Tell us a few words about your appointment as September 1, 2023 and the role of the Vice-President of International Affairs.
I have been working hard as the international director for 8 years, but I am very worried because I was appointed to a new position instead of the original one. I can't put it exactly, but the 'International Vice-Chancellor' is responsible for overseeing everything related to international relations in our school. In particular, the recent rapid population decline has led to a policy change that allows foreign students to settle in Korea rather than go to their own countries after education, and we are also considering the direction of our school.
Can you explain the meaning of the changed international student?
In the past, foreign students were only accepted as students outside of the quota, so it was not meaningful from the university's point of view. However, now that the school-age population is decreasing, international students are having a tremendous impact on the total number of enrolled students. Our school is not concerned, but we should prepare in advance, not just looking at the situation of other schools. Internationalization of Koreans is also essential because foreigners, both school and nationally, are now the ones who should live with us.
What are the international advantages of Keimyung University?
KMU’s status abroad is very high. We are said to be an internationalized university that was born to the extent that foreigners did it from its inception. In a way, thanks to this, it was able to become a certified university of the 2023 Education Internationalization Competency Certification System, and now it is also aiming for a leading international cooperation university project. In fact, our school is attracting many internationalization-related projects done by the government.
What do you think you can learn from a situation where you often encounter foreigners?
There are many international students who are not good at Korean, and this is the same as the difficulties Korean students face when they go abroad even if they have studied English. In this situation, Korean students should help foreign students a lot and grow together. I hope you remember that you can learn the way of thinking and culture of foreigners without having to go abroad while hanging out with foreign students. We should be aware that we should live with foreigners in consideration of the future, not the present.
What is the most important part of the active exchange between foreign and Korean students?
When you say foreign students, first of all, students are scared of language barriers. The most important thing is to open your mind, and communication is not a big problem because it is possible for international students to some extent. International students may not be good enough to study, but they are not good enough to make friends. So I think it's possible if you just want to accept it as a friend. I think it would be good if many Korean students don't get afraid and approach foreign friends first.