• Updated : 2021.6.21 월 09:18
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Exchange Student Life: A Precious Memory in My Life
박주현, 경영학부 4학년  |  tribune1968@cnumedia.com
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승인 2019.03.16  16:01:23
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn

    I studied at the University of Warsaw (UW) in Poland for the 2018/2019 fall semester through the Erasmus student exchange program. There are many cultural differences between Poland and Korea. It is a good example that in Poland all stores are closed at 9 p.m. and most stores are closed every Sunday. Therefore, I had a slightly hard time adapting to a new environment but the university offered a variety of settlement support programs including orientations and buddy programs to help exchange students adapt to their campus life in Warsaw.

▲ Park Ju-hyun (bottom left) with her friends

FoMo Week and Buddy Programs
    The UW offers an orientation for freshmen and exchange students from different countries. It is called ‘FoMo Week’. For the orientation period lasting one week, a party is held every night. At the parties, exchange students can enjoy beer and go clubbing at a party and meet many foreign friends. I took part in the orientation program and got a lot of information about school life. After the orientation week, many events such as a beer party, movie day etc. were held on campus.
    The university has a Facebook page called ‘ESN University of Warsaw’ for Erasmus students. In particular, the Office of International Affairs matches a Polish mentor and a mentee from a foreign country that the mentor is interested in. My mentor was Dominic who spoke Korean well. When I arrived at Warsaw’s Chopin Airport in Poland, he held a placard with my name written in Korean. That’s what he made. His Korean was good. The mentors of my Erasmus friends had studied and traveled in Korea, and they were very interested in our country.

English Not a Problem
    Despite the university’s support programs for exchange students, there was a problem. It was ‘English’. I was confident about reading and writing in English, but I had no confidence to communicate with foreigners. I took all classes in English, and also carried out team projects in English. At first, I had a lot of fear of speaking in English thinking ‘my English is not as good as theirs.’ But Karolina, my best friend in Poland said, “Not all Europeans are perfect because English is not their first language. Don’t be shy, be confident.” That’s right. If I did not try to speak to foreigners because of my English skill, my English ability would have remained the same. Their culture was so different from Korea’s, but I said “Hi!” to strangers which is unlike me in Korea. In that way, I made some friends and got many chances to talk with them.
    I think the best thing to improve my foreign language abilities was to continue practicing with friends speaking the foreign language. If there is someone who is hesitating to be an exchange student because of their language capabilities, I want to tell them “Don’t hesitate anymore. It would be perfect if you have prepared for studying abroad a lot in Korea. You can go and study harder.” The exchange student program gives you a good opportunity and you can gain more the harder you try, and you can live abroad and get many special experiences in your life. I hope many students challenge themselves and grab this opportunity.

By Park Ju-hyun, Senior, Faculty of Business Administration

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