Please introduce yourself.
Ravael: Hello, I am Ravael and I entered the Department of Psychology in 2021. It’s been half and year since I came to Korea.
Dongwoo Kang (hereinafter, Dongwoo): I am a friend of Ravael, and my name is Dongwoo Kang. I started my studies at the Department of French Language and Literature in 2022.
Do you have a common interest?
Ravael: We are both interested in language.
Dongwoo: I usually use Korean, English, Spanish, and French, and have a little bit of knowledge of Japanese and Russian. I started to learn Chinese recently.
Ravael: : I have also learned French, Spanish, and Chinese as well as English, but I feel I have become more fluent in Korean than the other languages. When we talk to each other, we speak either in French, English, Korean, or Spanish.
What made you to decide to study abroad in Korea? I wonder if there’s any specific reason or moment that helped you you decide.
Ravael: I thought it would be a great chance to experience a new culture while continuing my major studies. Korea University has an amazing atmosphere, a lot of events going on, and it’s good to have a chance to meet friends from other countries. I even feel comfortable enough here that it’s as if I had a family in Korea. It feels like I have a huge new world waiting for me.
How was your first impression of Korea University? I wonder what you feel is a unique appealing feature that the university has.
Ravael: When I first came to the campus, I had an impression that this university was only for those from super-rich families. But now it is just Anam. It feels literally like home, and I often say to my friends things like ‘let’s meet me at SK Future Hall' or 'let’s meet at the back gate.' I love the sense of solidarity here in Korea University.
Is there a tip that you want to share with international students who are still not familiar with Korea University?
Ravael: I learned Korean for a year before I came, but it was hard to take the bioscience class in Korean, where I was supposed to study something that I had never learned even in English. It would be better for them to learn Korean as much as possible before they come. For those who worry whether they will not be able to make any friends here, I want to recommend that they join student clubs. I want to encourage them not to be shy because you don’t have to worry about making mistakes while speaking in Korean.
From the other side, is there anything that you believe would be good fore Korean students to bear in mind when it comes to hanging around with international students?
Ravael: I think, when you meet someone, you should focus on their personal attitudes, separately from the culture or environment where they have grown up from. It would be better if you see a person without any prejudice, by simply looking at the person as they are without thinking too much about cultural differences.
Dongwoo: It seems that Koreans, who think their English is not adequate, often feel quite intimidated when the situation calls for them to speak in English with foreign students, but if you look at it from a different point of view, it is far more rare to see international students speaking fluent Korean. Even if your language skills are not perfect, you can be a friend with international students or Korean students once a conversation begins. I hope that my words can encourage them.
If there is a moment that you remember from your experience of living in Korea as a foreigner, please tell us.
Ravael: It was hard for me to talk to strangers in Korea, but one day a part-timer working in a shoe store said to me that my Korean is very good. Encouraged by that, I asked him about his social network account and followed him. Now, he has become one of my best friends in Korea, who I often talk to over the phone for three hours. And when the popular TV series ‘I Live Alone’ covered IPSELENTI on the campus, the camera caught me from behind. I got tons of calls and messages from my friends saying they recognized me immediately from the show.
When was the moment you felt that you were a ‘REAL’ Korea University student?
Ravael: When freshmen call me ‘seonbae-nim’ (‘senior’ in English), I realized that I had become a senior who takes care of them and happily pays for their meal.
The interview with Ravael was conducted at ‘Singsing Juice’, located on the basement floor of Central Plaza, the place Ravael loved most on campus. Once the interview finished, a couple of students who were passing by warmly greeted him. Despite differences in nationality and culture, if we have a positive attitude towards differences, try to learn from others, and care about those from foreign countries, warm feelings will strengthen between us.