Studying abroad and classes at Konkuk

The top set of questions I am asked about studying abroad are related to classes, so this is a write up on my experiences as a student at Konkuk from an academic standpoint compared to my home university. I hope it helps! 

L: The Liberal Arts building, where most of my classes at Konkuk were. R: Center of campus at my home university. 

I should preface this by saying that classes were a slight disappointment in studying abroad, but I didn’t place high priority on academics. My priorities in studying abroad were to travel and experience a new culture, etc. I also couldn’t take any classes in my major, because the credits could not be transferred back to my home school.

“Were your classes in English?” 
Yes, Konkuk offers classes taught in English for a variety of majors. I was taking electives and most of them were English literature classes. There is an important element missing when you ask this question, and that’s the professor’s command of English. His or her proficiency has a HUGE impact on the class. 

All of my professors at Konkuk were Korean with English as a second language. There were two that should not have taught in it, to be honest, and there is no excuse for their lack of fluency. Now, I am not saying everyone should be fluent in English, please don’t misunderstand. These are college level classes, and the professors are paid specifically to teach them in English. These professors led cyclical lectures that left both foreign and Korean students confused. One memorable lecture consisted of the same three sentences over and over…for three hours. No one had any idea where he was trying to go, and it was frustrating. Another just spoke a lot of nonsense; she would start off on point, but lose it quickly. I can’t say if she was just an ineffective instructor, but she was unable to answer questions asked in English by students, so there was no way to clarify. (The class was mainly foreign students, out of around 40 of us only two were Korean) 

On the other hand, one of my professors had excellent English, and because of that, I found his classes most comparable to mine back in the States. 

“Were they challenging? Did you get a lot of work?” 
No and yes. As you can probably garner from reading the last question, it depended on the professor. Classes with professors who were less proficient were challenging in that they were frustrating without any clarity. The workload varied from class to class, for the one I only had a take-home midterm, a short paper, and a final. However, I had one professor for two classes, and he gave a ton of work. I had to read a play a week for each class, and then take a quiz on the reading. He also assigned two papers per class, a group project, and really hard midterms and finals. Most of my friends found the workload light though, so as with classes here, it depends on the professor! 

“What was the same/different to classes in the US?” 
This depends on your home school. For me, it was pretty similar. Class size was around 30-40, which isn’t far off from the 20-30 at my home school. I was also used to three-hour classes, since some of mine here are the same. One thing I noticed to be different was class participation. Here, most of my classes put an emphasis on participating in class by answering questions or in-class activities. Although my one professor did do group discussions, for the most part class was lectures without any questions. When I asked my friends, they agreed that lectures without student participation were the standard. 

“What was Korean language class like?” 
The first thing is, the placement test is a joke. According to that thing, you are either a beginner or fluent. I am truthfully somewhere in between and was placed in beginner. So, everything was review… 

I often served as translator for our teacher, who did not speak English well. The class was fun; I liked the other students and our teacher. Grading was pass/fail, there was a midterm and final, and we often had workbook pages as homework. So, it was a pretty typical language class. 

If you really are a beginner, which some of the students were, it probably would have been the perfect pace. However, if you aren’t, it’s too easy. 

“What was grading like?” 
Pretty lenient, most of us got easy As, although I didn’t completely BS assignments. I would say I didn’t put the same amount of time into my work there as I do here. 
I finished the semester with a GPA over 4.0. So any complaints made here do not come from a “he/she flunked me!” ^_~ 

Have any more questions? 
Feel free to ask, and I’ll answer to the best of my ability! ^^ 
“See” you tomorrow!


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