EVEN THOUGH THEY ARRIVED during a frigid cold snap this January, Oswego gave a warm welcome to 40 South Korean students who enrolled as part of a 1+3 agreement with Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul.
They were paired with current Korean students to serve as mentors, and housed in Hart Hall Global Living and Learning Center. Cooper Dining Hall added sticky rice and kim chee to the menu for every meal and Dining Services presented each student with a set of stainless steel chop sticks, the favored eating utensil in Korea.
Their Oswego sojourn promises to contrast considerably from the urban lifestyle at Hankuk University, however.
“It’s very big here,” said Hunmin Jung, a sophomore studying accounting. “We can enjoy nature and go anywhere … here you can enjoy the campus life.”
Several students noted the lakeside location of Oswego and its relative proximity to New York City and Canada as draws to enrolling here. SUNY’s reputation for academics is also important, students said.
“Oswego has a good program in accounting, better than in Korea, I think,” said Jung, who would like to become a CPA. Majors of the Hankuk students vary, though, from business administration to political science to English literature.
Na Kyung Kwon ’15 was eager to get started on her graphic design degree at Oswego while Yungmin Chung ’14 looked forward to watching hockey and getting involved in a student organization.
“I want to improve my speaking and writing skills,” Haengwoo Cho ’13 said,
sharing his goal with several others taking part in the program. Almost equally universal: the desire to network and make friends stateside.
The Office of International Education and Programs, a cross-campus committee and the college’s new Institute for Global Engagement have worked with Korean faculty and students to make sure the college is ready in terms of welcome, housing, curriculum, professional development and campus culture.
With the arrival of some 40 degree-seeking South Korean students in January, SUNY Oswego’s international student population topped 200 for the first time.
“We are positioned to welcome a large cohort of international students, and in so doing to grow the profile of international students on this campus,” said Joshua McKeown, director of international education and programs. “I feel very confident of where SUNY Oswego is in terms of welcoming international students. We have seen tremendous campus buy-in.”
McKeown and others pointed to numerous benefits of a growing population of students from other countries: amplifying intercultural awareness in an era of globalization; boosting interest among Americans to study, teach or do research abroad; establishing relationships with students from new global economic powerhouses; and presenting the opportunity for lifelong friendships.