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General Classes in the U.S. Help Students to Know Themselves해외통신: 미국 미주리대학교 교양교과
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승인 2013.03.11  18:17:10
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn
General Classes in the U.S. Help Students to Know Themselves
By Yoon Soo-hong, Overseas Correspondent
Yoon Soo-hong, an CNU exchange student studying at the MU
As a general concept, US students spend most of their credits as freshmen and sophomores taking general classes in order to experience diverse majors and decide what they really want to study. They change their majors, more than three times on average, until they find what they are truly interested and motivated in to advance to the upper classes with based on the view of general classes they have taken. In other words, they consider the general classes as the significant standards from which to choose their final major. Moreover, the university offers enough opportunities for students to find what they would really like to do, in contrast to Korean education which seldom gives a chance to students to examine their talents and interests during their time at college. That is why the role of general classes in the US is important to challenge the students to many specific academic areas, not just for graduation.
As an exchange student I took two general classes, Korean Cinema class and Social Work, in the last semester. Both classes were general classes which I have not experienced before in Korea. In the Korean Cinema class, we watched meaningful and controversial Korean movies with English subtitles once a week (every Thursday) and we had debates about the arguable questions related to the movie, such as the relationship between North and South Korea, the Korean Diaspora, and other topics. It was helpful and interesting to debate about those topics regarding Korean society with local students in the US. Also, we had to hand in the paper about what we had discussed in class once a week, which was the other advantage to review the perspectives we mentioned in discussion, as well as improving writing skills. There are a significant number of cinema classes in the curriculum in University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) which are pretty interesting and useful to learn about some heavy and serious topics easily and delightfully. In terms of Social Work, we had learned a lot of information about how we serve people who need help and what kinds of roles the social worker has, and so on. In the meantime, we volunteered at Better Thailand Foundation, a nonprofit organization helping Thai children and rose funding for that agency. It was also quite a rewarding experience, something that I have not experienced in university before.
General classes in both countries are totally different. The ones in Korea are less motivating for students to take as there is not a chance for students to realize themselves. Giving more opportunities to find what they want is the role that general classes play in the American context which makes it more critical and meaningful to students.
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