With the intense summer semester almost coming to an end and preparation going in full swing for the graduation event of 2017 fall students, to be held on the 6th of August, the dean of KDI School You, Jong-il and some of the faculty members made themselves available to answer questions from students in a “Meet the Dean” forum on July 18th, Wednesday, initiated by the Student Affairs Division. The event was held in the Lincoln Hall, and was open to all the 2018 spring international students as an ongoing effort of the school to strengthen the school community.
Highlighting the importance of education and acknowledging the difficulty involving in pursuing a graduate study in a foreign land, the dean You allowed students to be absolutely free to voice out any complaints, suggestions, and advises which would help the school to serve them better and make their stay a wonderful one. “We try to give you the best education we can and provide you the best support. However, I am sure you will have complaints and suggestions” added the dean with a laugh. With this, the event was opened to the students.
The event saw students suggesting a greater need for diversity and visibility for KDI School. One of the international students from Afghanistan, Mr. Samim suggested that KDI School could organize short exchange visits to other universities in Korea. “Speaking from my personal experience, ever since I have been here, I have never had the opportunity to interact with students of other universities,” said Samim. “This could give us a better understanding of how the higher education system works in Korea and also would greatly help the international students to know more about the life in Korea particularly in other campuses,” he said.
For Samim, having such a program will also provide a kind of break from the monotonous routine of just trotting between class and the dormitory. The dean responded with an acknowledgment that the school is quite isolated and that the students deserve to be offered more opportunities for interactions. Dean assured to look in to organizing such activities and also reminded the crowd about the upcoming field visit to the Korea Broadcasting Service and the National Assembly. “Such activities are one of the ways we try to liberate you from this camp” added the dean which enticed massive laughter from the students.
Students also voiced complaints about the cafeteria food menu which most often lacked vegan or vegetarian options on the menu, considering that there are international students who are vegetarian or have various religious dietary restrictions. On top of that, with an intense academic schedule and with no good restaurant nearby, the only option for them to go to is the cafeteria which should offer some good choices for food. In response to the students, Mr. You said that the matter would be taken into consideration and acted upon immediately. “I am extremely sorry for this, and I promise to address this matter as soon as possible” added Mr. You.
As the environment became more open and convivial, students raised their hands to grasp the microphone being passed around to share their opinions, they brought up a range of topics such as academics, scholarship, food, health, medical facilities, pregnancy and many more. They openly shared a wide range of feelings, concerns, perspectives, and questions which were taken positively with a genuine willingness to listen and a promise to address it by the dean and the faculty in attendance.
After the event concluded, students heaved a sigh of satisfaction and were very impressed that the dean and the faculty took the time to meet and listen to them.
“It is easy to communicate over an email or a magazine or a website but it’s really great to meet them in person and talk to,” said a satisfied Loyce, an international student from Tanzania.
Tshering CHOKI (2018 MDP, Bhutan)