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Study Abroad - From the world to WASEDA -

From Korea to Waseda

Mr. Sun Jung Min
Foreign Exchange Student, Graduate School of Education

Studying Japanese to become an instructor

Mr. Sun, who spent a year and a half in Japan as a foreign exchange student, majored in Japanese language education at the Korea University Graduate School of Education. Mr. Sun is the oldest son in his family and has finished military service. He was 27 years old at the time of his participation in the foreign exchange program, and his family raised doubts about the need for foreign study at his age. "There are still parts of Korea that are bound by traditional thinking and social restrictions," says Mr. Sun.

He began studying Japanese as a second language when he was in his 2nd year of high school. "For some reason, I liked kanji (Chinese characters," says Mr. Sun in fluent Japanese. He majored in Japanese in college. "Ever since I was little, I had a vague feeling that I wanted to become a member of the military," says Mr. Sun. He had considered using his Japanese ability to work as a military officer at the Korean Embassy of Japan. However, this dream did not come true for Mr. Sun, and he enrolled in a teacher-training course with the intention of becoming a Japanese instructor. However, he lacked the required credits. Mr. Sun vowed that this would be the time that he obtained his teaching license, and he entered the Graduate School of Education. While studying at graduate school, Mr. Sun began to believe that he would not be a convincing instructor for his students without the experience of staying in Japan.

One and a half years as a foreign exchange student

For the period of one and a half years from September of 2006 to March of 2008, Mr. Sun studied at Waseda University while receiving a scholarship from the Japanese government. At the Graduate School of Education, he specialized in "comparison of polite forms of Japanese", conducting comparative research on uses of Japanese language that are difficult even for native Japanese. This is the reason that Mr. Sun speaks such beautiful and polite Japanese. However, since Mr. Sun is a foreign exchange student, he had a number of difficult experiences studying together with native Japanese students who specialize in Japanese language research.

Foreign study and the future

Mr. Sun says that he was surprised at the international atmosphere of Waseda when he first came to our university. Before beginning his foreign studies, he had never imagined that Waseda would have so many foreign students and that he would have more opportunities to speak English. "University studies should absolutely study abroad," Mr. Sun states forcefully and with great certainty. "Students will acquire an international perspective and experience a change in their way of thinking." At the moment, Mr. Sun is busy studying for the national examination at the end of this year which will allow him to become an instructor in Korea. I hope that Mr. Sun will teach his students not only words, but will also convey his first-hand experience in Japan.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)