Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) is one of the universities that has the widest range of foreign studies majors in South Korea. Majoring in foreign studies, it is very crucial to learn to use the language but also to experience foreign culture. Spending a half year at Aichi Prefectural University (APU), located in Aichi prefecture, Japan, this Argus reporter experienced a language exchange program efficient for both international and non-international students.
Within international students who voluntarily join iContact, a language exchange program at APU, other Japanese students come by during their free time to learn foreign languages and culture from the native speaking students. Volunteering international students should decide when they will come, and other students can come by checking the confirmed schedules of the native speakers of the desired language. This attendance does not have to be on a regular basis, nor is it limited to the language you are majoring in. This Argus reporter, as a Korean, helped students not only from Japan but from all over the world (France, Taiwan, Mexico, etc.) with Korean from very easy expressions to deep discussion and debate about Korean culture.
The current official system of getting along with international students at HUFS, including joining the ISO, Buddy Program, and Foreign Language Peer Tutoring Program, is very helpful. Students can help each other with language and culture. However, the one and only possible shortcoming is that these are all official gatherings on a regular basis. Students sometimes feel this is overwhelming because there are a lot of other things to do at the same time and they cannot be sure whether they can attend every time.
For those who feel this way, The Argus thinks this kind of language exchange program is a great solution. Students can not only practice and learn a language without pressure, but also make international friends. Simultaneously, international students can make Korean friends and ask them for help in adjusting to Korean culture.
For HUFSans, making a new program like this would help better achieve the school goal of “Come to HUFS, Meet the World.” The world is not that far away; in fact, it already exists inside the campus.
By Byeon Hee-jin