[Saranghandea] KBS Documentary Shows 3 Days In the Life of Hanyang University Students
Written by Choi Seo-yong
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Today, international students can easily be spotted in Korean universities. This includes Hanyang University, where the total number of foreign students make up around 10 percent of both Seoul and ERICA campuses. The program Documentary 3 Days from the Korea Broadcasting System (KBS), recently captured an image of foreign students on the campus of Hanyang University, which was broadcasted on May 26th under the title “The World that They Live In.”
Documentary 3 Days and the Program Director Kang Min-seung
The program Documentary 3 Days captures a natural image of certain events or phenomena within a restricted location and limited time of 72 hours. Having first started in 2007, it is a long-running program that is still widely loved by its viewers. Kang Min-seung is a Program Director (PD) of the program’s team. Having noticed the recent rapid increase in international students at Korean universities, Kang decided to capture this phenomenon through Documentary 3 Days.
Receiving a lot of help from Professor Han Dong-seob (Department of Media Communication), the 32nd president of the Korea Association for Broadcasting & Telecommunication Studies (KABS), and Professor Lee Kee-jeong (Department of English Language and Literature), the former head of the Hanyang University Office of International Affairs (OIA), Kang was able to plan the overall layout of the program. Selecting the cast with the help of OIA, four students were casted in sharing their stories as foreign students of Hanyang. In addition to providing insights into the recent phenomenon of an increased number of international students, Kang also wanted to deliver the message that although we may look different in race or nationality, we are all same students underneath and live similar lives. “There are no clear standards in differentiating myself from others. ‘We’ and ‘they’ are terms that can differ depending on how we regulate subjects. This is why I wanted to show that the lives and passions of foreign students are no different from those of Korean students through this program,” explained Kang. According to Kang, a documentary program is one that records important events within the current society, and as the PD, he is able to tell the story from his own perspective. It is when viewers are able to sympathize with his version of the story that makes Kang feel his work is most worthwhile. As for the recent episode “The World that They Live In,” it was met with a strong reaction. The four main students were portrayed well, and viewers showed a strong response to the phenomenon of an increase in foreign students at Korean universities.
Interview with Kevin and Emile
The program focused mainly on four students, with Kevin Bernardo (Department of Mechanical Engineering, 3rd year) and Emile Davos (Division of International Studies, 4th year) being two of them. In the program, the two students shared their ideas and what they have actually felt as foreign students at Hanyang University.
Q. Please give a brief introduction of yourself and how you came to participate in the documentary.
Kevin: I am Kevin Bernardo from the Republic of Mozambique. I thought that it would be a great opportunity to star in a Korean show, while being able to introduce not only Hanyang University, but also Mozambique. Emile: I am Emile Davos, and I’m from the Netherlands. I was contacted by the university. I got a phone call saying I was recommended for the show by someone. They asked if I was willing to participate, and I said I was.
Q. What did you feel while participating in the program?
Kevin: I was worried, as I am not completely fluent in Korean but everything turned out okay. Although it was not broadcasted, there was a scene in which I became aware of the fact that I should contact my family more often. Emile: It was a fun experience and at times it felt slightly staged, but it was nice to share my experience of being here in Korea and sharing about my time at Hanyang. Hanyang has given me a lot, so I was happy to repay the favor.
Q. What is it like to be a foreign student at Hanyang University?
Kevin: Many courses in Hanyang are taught in English, which enables foreign students like me to keep track. Also I was able to meet both great foreign and Korean friends at Hanyang. I have heard that there are certain social groups that do not accept foreigners. This was a shame, as I was able to have a wonderful experience as a member of the social group “Hasra.” There is also the saying that when doing team projects, certain Korean students avoid foreign students. I hope that an environment in which they can all better collaborate will come. Emile: It was a bit too superficial and short to really get into what my time here at Hanyang looks like. Also, it was a busy week for me besides school, so I couldn’t fully concentrate on it, but it’s nice to know that there is an interest in international students like myself.
Q. What was the reaction like after the program?
Kevin: After the program was released, there were local residents that recognized me. Many professors also told me that they saw me on the program and even congratulated me on my appearing in the program. Emile: I actually got approached quite a bit by strangers on the street and was even asked to take a picture together.
Q. Is there anything you’d like to add?
Kevin: When doing a team project, I hope that international students are not simply avoided. I hope that Korean students try to understand their situations about coming to and studying in a foreign country. A little help would be a great support for them. The finals are coming up, so I hope everyone has great results and enjoys their holidays. Hope to meet you all at school! Emile: I hope Hanyang can push more towards globalizing the university and really make it attractive for foreign students to consider doing their bachelors here. I have made some good friends here at Hanyang, and even though I am happy that I will graduate this semester, I will always look back on my time at Hanyang as a good time.
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