The Argus has sought careful insight into how globalized HUFS really is multiple times in regards to the inconveniences foreign students are facing every day. There have been improvements afterwards, but a lot of the inconveniences exchange students experience can still be heard. The Argus listened to four exchange students and drew a detailed picture of their daily and yet chronic inconveniences.
The Argus: What does your home university do for international students?
Junki: Josai International University put forth its best effort to pay close attention to its international students in an attempt to stay on the same par with its name value. There are many programs for the well-being of international students like excursions with international members. It quite resembles services from the International Student Organization (ISO), but the Josai International University boasts an international group community, thereby building internationalers’ total network. In addition, monthly conferences are held as well, to discuss and fix the problems that bother international students.
Rebecca: Otto von Guericke University does not offer as many programs for international students as HUFS does. They provide the initial orientation that mandates all international students to be present. It gives simple guidelines for the moral and behavioral code of Germany, and certain education courses to reduce the culture gap between Germany and the country of origin. I was quite amazed that HUFS had such good preparation when compared to what I saw in my university.
The Argus: What troubled you as an Exchange Student on campus?
Rebecca: In my experience, I found course registration so troublesome because the updates are quite late. Some classes got cancelled at the last-minute, so I had to change my whole schedule that I made in April. Some of my friends also got their initial schedule completely cancelled since a professor left the school. If the notifications were quick and precise enough, such course changes would not have been as troublesome as they did.
Also, HUFS should improve its English webpage, since important details are missing from the site. For instance, notifications provided on HUFS English homepage are only posted two or three times a year. Practically, no detail for undergraduates is provided on the main page.
Junki: I agree that some notifications that international students receive lack in terms of quantity. From what I have experienced so far, the amount of the notifications in English does not cover everything that internationalers experience in their daily lives, like detailed explanations in GlobeeDorm’s penalty point system.
I had some troubles at GlobeeDorm once, because of the curfew and punishment point system. According to the system, a tenant gets a certain amount of punishment points when a tenant goes out of the dorm after midnight. I was aware of the system itself, but I ended up with points stacked up to punishment-warning level because I did not know enough details for which I got penalty points. I wish general regulations, including that of GlobeeDorm, would be given with enough details to International Students.
I hope HUFS takes a closer look into the notifications provided to international students and updates the notifications that are often overlooked. HUFS should ensure reliable information distribution from Office of International Student Services (OISS) to the exchange students so that everyone receives all the information.
Salome: The language barrier is one factor that has bothered me the most. HUFS lacks a little bit in “internationaler-convenience” in terms of having a bilingual system which makes it challenging for international students to adapt to the new school system and the campus, especially in the first few weeks. The language problem applies to all domains including the university’s online systems, like Course Registration, Student Portal, and the E-class platform. HUFS must incorporate full English translations. For example, library reservation system is only in Korean.
I also had trouble with the guards at the entrance, because they cannot understand English at all. I hope HUFS consider employing some staffs who can speak basic English so that international students can receive help at the right place and time.
Jie: It would be better to provide more options in consideration of student with different cultural backgrounds. For instance, certain types of food should be made available for religious students. I have seen some Muslim students who are having a lot of trouble finding suitable food, since their food has to be strictly “Halal,” The same is true for Hindi students, who must not consume beef.
The Argus: Do you think HUFS is a globalized school?
Junki: I agree that HUFS is quite globalized. Institutional support from HUFS from what I have seen so far was good enough to make most international students feel comfortable. I really appreciate the help from the ISO. I am so glad that there are platforms which provide priceless opportunities to meet people from all around the world.
Jie: I think HUFS is a globalized campus in my opinion. HUFS cares about international students and exchange students a lot. I am really grateful to the OISS for helping us out with so many problems. I would also like to give my thanks to the ISO for organizing so many great events.
Salome: I want to say partially yes, since studying at HUFS is a great opportunity for every student to meet people from other countries. However in order to do so, both Korean and international students have to make the first step and approach each other.
Reporter of Campus Section