Go Global, Take Part in Study Abroad Programs
Go Global, Take Part in Study Abroad Programs
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  • 승인 2011.06.08 01:50
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Globalization has become a catchword to celebrate every aspect of the modern world. In the omnipresent societal atmosphere where global literacy is indispensably valued, students are pushed to add a global specs onto their resumes, with impressive TOEFL scores being the most sought after.

Reflecting on the concept of globalization, I have come to think in a threefold way. First is the target of the globalization effort. Globalization is only truly achieved when the subject human beings are globalized. When the members of a community are globalized, there is no need to dress up the outside with the superficial glitter of globalization. Second is what it means for one to be globalized. I think being globalized, being globally literate, means to be able to embrace different cultures and peoples, neither with fear nor rejection. Last is the way of transformation. How does one become globalized? From a shallow perspective, there could also an easy answer to this question: go out there. “A hundred hearings are not worth one seeing,” as said in a Korean proverb. See the world for yourself, spend time living in a foreign environment drenched in an unfamiliar culture, and share the thoughts of the hosts.

Incredible global experience opportunities are at Postechians’ disposal. POSTECH has 85 partner universities in 22 countries around the world, and the doors of many of these renowned universities are open to Postechians through study abroad programs. Students can spend a semester or a full academic year at such distinguished universities as UC Berkeley, UIUC, TU Berlin, the University of Birmingham, Australian National University, and Tokyo Institute of Technology, to name a few. Tuition waivers are applied in most cases, and in addition, POSTECH offers scholarships to cover living expenses (a larger financial support is given in cases of the few exceptions where tuition waivers are not applied). If taking a full semester’s leave is too much of a burden, there are other options including summer session programs, summer camps and internship programs.

Through the study abroad program, students enjoy an opportunity to take classes at world-leading universities, earning credits and working toward their degrees. But the true advantage of this experience is the immersion in a foreign culture, hands-on interaction with fellow students of a different world, and acclimation to the strange air and smell of an exotic life. As the administrating department of the study abroad programs, the International Relations Office has witnessed many evidences of transformation. Students come shy and diffident asking for help during the application and admission procedures, but when they return from the dispatch, we all feel some sense of improvement in their self-confidence and extroversion. Of course they come back with improved English, but the more obvious change is their spontaneity and naturalness, rather than fear, associated with mixing with foreigners and speaking in a foreign language. Many of them end up volunteering to help and take part in the university’s international affairs, which comes to the staff of the International Relations Office as a huge and proud reward.

It is a pity that the interest and participation rate for the study abroad program is fairly low as of yet. I hope that many more students will take advantage of these splendid possibilities to broaden their horizons. It is certainly a step forward in the right direction if you are concerned about globalizing yourself.

Joon Lee
Int'l Relations office