GIST’s Growing Challenges as a Global Campus

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[Fig. 1] Notice in Penn State Library - "We are a place for everyone"

About Current Status of GIST and Good Model from America’s Universities

[Fig. 1] Notice in Penn State Library – “We are a place for everyone”
As the number of international undergraduate freshmen and its’ applicants increases, GIST is getting a step closer to globalization as well as the problems that come with a diverse student body. With these changes, various organizations are helping international freshmen to adjust to a campus. <GIST NEWS> interviewed two international freshmen and good model from American universities to find out how GIST can be a better global campus.

Various Organizations helping Internationals

To deal with dramatic influx, the GIST Section of International Relations (SIR) team, Student Union, and Language Education Center (LEC) are helping international freshmen in various aspects. SIR helps students after they arrive at GIST with orientation. And course. Registration, and familiarization with campus life. Besides, SIR launched a program called ‘Buddy Program’, a mentor-mentee program where one international freshman and one Korean student are grouped.

GIST Student Union International Team also supports international freshmen to adjust to a new environment. They made a KakaoTalk chat room with international freshmen and sophomores, and five Korean members. So far, they have guided useful information regarding daily life including about hospitals, gyms, and public transportation and GIST Facebook group.

Furthermore, other organizations are also helping internationals by various programs such as ‘Language Exchange Program’ held by LEC and house dorm mentor held by club ‘House’. Besides, cafeterias on campus provide English translation for menu notice.

Perspective from 2021 international freshman

To find out if those programs are effective, two 2021 GIST international freshman were interviewed. Two interviewees wanted a quotation to be anonymous since it includes several personal stories.

Student A mentioned several difficulties including differences in food, language barrier, and study load with their experiences. Not only that, Student A had challenge when making Korean friends due to the language barrier. Student A said, “[on those times,] you need Korean. Otherwise, it is difficult because Koreans feel that their English is not good while it is not [which makes them hesitate to speak English].”

However, Student A appraised GIST’s guidance by mentioning that those difficulties are inevitable. Student A expressed their satisfaction by saying, “[GIST’s overall support was] good.” Student A stated that “these problems that I mentioned, I would face anywhere I go.”

Student B also had difficulties like Student A had. But they also declared that GIST did enough to support those issues. Student B said that language difference and the campus filled with enthusiasm for studying was unfamiliar at first. Also, they said, “Especially in GIST, many students graduated science high school which make them familiar with topics from courses while some of the internationals have difficulties. They should study harder than others.” pointing out the issue of study gap.

Being asked for the suggestion of GIST to be improved, Student B pointed out two aspects about the courses. They suggested that “On this semester, there were only two humanity courses opened in English. I hope there are more options for humanity courses.” They also said, “I hope there are more courses that teach real-life Korean language for internationals. We have Basic Korean courses but the Korean in the book is too formal which we would never use in real-life situation.”

Nevertheless, Student B was satisfied how GIST helped. They expressed their satisfaction by saying, “I like all programs. Especially, Buddy Program is nice since mentors know both about Korean life and university life. Mentors are really helpful for different situations that you don’t know what to do.”

 

Interview with other University’s international Student

To find out how other universities are guiding internationals, two studying abroad students were interviewed. The first interviewee was Dohyung Ko, who is a Penn State University (PSU) freshmen.

Dohyung said that he is having a good time during his first semester thanks to the excellent support of the university. According to him, on the first day of school on the orientation time, PSU announced, “Our university prohibits any kind of bias. Therefore, if you experience it, don’t hesitate to report it to the school police. We consider it the best priority to keep.”

He also depicted how the university is assisting internationals. One example was their engineering peer-to-peer partnership program. Dohyung expressed his satisfaction by saying, “I am grateful that the mentor knows Asian culture thus respects the conflicting view from two cultures. I feel like having a reliable senior.”

Besides that, PSU is putting a meticulous effort for internationals. When the library makes an announcement, they put various languages and pictogram. Also, at the beginning of the semester, food from various cultures is served at the school cafeteria. After one month, the school cafeteria embraces various eating habits by providing abundant options. It includes a salad bar, grill bar, vegetarian bar, and international bar. It also provides a Halal menu.

Also, Min Ji Kim, a freshman of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), added one aspect of international campus life by saying, “Each country has a student association from which students were born.” For example, in CMU, there are Arab Student Organization, Korean American Student Association, and Japanese Student Association, etc. Minji said, “Student association helps students not to be homesick, such as providing traditional food or holding events.”

[Fig. 2] Report bias on PSU – “Be the difference”
It’s already been three months since 2021 international freshmen entered GIST. Many international freshmen are settling to new environments. Student A said, “At the beginning of the semester, I was panicked by all of the new things. But for now, thanks to GIST, I got used to the new culture much better.”

Although it had been only two years that GIST has been accepting international undergraduate, many people are evaluating that GIST is doing a good job assisting internationals’ campus life. There are rising expectations that GIST will continue to develop as a global campus.