New Exchange Program Brings Korean Students to Campus
Galloway, N.J. — Jihoon Yang has been to the United States as part of college exchange programs in the past, but he never had a view of the beach.
Jihoon is one of 11 students from Jeju National University in South Korea who spent three weeks at Stockton University as part of the first Summer Software Exchange Program between the schools.
“It’s only three weeks. I wish it was longer,” the 24-year-old computer education major said. He had previously spent time studying at Purdue University in Indiana, but that school didn’t have the famously wide Atlantic City beaches. “The view is really wonderful. I got my shoes all wet. In Korea, the beaches are very different. They are narrow, unlike here. It’s really beautiful.”
During the time spent on the Galloway and Atlantic City campuses, the students took courses from Stockton professors in machine learning, English and American culture. They checked out Stockton’s esports lab, communicated with software experts, wrote an academic paper and participated in technology seminars.
They also interacted with Stockton students – some were mentors or chaperones and others were roommates at the Atlantic City Residential Complex.
“I think one of the best parts was the A.C. campus,” said Minseo Song, who lived in a suite with three roommates and a view of the beach and boardwalk. “It’s very fancy and very comfortable.”
The 22-year-old management information systems major said she especially enjoyed the “beautiful beach” and the “energy from other people who are doing other activities.”
She also liked spending time and sharing American and Korean food with her roommates. But the internship isn’t all about having fun.
“Honestly if some students want to just have fun, I can’t recommend this program,” Minseo said. “But if someone really wants to learn about programming and American culture, I think 100% I have to recommend it.”
Both Jihoon and Minseo praised Maria Castillo, a Stockton instructor of Spanish, for teaching the English & American Culture class.
“She teaches us not only grammar, but she tells us a lot about American culture. What they believe, how they think,” Jihoon said. “That’s really helpful for us because those things are hard to study in Korea.”
In addition to taking classes and staying on campus, the Korean students took walking tours of Atlantic City and day trips to Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and New York City. They even got to ride some roller coasters at Six Flags Great Adventure.
JY Zhou, Stockton’s director of global engagement, said one of the biggest benefits of relationships like this is that they are reciprocal, allowing Stockton students to spend time at Jeju, too. She also said the program promotes “the Stockton and American culture to our partner institutions.”
“If someone really wants to learn about programming and American culture, I think 100% I have to recommend it.”
Zhou hopes to have the summer exchange become an annual program, and Eun Jin Eun, a Jeju National University professor, couldn’t agree more.
“This is a very nice place for our students,” Eun said. “It’s very stable, and the professors are very enthusiastic in teaching. Our students are really learning so many good things here.”
Stockton’s Office of Global Engagement offers programs for students to study abroad and also is committed to providing students, faculty and staff with exposure to diverse cultural perspectives.
— Story and photos by Mark Melhorn