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
annayism 4th-Dec-2018 01:11 am (UTC)
i can't think of any universities in the us that require international students to have taken english classes or any that offer esl classes to them so....

i don't exactly agree with needing to increase the number of english speaking professors either??? why? not like any of the professors in unis where i live randomly have classes in chinese for all the students from there lmao
benihime99 4th-Dec-2018 06:40 am (UTC)
Don't know about the US but the UK requires a certain level to be authorized to study in their uni
I had to pass the toefl to be admitted and not every uni requires the same result
Where most where fine with student being average (which at the times was 60 out of 120), Cardiff required a minimum of 90.
Thar was years ago so it may have changed and I was applying for an actual diploma not an exchange program but erasmus student also had to fill certain requirement.

British student sent in France on the other hand didn't speak much french

Edited at 2018-12-04 06:40 am (UTC)
kaninasan 7th-Dec-2018 10:10 pm (UTC)
very late, but i applied for graduate programs in the US and they absolutely require TOEFL (or equivalent) test results for foreign students. Many of the programs i applied to also required asian students to conduct a phone interview to test their english bc they were skeptical of their TOEFL results.
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