Hi Professor! Bonjour, Madam Park.
Hi Professor! Bonjour, Madam Park.
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  • 승인 2010.12.08 20:08
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Thinking about what stories to unpack after being suddenly asked to write an article, I cracked a smile for my old recollections.

POSTECH students of my class include undergraduates, graduates, researchers, professors and their family members, and English lecturers outside POSTECH. Since they haven’t been exposed to a Korean-speaking environment, even students with high Korean skills were not familiar with using Korean in class. What they often complain about the Korean-speaking environment is difficulty of using Korean with Korean friends. They say, if they started speaking unskilled Korean to Korean friends, they would answer in English and the conversation turns to English. Thus, they welcome a Korean-speaking environment in class. Some students ask me to explain Korean grammar in Korean despite of difficulties of understanding.

My students are full of passion and desire, as are Postechians. It feels really great for me when short-term visiting students come to learn Korean. Last year, when the whole country was blanketed with snow, one of the students called me, worrying about a cancellation of class. Far after I realized that the student has always come to the Korean class twice a week, from an hour distance, and said he would sure to come class if there was bus service. In that day, on Route 28 from Daegu to Pohang, five cars in front of mine crashed into each other. I could barely stop my car to avoid them by crashing into snowdrift. Because of the snow, I was nervous throughout the trip, and I couldn’t come back home right after class, but I felt satisfaction which cannot be described into words. The student became a graduate student of Korean history in Washington D.C, after coming back early this year. Almost all my international students love Korea even if they feel surprised themselves.

In the last week classes, there was a debate over the positives and negatives of Korea. They said it was hard to point out negatives of Korea and they experienced a lot of good things in Korea after the debate. I was surprised because I thought living in Korea would not be always happy.

There are overseas Koreans, mixed-race Koreans, and adopted Koreans among international students of POSTECH. Of course, more students have no relation to Korea. All of them have different backgrounds and reasons for coming Korea but all students have good personalities. One of the students learned Korean to write a letter as a birthday present for his Korean mother who could not use Korean after marriage, and another asked me about Korean to show thanks to Korean students by writing an appreciation in a graduation paper. The professor from Netherlands shows manners of the country of the courteous people in the East better than any Korean by drawing hands and politely greeting in every class. The student who rushed into class and said goodbye to classmates for a sudden return home, the harmonious German professor and his wife, the Japanese public official who teaches Japanese in Pohang City Hall nowadays starting from elementary Korean letters…. All of them were my great students and were my teachers who made me grow more.

I wish Korean students of POSTECH become good ambassadors of Korean language, culture, and society. Especially, my students and I practically agreed that Hangeul is far easier to learn rather than Roman letters. Of course, Korean, which shows different meanings by using diverse conjunctions and honorifics, is quite difficult. Many things about Korea and Korean language cannot be learned in class, so I want to request your help. I hope you miss Postechians as good friends, and that POSTECH is first in your minds, not only 28th in the university rankings.

Park Su-jin / Korean lecturer