UNK Students Teach and Learn in UNK/Chung-Ang University Exchange

Kyle Petersen
Student Staff Writer

Students involved in the student exchange program between UNK and Chung-Ang University in Seoul, South Korea, will be teachers as well as students.

According to Ann Marie Harr, coordinator of Study Abroad programs, UNK can send a total of five students to Chung-Ang University in Seoul, South Korea, for a teaching experience student exchange this coming fall.

Harr said the students will take approximately 12 credit hours of courses in English, and they will be provided with an internship to teach others English. She said the teaching settings will range from formal classrooms to one-on-one instruction, and the students are expected to commit five hours a week to their job.

One of the five members of the group who studied in Seoul last year was Christina Sedrel, a junior from Omaha. Her English teaching job was at Chung-Ang, where she had classes of two and four students. She said she would discuss current issues, as well as comparisons of American and Korean societies, with her students.

“They are so text-oriented that they focus on little, smaller things, whereas here in the United States, we are open-minded to almost anything,” Sedrel said.

Sedrel said South Korean students were friendly and enjoyed talking with  their new American colleagues.

“The students in the university were so eager to come up and practice their English with you. You pretty much became the big person on campus – the person to talk to,” Sedrel said.

Sedrel said a typical day in Seoul included her morning and evening discussion groups, with classes in between. She said she would take a bus during the weekends to do some shopping and tour the country.
Jerry Fox, director of the UNK Office of International Education, said one of the obstacles students who want to participate in study abroad programs have to surmount is financial. Many students who would like to participate have limited funding. The program with Chung-Ang University was designed to ease financial concerns by providing students with a job which will make it possible to earn an  income.

“English is a really hot commodity around the world. We’re quite fortunate that it turns out to be the language of our country, so that we have that commodity to sell. And so Koreans are very, very excited about learning to speak English and have native speakers around,” Fox said.
As an ESL major, Sedrel said the experience was especially beneficial to her.

“One thing I really wanted to do was travel abroad and teach English abroad after graduation,” she said.

“So, I figured going over to Korea and doing the Chung-Ang experience would actually give me an opportunity to see if that was something I really wanted to do in the future.”

Sedrel said the paid internship opportunity was a main determinant in  persuading her to choose the Korean program. Harr said the UNK estimated cost for students involved in the program is $800 plus their airfare to Korea, but she said a participant last year only paid $300. The costs include tuition, as well as room and board.

“I think a lot of it depends on what your spending habits are. If you’re careful, it doesn’t cost that much,” Harr said.

After arriving in the country, Sedrel said she was surprised by the extent that English is incorporated into the typical Korean life. She said road signs were printed in English, and a number of college students speak English.

“It was really different just to see so much English in a different country,” Sedrel said.