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
hillando 4th-Dec-2018 02:06 am (UTC)
seeing this i guess its pretty posible they just expected a english class but ended up in a korean class they cant even understand
this is funny because this has happened to me twice
I study at a GSIS, which are graduate schools that are required to hold classes in English (by law I think), so all class names and summaries and syllabi are in English as well. Twice I've been fooled into thinking I've signed up for a lecture held in English only for the professor to go "Korean only!" when we arrive in class the first week of semester. Thankfully they let me write my reports in English. I am advanced level in Korean, so following the lectures themselves is okay, but writing a 10-page essay in Korean? Nope. Not happening.
girlknees 4th-Dec-2018 03:35 am (UTC)
lol, yeah i've had this happen at grad school in korea as well.
you wanna know why - cause professors are paid more if they teach the class in english. so they will list the class in english but put some ridicudlous limitation to avoid teaching it in english. for example, i tried to take one "english" class at our uni's business department only to have the professor tell me the class was for korean students only - because he wanted to do the lectures in korean!
fortunately in my deparment even though the lectures were in korean all the readings were in english (as most academic literature in our field is published in english) and my professors always let me do the papers in english. though i did have two professors give me exam questions in korean.
jaerotic 4th-Dec-2018 04:04 pm (UTC)
wow... and i complained a lot about how some of my profs at yonsei gsis weren't as fluent in english as i expected them to be... i never experienced a class that wasn't taught in english at least. they could never do that there, as more than half the student population were foreigners lol.
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