Half of SNU int’l students struggle with Korean

Published 06/12/2018

Almost half of the international students attending Seoul National University do not adequately understand lectures conducted in Korean, a survey of 432 international students conducted by the school’s diversity council has revealed.

According to reports, when about understanding lectures conducted in Korean, 47.2% of the respondents said they couldn’t follow the class at all, or they often can’t fully understand the lecturer.

The council suggested offering English subtitles for the lectures

Just 17.8%  answered that they were able to understand most of the lectures.

Meanwhile, 43.8% counted the “lack of Korean language proficiency” as the main reason they struggle to study in Korea.

More than half of the respondents said they found it difficult to join class discussions and 36.6%  said they struggled to participate in group projects.

Students who come to Korea on Korean Government Scholarship Program are required to take a one-year language course before they start studies at SNU.  However, about 43% of the 107 students who took the course said it was not enough to gain proficiency in the language.

The survey, however, found that many international students (more than 70%) were interested in taking classes on Korean language or Korean culture despite experiencing difficulties.

Meanwhile, 36.1% of the respondents said SNU should increase the number of lectures conducted in English, while 22.9% said the professors’ English proficiency should be improved to raise the quality of the English lectures.

“To help the international students, the university should seek plans such as increasing the number of English lectures and providing better Korean language courses to the students,” SNU’s diversity council said.

The council suggested offering English subtitles for the lectures conducted in Korean or arranging tutoring by classmates.

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