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
sciencebottle 3rd-Dec-2018 11:25 pm (UTC)
This seems really strange to me, but then I remember that international students are what bring in the money with their insane tuition prices so I think that may be a reason as to why their language reqs are so lax. It's the same thing where I'm from- Vancouver universities are notoriously extravagant with their recruitment of international students, and so many of them have a not good grasp of english in any way (and pay up to 20% more than domestic students in tuition for certain subjects like business and engineering). I don't know about SK, but in BC (british columbia) as far as I know, it is international student's money that helps pay for our health care costs as well.

For my university, if you come from a primarily non-english speaking country, you must meet certain requirements from the TOEFL or IELTS, or come from an english-medium school system. If your grades weren't high enough in english, you have the option of taking certain remedial english courses, but that's not just an international student thing- its offered to every student regardless. I can't speak for other universities, but as far as I know there are no 'english help' programs.
jyusou 4th-Dec-2018 02:47 am (UTC)
and pay up to 20% more than domestic students in tuition for certain subjects like business and engineering

nope, i compared my tuition with a friend who's a local....we paid 4 times as much.
sciencebottle 4th-Dec-2018 03:04 am (UTC)
I'm not sure about what school you go to, but my uni is increasing tuition for incoming international students that are in business/engineering/computer science for the upcoming year. Might be wrong about the engineering science (I wasn't sure if it was as high, same with compsci), but business was for sure a large increase (and from the few business courses I took, they are already more expensive than other courses anyways). Forgot to mention that the change was recent (I got an email a few months ago?).
jyusou 4th-Dec-2018 03:19 am (UTC)
okay rereading my comment i seem awfully triggered there i'm sorry, i should have clarified. i went to ubc, sauder school of business. my local friends paid roughly $500-$600 per 3-credit course while mine was $2,000+ per 3-credit course. and this was years ago too. do the price differences between local and intl. students by university have such a high variance?? cuz if yes then...DAMN.
sciencebottle 4th-Dec-2018 03:27 am (UTC)
Ahhh yeah, I see. I go to SFU (and I work for UBC, weirdly enough lol) and just recently we got an notification for tuition increases (from the current amount that domestic and intl students are paying) for incoming students, which is probably even more expensive than UBC's increases (seeing as how UBC is more expensive than SFU anyways)- 4% increase for domestic undergrad, 8% increase for international undergrad compsci, 12% increase for international undergrad engineering, and 20% for intl undergrad business :( My intl friends were paying close to $30,000 a year in comparison to my 15-16,000, and I can't imagine that Sauder is much better :(

edit: actually no now that i've calculated it correctly, even after doing three terms (fall spring summer)'s worth of 15 credits each term, I still end up paying only $11,000 a year. thats fucked in comparison to what international students have to pay. :(

Edited at 2018-12-04 03:36 am (UTC)
jyusou 4th-Dec-2018 05:45 am (UTC)
ohh i see, you were talking about the percentage tuition increases (which at ubc is a controversy every year regardless of whether you're a local or intl. student lol). regarding the overall cost per course, i can understand the different treatment between local and intl. students, i mean, generally speaking our standing in the country doesn't necessarily qualify us for any subsidies after all. like, does the price tag hurt? yes lol, but we made the choice of continuing our education overseas instead of going to an institution in our home country, so. but nonetheless, 20% increase for intl. undergrad business is insane! was there (or is there going to be) backlash?

Edited at 2018-12-04 05:53 am (UTC)
sciencebottle 4th-Dec-2018 06:26 am (UTC)
LOL so true about ubc, the number one comment I get offhandedly asked about at the housing office is about tuition and i'm like....i wish i could give you an answer but lets just say your debt will be...decently large

There's been so much backlash. changes to the tuition increase are on the agenda for every student running for positions on senate. there was a town hall sort of thing where students grilled higher ups about where the money was going and it got pretty heated. sfu in general has been in a bit of a mess this past year so no one really knows why they're taking so much more money from us lmao. at ubc at least there's all the facilities and new residence buildings so you can at least begrudgingly see where the money is, but sfu is still a concrete mossy prison as always :)

jyusou 4th-Dec-2018 07:36 am (UTC)
omg, i visited friends in vancouver earlier this year and went to visit ubc and the first things i thought when i saw all the new buildings and the new bus loop were "what is this place i don't recognize anything anymore!!" and "damn...my tuition..." lol (good luck to them getting rid of their reputation as the "university of building and construction"). something fishy must be going on at sfu if they're asking for such high increases but with no plans to expand infrastructure. regardless, the lack of transparency is infuriating :/ i'd be surprised if discussion over this didn't get heated/there was no backlash at all!
kenata 4th-Dec-2018 06:59 am (UTC)
i went to ubc too (graduated this year) and there were various forms of protest pretty much every year regarding the tuition hikes. and like op said, the AMS elections always seem to be on every agenda as well...but of course, there's not a whole lot of work being done from the side of administration and bureaucracy :(. i was a domestic student, but i definitely see and sympathize with your experience :(
jyusou 4th-Dec-2018 07:57 am (UTC)
lol yes, when i attended it was like this too. every year there's a cycle of tuition hikes being announced, students protest and complain, surveys are handed out to gauge student opinion, ams candidates all add this to their election agenda, they get elected, nothing significant happens, tuition increases anyway, rinse and repeat. i feel like, overall, the ams has very little power when it comes to influencing these types of high-level decisions, which sucks, because at the end of the day we're the ones forking out the money, whether we are local or intl. students.

btw, congratulations on graduating :D! what field did you graduate in?
kenata 4th-Dec-2018 08:56 am (UTC)
thank you!!! I graduated with a BA in eng lit 😊

I'm loving our little lower mainland corner here on omona right now haha!!
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