Hanbat students leave ULM

Gwendolyn Ducre

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Eunhui Kim said her experience in the U.S. made her nervous from the moment she came into the airport. The Korean media portrayed Americans as a “selfish, arrogant and cynical people.” She feared she was going to be an object of ridicule.

Kim was one of the few students from Hanbat University in South Korea who had the chance to study at ULM for seven weeks earlier this semester.

While the trip was supposed to be a challenge for the students, Seonok Shin said it ended up being more fun than challenging.

“When I saw the bayou, I thought this school would be environmentally friendly,” Shin said. “I got to ride a canoe thanks to my friend Radu. There are no swimming pools or bayous in Korea.”

But landscape isn’t where the differences stopped.

Kim said her learning was more disciplined in South Korea. She compared it to the movie “Dead Poets’ Society,” where she learned her life motto “carpe diem” (seize the day). She said she saw Americans seizing the day during her whole trip.

Kim said the differences didn’t stop at the classroom. In South Korea, she’d been taught that American students were sexually frivolous.

“I think the problem is American movies.” Kim said. “But I was surprised at the Mardi Gras party. Seeing all the boys dancing with all the girls, I wished I could have joined in.”

Kim and Shin were both surprised, despite thinking Americans were all cynical and self-centered, at how friendly ULM students were to them.

“If I saw a a foreign student in Korea, I wouldn’t start a conversation with them.” Kim said. “I was surprised by how many students just spoke to me in English.”

Kim noticed that Americans are much more laid back than South Koreans. She said in South Korea, everyone must study hard and that they’re expected to be perfect students. The difference here was that students put their social lives first and academia second.