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NewsThe News articles are written and reviewed by SNU student editors and faculty members.

SNU in Beijing, Tokyo, Washington and Moscow

  • May 22, 2015
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The SNU in World Program is a study abroad program launched by Seoul National University Office of International Affairs. This program was initiated in 2011 to offer SNU students a chance to deepen their understanding of major countries around the world. At present, six programs are offered each summer (SNU in Beijing/Tokyo/Moscow/Paris/Berlin/Madrid) and one program during winter (SNU in Washington), allowing a total of approximately 300 participants every year. By providing students various lectures on each country's society, culture and language, SNU aims to cultivate global leaders with a wider perspective of the world. According to Graduate School of International Studies’ (GSIS) Professor Shin Sungho, who is in charge of the program, the programs’ purpose is to equip students with experience and knowledge from overseas so that they will eventually contribute to Korea’s future development.

All seven programs are offered to SNU undergraduate students with the exception of students on leave of absence or graduation candidates. Graduate students may apply to a separate, graduate student version of SNU in Tokyo that is also offered in summer. Fees may vary depending on the particular program, but the Office of International Affairs covers expenses for accommodation and cultural visits.

SNU in Beijing

SNU in Beijing is the largest one of all the SNU in World programs
SNU in Beijing is the largest one of all the SNU in World programs

SNU in Beijing was launched in 2011 with the purpose of cultivating global leaders by enabling 120 selected SNU students to gain a thorough understanding of China. The first SNU in World program, SNU in Beijing is divided into two sections, the 'Chinese Intensive Course' and 'Understanding Contemporary China,' with classes being held at both Seoul National University and Beijing Normal University in order to provide students with an opportunity for academic, cultural and social experiences. 'Understanding Contemporary China' especially consists of lectures from some of the most renowned Korean experts on China as well as prominent Chinese scholars. By successfully completing this program, participants can earn six credits.

As the professors who created this program have acknowledged, SNU in Beijing is very ambitious in terms of the amount of material each participant is expected to digest. The duration of this summer program is eight weeks, with this year's program in particular lasting from June 22 to August 15, 2015. The first four weeks of the program will be held at SNU, during which students take 30 hours of lectures on contemporary China and 84 hours of intensive Chinese language study that amount to approximately one semester's syllabus of a typical beginner- or intermediate-level Chinese course at SNU. Then in Beijing, where the latter half of the program takes place, students take 60 hours of additional intensive language classes taught by Chinese teachers at Beijing Normal University. Also, 30 more hours of lectures on China's history, politics, economy, culture and philosophy are given by important intellectuals in modern China, including Professor Sun Ge, a key figure in modern Chinese literature, history of modern Japanese thought and comparative cultural studies.

In between taking courses, students must also complete a group project for which they are expected to investigate a specific issue and give a presentation on the outcome of their research. Examples of topics explored last year include China's public square dancing culture and China's water crisis. As for the extracurricular activities of SNU in Beijing, visits to the Great Wall, Korean embassy, and Korean corporations aim to enhance on-site experiences. Additionally, students are paired up with language exchange partners, most of whom are Chinese university students majoring in Korean, so as to further practice their speaking skills and learn more about Beijing's everyday lifestyle.

The accommodation for the one-month stay is Beijing Normal University's International Student Dormitory, which is just a five-minute walk from the lecture hall. HAN Myeong Yun (Dept. of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development), a participant of SNU in Beijing 2014, expressed that staying in the same dormitory with all the participants was a memorable experience because it was a chance for her to become great friends with students from various departments at SNU."I especially enjoyed staying up late into the night with my group members. Chatting about China and working for long hours on the group project allowed me to become very close to many of the participants in a relatively short amount of time."

SNU in Tokyo

SNU in Tokyo program
SNU in Tokyo program

SNU in Tokyo is a unique program that brings together fifteen SNU students with fifty University of Tokyo students. Comprehensive understanding regarding South Korea’s neighboring country, Japan, and strengthening SNU’s ties with the University of Tokyo, are the main purposes of the academic trip. Additionally, lectures at the University of Tokyo and students’ participation in field work provide an integrative experience of both academia and everyday life.

