|▲ Coordinators of the Office of International Affairs
As of 2017, Chonnam National University (CNU) has built a global network of about 300 universities in 40 countries all around the world. The numbers of incoming international students and CNU students who are interested in studying abroad are increasing. As the world is becoming globalized, it is necessary for students to enhance their global competitiveness. The Office of International Affairs (OIA) operates diverse international programs and provides extra support for both domestic and international students at CNU.
Students can study abroad through OIA’s programs such as Exchange Programs, a Foreign Language Training Program and International Internship Programs. In the case of the exchange program, selected students can take credits at overseas partner universities. This semester, 141 selected students have been dispatched to partner universities. To apply for the program, students need to meet requirements for English language proficiency, which vary from university to university. “The Exchange Program is a good opportunity for students to study abroad without spending much money,” said Cho Joon-sik, the director of OIA.
The Foreign Language Training Program aims to foster CNU students’ challenging spirit and improve their foreign language abilities at affiliated overseas universities. There is no qualification for foreign language ability but applicants have to be undergraduate students in less than six completed semesters. The International Internship Program gives students opportunities to experience international business and enhance their communication skills. The students can earn two to 18 credits depending on how long they stay there. Hwang Ji-hye (Sophomore, Dept. of Japanese Language and Literature) who went to Japan through an Internship Program said, “It was great that I could earn credits, money, and of course language skills at the same time while carrying out internship tasks.”
Around 1,000 international students of different nationalities are studying at CNU through various programs including Undergraduate and Graduate programs, a Global MBA, or an International Exchange Program. Among them are 153 incoming exchange students from overseas partner universities.
Aside from these programs, the OIA operates the CNU International Summer Session which is a four-week program designed for foreign students to take classes from experienced CNU professors as well as professors from other foreign universities and also to learn about Korean culture. 129 international students from 48 universities in 22 different countries participated in the program this year. The international students were supported by Korean partner students through a Buddy Program. CNU students can take up to six credits by participating in the summer session. Baha Komilov (Sophomore, Dept. of Political Science and Diplomacy, Uzbekistan) said, “I took part in the international summer session program. It was one of the most amazing programs in my life at CNU.”
Extra Support for International Students
The OIA operates various support programs including Orientation programs, Buddy Programs and a CNU International student Supporters Program for new incoming students every semester. It also provides international students with opportunities to experience Korean culture through Cultural Field Trips. In addition, the OIA members provide extra support services for them regarding alien registrations, immigrant visa, scholarships, housing, medical care and so on in order to help them adapt to new environments at the university.
The office has managers in charge of their respective continents or countries who consult directly with foreign students about their problems. It is a kind of one-stop service provided for foreign students from the moment they were accepted to CNU until after graduation. Foreign students often visit the office for financial issues looking for scholarship programs or part-time jobs. The managers try to give them information about on-and-off campus scholarship programs and also introduce part-time jobs available to them. Moreover, CNU has signed special memorandum of understandings with Korea’s global corporations that have business abroad in the international students’ home country in order to help them get employed there after graduation.
CNU has set a goal called the CNU Global 2020. The goal is to reach out to 1000 undergraduate international students, 1000 graduate international students, 1000 outgoing exchange students, and 1000 incoming international exchange students by 2020. With the financial support of the Korean government, the university is designing new programs for students to reach their goal.
A pre-exchange student program will be newly organized. These days, the OIA is sending out fewer students than what they would like because few students can fulfill the host universities’ qualifications. To solve this, the office will offer language courses mainly targeted at freshmen who want to study abroad with the Exchange Program to assist them to meet the language qualifications. Because of this new program, many freshmen are expected to become interested in the Exchange Program and get ready for it in advance.
How about taking part in these various programs provided by the OIA? You can improve your language ability and skills and get ready for the global world by participating in the programs. It is a great opportunity for you to make precious ties with people from all around the world. So, feel free to come and join these valuable programs of the OIA.