Today marks the 4th official day of class here at Dongguk University. This place is a lot smaller than the University of New Mexico or Boise State University back in the United States of America. All three universities share similarities such as there are students here and they go to class to increase their intelligence. Something that I have noticed that is a little different is the mentality of students here. It is like almost a job to them. They put in the time and are rewarded for it. They defiantly put in the study time. Every time I go to the library, I see students hard at work and studying to the point of exhaustion. Being here only a week, all I have are my observations, so this notion might change over time. But, talking with some Koreans, I have found out that the parents of the Korean students pay for their student to attend college. Similar to some students back home, they do not have to worry about student loans and the nightmare of them afterwards. Also, I have seen a big comradery amongst people who attend the same university. I have met a man named a guy named Johnny who interned at the Hyundai Department store who was from Dongguk. Once I mentioned I was studying there, we instantly became friends. He offered his help and knowledge to me if I ever had a problem or question at or about Dongguk, that he would happily help me. They take great pride in it. It is kind of like the same pride I see from some of my friends from Gonzaga University and their amazing basketball team and basketball culture. My buddy NIk bleeds Gonzaga blue. That sense of family is a nice notion and makes it very welcoming to newcomers.
Problems for foreigners on the first day of school:
Though Dongguk has many classes offered in English, which does not mean the class will actually be taught in English. Take for instance a Korean class that said it was to be taught in English. If the overwhelming majority is Korean, they can petition to the professor to be taught in English. That happened to two of my courses thus far. Even one that I am enlisted in is taught only in Korean, but the professor told me how to get around this language barrier. I am to attend special classes on Saturdays and some of the essays that I will be assigned will be accepted in English. The Korean mentality of always wanting to help is alive and well. I have been constantly talking to my international advisor and Korean language buddy. Without them, life would have been extremely difficult.
Next time, I will tell you guys about my Intensive Korean Language Class and some new friends I have made here in South Korea. Good day to you!