In July, students take intensive Japanese language courses, preparing them for the academic field work. From August 3-12, students take the same five courses as the University of Tokyo students on Japanese politics and international relations, economics, and business, as well as Japanese society and culture. From August 17-26, students from both universities take five courses on Korean politics and society, as well as Korean economy, taught by SNU professors. All courses are taught in English.

CHOI Yoon Hee (College of Liberal Studies) participated in the first SNU in Tokyo in the summer of 2013. She recounts that the “most memorable moments of the program were the visit to the Korean embassy, meeting with Japanese politicians, and the debate with students of the University of Tokyo” which gave her hope about strengthening the relationship between the two countries.

Unlike other SNU in World programs, SNU in Tokyo is also offered to an additional fifteen students enrolled in graduate schools at SNU. The graduate school program in Tokyo provides scholars opportunities to engage in field work in Japanese studies and form networks with scholars in Japan. The participants must perform two weeks or more of field work in Japan.

SNU in Washington

SNU in Washington
SNU in Washington

SNU in Washington is a winter program that was launched to enhance the global competitiveness of SNU students. Washington D.C. was chosen as the place of study because of the city's significance as the capital of the United States and also as the center of world politics and international relations. Around 50 students are selected each year, and the program is largely divided into lectures taken at SNU prior to departure and field studies at Washington's major government agencies, international organizations and research institutes. By successfully completing this program, participants can earn three credits.

The duration of SNU in Washington is about two weeks in total, with the most recent program lasting from January 12 to 16 and from January 28 to February 7, 2015. Before leaving for Washington, participants must attend 5-6 sessions held at SNU, during which they listen to 12 hours of lectures on American politics, society, economy, foreign policy and culture. These pre-departure lectures are then followed by 11 days of the program in Washington D.C., where participants listen to lectures given by members of notable think tanks such as CSIS, the Brookings Institution and the World Bank. Participants also have an opportunity to visit well-known sites including the White House, U.S. Capitol, Smithsonian Museums and the Pentagon. Furthermore, group projects aim to enhance collaborative abilities as well as allowing students to challenge themselves in a foreign country. Besides all of the academic components planned by SNU in Washington, perhaps the most appealing aspect of this program is that students are embarking on an overseas journey. Because it is possible to travel freely before or after the official program agenda, participants can choose to explore other aspects of the city on their own. JUNG Woo-chae (College of Liberal Studies), who participated in SNU in Washington 2014, explained that spending time in a new environment that is very different from one's own is a special experience that the program can offer."Because this program was a journey," she remarked,"the voices of the experts we met and the stories of our fellow participants came to me as more original and intriguing."

SNU in Moscow

The SNU Office of International Affairs initiated SNU in Moscow in 2014 in order to motivate students to learn more about Korea’s historical and geographical neighbor. It is composed of 78 hours of Russian language training and 42 hours of the course “Understanding Modern Russia,” taught by literature and political science professors renown in Russian studies at SNU. After two weeks of completing the basic lessons at SNU, students attend a three-week program at the University of Moscow. Thirty students are selected every year to explore Russia in-depth.

As with the other SNU in World programs, participants engage in team projects and give presentations on their area of interest before going to Russia. Through excursions and cultural activities, students further expand their understanding through first-hand experiences. KIM Ha Young (College of Liberal Studies) remarked of his first visit to Russia as “enlightening especially because of the lectures given by professors from the University of Moscow on Russian politics, society, and culture, not from the habitual position of the United States and the West, but through Russia’s eyes.”

Written by BAE Su Hyen and YOON Jiwon, SNU English Editors, , suhyenbae@snu.ac.kr, jiwonyoon@snu.ac.kr,
Reviewed by Eli Park Sorensen, SNU Professor of Liberal Studies, eps7257@snu.ac.kr
Proofread by Melora Brett Briana Johnson, SNU English Editor, morningcalm2@gmail.com

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