Hanyangians Abroad and Beyond
The experiences of studying and working abroad
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The number of international students at Hanyang University, as well as within Korea, appear to increase every year. About 90,000 students were estimated to be studying in Korea as of 2016. Reasons behind their visits form around inquisitiveness about and personal interest in Korea and its culture, not excluding job opportunities. Likewise, students of Hanyang fly to countries abroad to learn languages, expose themselves to new cultures and get work experience. This week, News H met four HYU students, Lee Shin-hee (Advertising and Public Relations, ERICA, 4th year), Kim Nam-hyung (Division of International Studies, 4th year), Lee Je-na (Sociology, 4th yr) and Kwon Hyun-min (Industrial Engineering, 4th year), who all went abroad on exchange student programs, an internship and a working holiday respectively.
Exchange students in the US and the UK
Q1. How long did you live abroad as an exchange student, and what countries have you visited? Can you tell us the reason why you went there?
Shin-hee: I stayed in America from August 2015 to July 2016 at LeTourneau University in Texas. I spent two semesters there as an international student, taking a minor in Marketing in the School of Business. I chose the US because I wanted to practice my English a lot, and I wanted to experience the student life there.
Nam-hyung: I went to the UK and studied at the University College London. I spent the fall semester of my junior year there, and lived there from September 2016 to January this year. My reason for going abroad was to learn politics, studying at a foreign university as a politics major. Because I lived in Europe when I was young, I felt more comfortable with the UK than the US. Since using English wasn't a problem for me, I felt I could understand the lectures better at an English-speaking country.
Q2. Are there any routes in making foreign friends? What were some notable experiences you had with foreign students during your stay?
Shin-hee: The club I chose in the university I went to was the cross-country running team. Club members were surprised and glad that an exchange student chose to participate, and the atmosphere was really welcoming as a result.
There are summer breaks and fall breaks in American universities, which enable students to take a leave from school for about one week. I decided to take a trip to the seaside with my friends during the summer break. During my fall break, I visited to the Grand Canyon with my friends. Another thing that I remember, and definitely don’t regret, is that I threw my own farewell party. That was because I wanted to treat my friends back, who really helped me a lot during my stay.
Nam-hyung: There were five people in my dorm, and those friends were the ones I got very close to. When a new semester starts, there is a welcoming party for one week. I met nice people there. Also, there are lots of clubs, such as Beyonce, Harry Potter, and sci-fi. In Korea, you choose one or two clubs and you devote yourself to it, but in the UK, the choice of clubs has more flexibility and freedom.
Q3. What did you learn most out of your experience abroad?
Shin-hee: I learned that the influence of a given environment affects people beyond imagination. What is left as your asset depends on how much you tried to challenge and adapt to in the culture you are faced with. That’s a matter of courage, you see.
Nam-hyung: What I learned is much related to studying. I was surprised by the heated atmosphere of debate that was going around in the classes. It was very different from Korean-style lectures. I learned that by actively searching and striving, you can really make your studying experience more interesting and engaging. Additionally, I learned basic life skills, like cooking and socializing with people.
Q4. Any tips on living as an exchange student?
Shin-hee: I used my international student status as a privilege. Because I was an exchange student, I don’t have to be in the know about what the other students already know. I asked lots of questions and that was how I could communicate more with the people there.
Nam-hyung: Never be afraid of doing things alone. There may be situations where you want to do something but you don’t have any friends to do it with you. Don’t hesitate even then.
There may be more dynamic events when you are out alone.
Working holiday to Australia, internship to Germany
Q1. What country have you visited and why? What was your work there?
Je-na: For six months from the second half of 2015 to first half of 2016, I went on a foreign internship to KOTRA (Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency)'s trade building in Munich, Germany through the school. KOTRA is a state funded organization that promotes and facilitates trade and investment of Korea's SMEs (Small to medium sized enterprises).
I lived in Germany from middle school to high school, so I can speak both German and English. I applied for the internship while I was searching for work experience in Korea and other countries, following a professor’s advice on internship programs the school provides.
I assisted office work as an intern, did some cleaning, answered phone calls, and consulted some buyers. I also got a more worthwhile experience, being able to German for work thanks to the trust that the director instilled in me. I participated in interpreting at a BMW conference, and in a special KBS program that featured Munich. I was lucky to be involved in those moments.
Hyun-min: I went on a working holiday to Australia for 21 months, from April 2014 to January 2016, with three of my friends. I had a great longing for living abroad since I was young. I chose Australia for my working holiday due to the interesting stories I had heard from my private tutor about his own working holiday experience in Australia. I also wanted to feel for myself the active atmosphere of the country. During my stay, I worked in restaurants. I washed dishes, did simple ingredient preparations, and also did room service while I was working in a big hotel.
Q2. Were there any requirements for the jobs?
Je-na: Certified English test scores and other language scores are required, corresponding to which country you visit. A copy of your transcript and resume are also needed, and an English interview is held thereafter, with one intern being selected for each trade building.
Hyun-min: There are age requirements, from 18 to 30, and there has to be neither medical disqualifications nor criminal records.
Q3. What is an advantage of a brief stay abroad?
Hyun-min: I now have the confidence to live in any country that I can think of. I have experienced something unique, so I'm now equipped with the ability to manage my life and also broaden my outlook.
Jang Soo-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Choi Min-ju
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