that in every country there are universities are just out for that sweet foreign money over anything else, esp bc in some cases foreign students have to pay higher tuition. At my American school many of them didn't seem to have a great grasp of English at least.

I'm sure it also depends on the calibre of the school. Like I went to a mid-tier state school but I'd guess that the requirements are tougher for ivy league schools, etc.

Edited at 2018-12-05 03:14 am (UTC)
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