A group of students from Dongguk University in Gyeongju, South Korea, is wrapping up a four-week cultural program at Sacramento State to learn more about America’s education system, culture and society.
The four-week visit from the 40 students is one of the results of a memorandum of understanding signed between the universities in August.
The program, consisting of workshops, classes, activities and tours, provides students the opportunity to meet and interact with Sacramento State’s faculty, students, staff and administrators. In the afternoons, students participated in informal activities such as campus and local tours and conversations with students from the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages program.
Tours of the WELL, Hornet bookstore, Library and computer labs helped students learn about services on campus while local visits to Old Sacramento and the Capitol provided an understanding of California history and government. Students also sat in on some winter intersession courses to familiarize themselves with the different teaching styles on campus.
The students recently attended a Sacramento Kings game where some of them helped carry in the flag for the national anthem.
“They’re learning about American culture from inside and outside the classroom,” says Lakshmi Malroutu, assistant vice president for Academic Affairs.
Unhan Kim, a senior, admires the relationship between professors and students. “The professors give them individual attention,” he says. He was also impressed by the way students were already studying on benches around the campus as soon as the spring semester started.
Sophomore Yoona Kang also appreciates the instructors’ approach. “Every professor is eager to communicate with students,” she says.
The students did some exploring well beyond the campus and the city, with Lake Tahoe and Reno two of the more popular destinations.
Kim enjoyed their trip to the Golden Gate Bridge, where he saw a large hawk gliding through the air.
Kang also enjoyed San Francisco. “Pier 39 was my favorite spot because there I could buy saltwater taffy,” she says. Kang had heard the candy mentioned in American television programs such as Friends and The Big Bang Theory broadcast in Korea, but since the candy is neither made nor imported by her country, had never sampled it. When asked if she liked it, Kang replies, “I ate a lot of it.”
Kim is studying journalism and Kang hopes to be a translator when her college days are over.
One of the goals of the program was to get the students acclimated to an American campus in hopes they might return for more study.
While Kim will be graduating, Kang says returning to this country would be a great opportunity, and she does want to do more study abroad.
All 40 of the students will head home on Jan. 28.
For more information on Dongguk University, go here. For media assistance, call Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.
– Craig Koscho