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1. [Quick introduction] Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Igor Ferreira and I’m from Brazil. I’m currently enrolled in Master’s course in Robotics department. Among various labs, I’m in rehabilitation engineering lab. This is my third semester in DGIST. Before coming to DGIST, I did exchange program from 2014 to 2015 at Seoul national university (SNU).
2. [Food problem] Does the food in our campus fit you? If the student cafeteria does not fit you what do you eat as a lunch or dinner?
At the beginning, I was taking all the meals from student cafeteria and dormitory cafeteria even though I didn’t like it. This was because I don’t enjoy cooking for myself and it is stressful for me to share the kitchen in student dormitory. But after some point, I stopped eating breakfast from student cafeteria and started buying breakfast. The food I get from outside market has much better quality and same price compared to the food from student cafeteria. Also, I started having health problem with the food from student cafeteria. After I stopped eating them, the problem was completely solved. Right now, I buy things such as cereals or toasts for my breakfast.
Cafeterias from university building(E7) have no problem for me. Most of the time, we have two options to go(staff cafeteria, student cafeteria), and I usually go to staff cafeteria. For the weekends, I was using student cafeteria from the dormitory but it was much worse than the one from university. One of my friends tried to complain about this problem with the help of Akino from International Affairs team, but the managers were giving only random excuses. Right now, I found that the student cafeteria no longer opens on weekends. I don’t understand why the school accepted the cafeteria to close instead of changing the company or giving another solution. Even though SNU had same company, food there was okay. I do know that SNU has much bigger campus and people, but I think the food quality is a different problem to think of.
3. Difficulties related to Administrative Process (DGIST, Government etc.)
3-1. [Moving to new dormitory] We heard that students had to move on to new dormitory. What was the biggest problem from this?
They noticed about one months before moving into new dormitory. We had deadlines to move on. The biggest problem was that construction process was not over even before we started moving into the new dormitory. When we arrived, the construction of the first and second floor was not done and the rooms that we were supposed to live in were too dirty and smelled bad. So, we had to move back to our room, unpack our stuff and clean the new room first. After we moved on, the construction was still ongoing. All the noises and dusts came into our room. People living close to the construction site had to close their window for all day. Before this semester, there was a notice that the rooms are going to be cleaned, but we were already living in there for four months.
Another point people complained about was that there is no advantage of moving to new building with almost same price. Everything was worse. The basics for living were insufficient. There was no kitchen and we had only two or three washing machines. The room was smaller, the cabinets were not installed, and the shower and toilet is combined. At the time, there were even no common rooms. Every time when I tried to call my family, I had to sit outside and talked.
The construction finally concluded just before this semester. Right now, kitchen and common rooms are made. I think kitchen here is better than the one from old dormitory. But the process of having appropriate kitchen in our building was really hard.
3-2. [Moving to new dormitory] Was there any chance for international students to speak out regarding this problem? Also, (if it really happened) is there any organization that can help international students and be able to deliver the opinion or proposal to school?
We had a meeting to share opinions between graduate students and school managers. I couldn’t go there, but some of my friends participated. They told me that most of the discussion was spoken in Korean, and instead of giving any solutions, they only gave excuses for this change.
4. Getting information from the school
4-1. How do you usually get information from school?
I think it depends on which department delivers the information. The student affair team is responsible for some things related to international students like health insurance. Like this kind of information, international students are usually noticed by Email in English. But in case of the information related to dormitory, usually they are not translated in English. Some announcements are translated in English if the information is ‘really really important’. But most of the time, the manager uses Google Translation. If it is ‘not a really really important information’, he just sends it in Korean. So, we cannot receive correct information from dormitory department. For example, about one month ago, when the room card was changed, we didn’t know about that since the announcement was only in Korean. Only after I asked one of my Korean friend who had different room key, I noticed there was change in the room key system. Sometimes, Global lounge and International affair team translate really important information, but most of the information are not delivered through international students if we don’t ask them first.
Global lounge is very useful. When international students have problem not only related to school but also private issues, global lounge can help them to find the appropriate person who can solve their problem. Also, they offer translation service to deliver your problem to the person who cannot speak English.
4-2. How about the school website? I saw the English version of the website but most of the website was Korean. Is it comfortable to use?
When I arrived, the website was much worse than now. There was no explanation to international students about how we can change personal information. And most of things were in Korean. But now, I think it is much better to use. Luckily, I only have to use particular parts already translated in English. So, I don’t feel much difficulty to use the website.
4-3. In case of undergraduate students, they have their own community like facebook groups or group chat to share the information. Are there any communities for international students or graduate students?
There is one community for international students in facebook and kakao talk. Usually people post some information but I quit facebook so I don’t know exactly about that.
4-4. What are the benefits you got from DGIST?
I think the main benefits are scholarship and health insurance. And the Korean class also can be the benefit. Although many international students don’t want to take the Korean course because of lack of time, I think Korean class has to be incentivized for DGIST to become a bilingual campus. But the classes have only 2 levels which are too basic for me. I talked many times to the international affair team that to make a bilingual campus, making international students speak Korean is also necessary, not only making Koreans speak English. So, I think school has to provide more various levels and high-quality classes.
5. What made you come to DGIST? Is there any motivation that made you choice the lab you are in?
First, DGIST is a new education and research institute that has great facilities and a lot of funding. In the lab, I can use really good equipment and study with excellent professors and students. Second, most of the universities required Korean fluency. But DGIST didn’t need it because DGIST advertise itself as bilingual campus. At last, I wanted to be involved in part of the people who make DGIST better. Still, DGIST needs more effort to improve communication between international students and Korean people and to become really ‘bilingual.’
From the reporter
This interview has its purpose on revealing various problems that most international students have and improving interaction between international students and other DGIST members.
Reporter Seoyoung Jun firstname.lastname@example.org
Reporter Tae Seong Lyu email@example.com