Winter vacation together with students from around the world
The KU International Winter Campus, the biggest winter campus program among universities
in Korea, has gathered popularity like its twin summer program.
The KU International Winter Campus (IWC), the largest program of its type in the nation, started on Dec. 27. Korea University hosted the four-week program consisting of three-week credit courses and a one-week cultural experience course.
Approximately 870 students from 70 universities in 15 countries participated in the program. The countries included Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, the United States, China, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Morocco and Georgia. The KU IWC, starting with 300 participants in 2016, commemorates its 4th anniversary this year. With participants now numbering three times as many than in that first year, the winter program has seen a rapid growth in just three years.
The 4-week program started with a matriculation ceremony and orientation held at Inchon Memorial Hall on Dec. 27. During the program, professors from prestigious universities across the world along with some KU professors teach about 30 subjects in various areas, including business administration, economics, science, and Korean language.
Jung Ho Kim, dean of the International Winter Campus (IWC) and vice president of International Affairs, said, “Korea University’s International Summer/Winter Campus is the largest short-term educational program in Asia. You’re now proud members of this prestigious program. During this winter vacation, you’ll have chances to both expand your knowledge and communicate with students from all over the world. The IWC offers systematic hands-on activities to help you better understand Korean culture and build long-lasting friendships with people from different cultures.” “I hope that you draw inspiration from your experiences in class and on the KU campus and that you can fully enjoy the program,” he added.
In his speech on behalf of IWC’s international faculty, Professor Edward Monsour from UCLA remarked, “I’ve thought about why students from all over the world come to join this camp during their winter vacation. Maybe there are many reasons for this various activities or personal plans. One thing I can say for sure is that true learning rarely happens and it requires challenge and hard work. But, once you achieve true learning, your brain will change accordingly and will be rewired to think more creatively. During this winter at the IWC, you’ll see yourself grow and you’ll be able to find good role models."
Prof. Monsour gave three pieces of advice to the IWC students. “The first thing you should keep in mind as a student is retrieval practice. You have to practice recalling what you’ve learned. It’s like asking yourselves questions. How many times do you read the same text, and, after reading, do you recall what you’ve read? Keep asking and answering yourselves about what you’ve read, ideas the text conveys, your thoughts about it, and what you’ve learned. Use flashcards, for example. Write a question on one side and the answer on the other. Flashcards are really useful. They worked for me. Before you go to sleep tonight, try ‘free recall’ with a piece of paper. For 10 minutes, jot down as much information as you can recall about what you’ve been told today. It’s good to test yourself to see how much information you can remember. Apply this method to lectures you’ve attended."
The second piece of advice is to use spaced review and practice using quiz cards. “Challenge yourself. Ask yourself. Expand what you’ve learned. The most common study method most students use is reading over your notes from class to understand them. But most students forget much of what they’ve learned after one day. If you really want to build long-term understanding, use spaced repetition. Using various colors of highlighters won’t help you with memorization,” said Prof. Monsour, emphasizing self-testing.
Lastly, he stressed the importance of elaboration. “You’ll go through learning processes you’re not familiar with. You may learn things you’ve never been told. You may experience things you’ve never experienced. How would you understand and remember them all? Everything you’re learning is somehow connected to things you already know and your own world. We’re all lifetime learners. From the moment you’re born, you start to learn. You retrieve past memories to apply them to the present. This is what you’ve been doing since your childhood.” He wrapped up his speech by saying, “I hope your changes bring about the desired results.”
In her speech on behalf of the IWC students, Nadine Valda Macdonald-Macklan from Griffith University in Australia said, “Why are we here? Why did we decide to study at Korea University? It’s because Korea University is one of the most prestigious universities in Korea. Korea University has excellent faculty. Actually, I have a little secret. One of the reasons that brought me to this country was K-pop.” She went on to say, “And I liked the fact that KU IWC offers a wide variety of course choices. I’m especially excited about a course called ‘Korean Cinema Invisible Culture.’ I already read the coursebook so many times so I can almost memorize it. I can transfer credits I earned at the IWC to my university in Australia, which will help me complete my degree earlier than expected. I also bought some Korean language books. I’m really excited to learn Korean language. As you know, the best way to learn a foreign language is to visit the country where the language is spoken. Being able to take classes at Korea University is the best opportunity to learn Korean language. And after class, we can communicate with native Koreans in Korean."
“This winter will be a special one for students like me who’ve never seen snow. All IWC students are eager to learn Korean language and culture. I hope that we can respect and interact with each other during the program and that we can build lifelong friendships and memories,” she added.
The visiting professors hail from universities that include King’s College London in the U.K., the Australian National University in Australia, the University of Wisconsin and UCLA in the U.S.
Other than academic classes taught by world-class professors, the IWC students will be given chances to participate in winter sport activities such as skiing and skating. The cultural experience course, specially designed for the IWC students, offers a Korean cooking class, Taekwondo training class, and more.
As it does for the summer program, the university organized a supporter program, called “buddy program,” for the winter one. The supporter program is designed to help foreign students adapt to living and learning environments that may be unfamiliar to them. For the KU students joining the buddy program, it can be a chance to learn global etiquette from and communicate with their new buddies.
Jung Ho Kim, Vice President for International Affairs and Dean of the IWC, said, “I think students in Korea and around the world should consider their vacations as opportunities to have new experiences, not just free time to be spent thoughtlessly.” He continued, “We prepared the IWC thoroughly in order to reflect our philosophy from the summer program and provide world-class lectures to participants. Learning both from the academic courses and cultural course we are offering, you will certainly have a chance to take yourself to the next level of self-improvement.”