Korean Students Exploring U.S. Culture, Education at Southeast

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Six students from Hansung, Korea, have spent three weeks immersed in the Southeast Missouri State University community, participating in the Intensive English Program (IEP) and experiencing American culture as part of a student exchange partnership between Southeast and Hansung University.

The students are visiting Southeast through Jan. 31. During their stay, the students have stayed in Vandiver Hall and have attended IEP classes in Southeast’s International Village.

“Through our partnership with institutions, Southeast has the opportunity to host amazing international students and create unique educational and cultural experiences for them and Southeast students,” said Dr. Kevin Timlin, executive director of International Education and Services. “We are so pleased to host these Korean students. Besides learning our language, they have learned about our traditions and culture. Their visit has also enriched the campus and enhanced the Southeast students’ global understanding.”

The students are Seung Hyeon Choi, Tae Hee Hwang, Jong Ho Lee, Hye Jin Kang, Byedha Park and Soo Young Chang. They say they are excited about the opportunities to improve their English speaking skills, interact with Southeast students and faculty, and learn about American culture and traditions.

For each of the past three weeks, the Korean students took part in the Intensive English Program, working to hone their English language understanding skills. The students vary in their English proficiency and were blended into existing IEP classes with other Southeast IEP students.

For Hwang, the IEP classes were an opportunity to interact with other non-English speakers.

“Sometimes I don’t understand different accents, and I got to work with other students and better understand them,” she said.

In addition, the Korean students have participated in many campus and community events, including attending political science and computer science classes and a performance of the opera “La Périchole” at the River Campus, visiting and shopping in downtown Cape Girardeau, and spending a weekend with a local family, which was a student favorite.

“I really enjoyed having an American cultural experience and meeting new people and making new friends,” said Kang.

This week, Chang, who is studying informational technology engineering, is looking forward to attending a computer science class and visiting with Southeast students and faculty.

“I get to talk with other students with a similar major to mine and understand what they talk about in class,” she said.

The students also enjoyed touring and using Southeast’s many student-centered facilities and amenities, including multiple dining venues, shuttle buses and the Student Recreation Center.

“You can tell Southeast really cares about students,” said Choi.

The students will conclude their stay at Southeast with a closing reception at 3 p.m. Jan. 30 in the International Village Multipurpose Room. The reception is free and open to the public.