Dear English department,
How are you, all? I hope you are all okay there. I am writing this email to share about my study and life here in Korea.
First of all, I have just done my second final this week. Time does fly really fast. I still can remember the very first day I arrived here in Korea, and know nothing about Korea. But today, I am in my fourth month already… Whoooaaa…So, what I’ve learnt during the last 4 months?
Anyway, I would like to share about the classes I have taken during the spring semester. I have to confess that I really like the entire courses I’ve done this semester
1. The Literature class
This is the only class which was taught by Korean lecturer. His name is Prof. Young-min Kim. He is very kind yet so strict in giving score. Through this semester we have learnt about one main topic: identity. So, we learn more and more about ‘identity’ through readings and movies. At first I thought his class is the hardest class and I am not sure whether I can finish this class or not, but it turn out that I like this class. Literature class is a self reflecting class. So, through all the writings that we’ve read and movies that we watched, we are asked to be able to answer these questions: Who am I? Why I am exist in this world? I should I go far away from my country? Should I travel overseas to know about myself? Why should I read with my voice? Would I get a better understanding than just read the text in my mind? Also unique questions such as: What is human? Human is a body, mind and soul. Since soul is something that we cannot control, let’s just forget it for a while. Therefore, now a human is both a body and mind.The next question would be, if you love someone? Could you please tell me, do you love his body or his mind? Could it be both?
These are the question that we always discussed in his class. And I learn that actually some of these questions are quite interesting, especially when we learned about Diaspora, travelling and moving.
Prof. Young-Min: May be you have been living too long in your country. You can’t describe who your friend is or explain why you are with them. You’ve been too close with them. And since you have been living like that every day, you can’t even describe yourself anymore. Your friends are just the same, and maybe they can’t even criticize you anymore.So that is why a journey is important. Please, just go! Be separated for a while, go very far away and then do come back. Compare yourself with other people, other citizen, meet new people, new life, and new way of living, and find a new city. You’ll be surprised by the result. By doing this you will have time to discover yourself.
Well, this is what’s happening to me now. I am living a new life in a new world. However, he never told us the score yet until all the semester is done. So, I am kind of nervous to see the result of my essay, exam and etc. I hope I am not screwed up.
2. Second class: Grammar and Speaking Class.
The lecturer of this class is Prof. Maya Weimer. She is a nice Asian American professor. Even though by the appearance she might look like Asian but she is 100% American. Well, in grammar class actually it is pretty much the same with I’ve done in Indonesia. But, since she is American, the difference would be: all the explanation is in 100% English (which is rather ‘wow’ for a grammar class). The unique things in this class are:
The exam is just like a normal grammar quiz but it is only half point. The other half point is taken from our movie response. We have to make a movie response and use all the grammar things that we’ve been learning for two months (2 month before mid, 2 month before finals). We can write anything about the movie, about the actors, the lesson, the cinematography, the plot, the stupid director or anything… as long as we use the grammar she asked and also explain our reason rationally.
3. Academic Writing Class
This academic writing class is quite funny and unique.
The lecturer is a very young (and attractive) American lecturer. He comes from Boston. Anyway, the writing here might be not as complicated as the essay writing I’ve done in 3rd semester. Persistently, he urges us to write a paragraph each week with a certain topic. But, since he is a real American lecturer he is so … uhm, what do I have to write, so detail in correcting our text. He teaches us to write and to gain more creative idea and how to attract the reader (western reader).
4. And finally the last class: Discussion and Presentation Skill J
I have to say, among all the class I take, this one would the best class I have. The professor, Charles Montgomery was a marketing director in US before he finally decided to be a lecturer.
And, since he was a marketing director he is just like the master: in public speaking thing. In this class, he teaches us: how to do a presentation for a western audience. It turned out that all the presentation I’ve done before would be just rubbish in his eyes.
To create a presentation with a western mind, there are a lot of things to learn.
·We learn about western and eastern mindset.
It is about what how the western think compared to asian. For example: western never have a grey area. It is always about black vs white, right vs wrong. On the other hand, asian are always taught about yin-yang; two possible ideas at the same time, balance and harmony.\
·Reading and understanding the body language, gesture and implicit message.
·Using power word and evil word
·Understanding the quadrant brain (the analytical, visionary, organized, interpersonal), and learning how to persuade them. What kind of tenses we have to use? What kind of words we have to choose. For example: the visionary brain.
How to persuade them to stop the war? Since they are an explorer, and visionary, use the future tense. “Imagine the world without a war…etc”. On the other hand, for an organized brain: we have to give plans, steps, and logical action to persuade them to stop the war.
Prof. Charles Montgomery also gives us “eccentric” task.
1.We have to create an advertisement. We (the student) are working for McDonald. Then, we have to create an adv about McDonald for a certain country: Africa, Norway, and India. Before that, we have to observe the adv of MacDonald in: Egypt, Japan, china, korea, and France. The result is so shocking!! From only the adv, we can learn that:
Israel : is a tool of American. Because in the adv, it is showed that McD staff in Israel are kidnapped to make one burger for President Bush.
Egypt : Man is a macho guy, romantic culture. But woman is less important. Because the man is choosing French fries more that the woman. This kind of adv will never happen in US.
Japan : nothing more but sensuality. Selling tomato burger. So healthy food is important for Japanese.
France : everyone is accepted in McDonald. Even a gay can have a date in McDonald. (This adv will never happen in Indonesia J). So, for our task, we have to create the whole thing: the concept, the plot, what is the motto? Who will be the actor/ actress? What is the food which is accepted in that country? The duration?Above all, how to present our idea in front of the McDonal manager? Should we create the ppt? with drawing board, etc…
2.Selling an Ice Machine to ESKIMO
How to sell an Ice Machine to an Eskimo society? Why would the Eskimo buy the machine? What is their basic need? Are they still living in igloos?
3. The last but not the least, we have to submit 2 project for final.
Since currently, the company prefer video, so we have to create video each person.
It is a video for internship, working in a Korean English literature website for youth.
Pressure point: Why should the director hire you?
The video is due this week, and next week, I have to do a solo formal presentation for my final grade.
Solo presentation, seems like so easy and common, but in this kind of presentation, the professor would grade every single things about the presentation.
My body language, my gesture, my ppt. Why you choose the color scheme? Why do you pick this pict? Why do you use this font? All these questions must be answered at that time. So, I have to be very careful for the details
That’s all what I’ve been learning through this semester. I am sharing these stories just to share my happiness, here.
Putri Rindu Kinasih*
* Putri is a student of English department who is currently studying in Korea. She has been granted a-one year scholarship in a Korean university for her outstanding performance during her study here, with us.