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The impact of English language and cultural variations on Korean students in Australian undergraduate programs

By Sang Soon Park


It is well understood by international students that a high level of proficiency in English language is fundamental to successful tertiary level study in English speaking countries. The necessity for cultural adaptation also emerges as a major concern for international students. Despite there being numerous resources for international students, Korean students continue to encounter problems with English, and with some cultural variations in Australian higher education. Reference to literature, as well as anecdotal evidence suggests that Korean students frequently have difficulties adapting to academic programs delivered in English, and to adjusting to some cultural differences in English speaking contexts. This research aimed to the nature of Korean undergraduate students' experiences regarding these academic problems in undergraduate programs in the Southeast region of Queensland. Firstly, it examined traditional methods of English teaching in Korea within the context of the Korean education system. Secondly, it surveyed the suggested 'attitudes towards studying difficulties studying in the English language in Australian undergraduate study programs'. Thirdly, in-depth interviews were conducted as a follow-up investigation to clarify the issues raised through the survey. This research deals with the questions of the main characteristics of Korean students' experiences in learning English as a second language, the best preparations required for them to enter Australian undergraduate programs, the main difficulties of them in adapting to the use of the English language in general and particularly for Australian tertiary level academic purposes, and the critical cross-cultural challenges that they encounter in the Australian undergraduate programs. Finally, based on the results of this study recommendations are made to assist in two major areas: (i) to provide advice to assist Korean students and other international students in their studies in Australia and; (ii) to improve the provision of English language education in Korea

Topics: 420102 English as a Second Language, 330199 Education Studies not elsewhere classified
Year: 2006
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