Park Chung Hee School of Policy and Saemaul (PSPS) is a place where international Saemaul leaders are being educated and trained. Students come from over 50 different countries and more than 95% of the students are foreign nationals. When it comes to studying PSPS academics is only half the picture. International PSPS students come to Yeungnam University for a better education, but beside that, they are experiencing unique Korean culture as well. While students are living in Korea they spend some time thinking about how to ensure that they have the best experience possible.
Indeed, the courtesy and kindness of Koreans is legendary and attested to by thousands of people who are fortunate enough to have a Korean friend. The Korean humbleness and kindness is admirable to everyone. Loyalty and honesty are both virtues in Korea. This is not a modern invention; traditionally, one of the names of Korea was the “Eastern Land of Courtesy.” On the other hand, to most foreigners some Korean students or youngsters look very conservative. Especially when a foreigner tries to ask or talk to a Korean student on campus or on the street, the Korean students usually try to avoid the conversation and skip talking to foreigners. Then foreigners think that Korean people are rude, afraid, or hate talking to foreigners. Unfortunately Korean students are trying to avoid speaking English. They think that if they speak English, they might make mistakes and it will look bad to the foreigner.
At the PSPS, foreign students are still struggling to make Korean friends. Unfortunately, students don’t see Korean students in the class or even outside academic areas so most students can’t find any Korean friends. They mostly complain about not having Korean friends or even if they have a friend then they complain that they cannot maintain their relationship. The Language and culture barrier between Koreans and African or South Asian students is large and the cultural differences create all these challenges for foreign students at the PSPS. Beside all these challenges, students enjoy their academic time at the PSPS especially when there are many field trips to other cities and big companies in Korea that give a big impression to international students. The PSPS environment is a mixture of culture and tolerance so that everyone can enjoy it. Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Shamans and atheists all form different beliefs held by PSPS students which showcases a beautiful variety of cultures.
The Park Chung Hee School of Policy and Saemaul is a golden opportunity for international students to be educated and trained theoretically and practically in advanced methods. All the international students enjoy the academic area of the PSPS. Varied culture exchanges make the academic area more meaningful and joyful, but somehow they are struggling to acculturate and adapt to the Korean culture and food which takes some time especially for African and Muslim students.
YASIN GHOBAR Yasin.firstname.lastname@example.org