What do you think about international relationships on campus?
Sure [I’m personally open to them]. I think the reason why there are hardly any international relationships is because international students don’t interact with one another enough. There aren’t many events for them to interact together, and also there is a separation between semesters [between spring-intake Koreans and fall-intake internationals]. (Young Seo Kim, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering)
The only foreigner I regularly talk to is my teammate in one of my major courses. Personally, I think this phenomenon is only natural because many Koreans in KAIST have not actively engaged in lengthy conversations in English with foreign students in high school, and they feel scared when they try to deliver their thoughts in English. But it is something that Koreans and foreigners alike have to overcome individually. (Ki Hoon Lee, Aerospace Engineering)
The relationship among international students in KAIST seems pretty good. It seems to be stronger specifically among the freshmen. This is mainly due to the fact that most of the newly admitted students are away from their home countries for the very first time, and as it is also not so easy to get along well with Koreans, they tend to befriend other international students. (Gadisa Shanko, Freshman)
Should class attendance be mandatory, or affect grades?
Personally, I think that it is nice to have something other than just exam scores, such as attendance, to determine a student’s sincerity. In the end, the person who gives the grade is the professor and they are the ones who determine the criteria for grading but I agree that attendance should be a part of it. (Yujin Richard Kim, Materials Science Engineering)
Overall, mandatory attendance is good. In my case, as a regular human being myself, I wouldn’t attend were it not mandatory. In that sense, it is very helpful. However, a lot of times in KAIST, I am wasting my time while attending certain courses. The reason is professors. Teaching skills of some professors are subpar. They barely speak English or cannot teach well. As for those courses, it is a complete waste of time, and I’d rather self-study. In the end, it all comes down to the professors. One good example of compromise, though, which I really like from my personal experience, is like so: one of my professors acknowledges that he is not good at teaching, so he allows students to leave after the attendance check. (Intizar Tashov, Freshman)
I think [class attendance] is more about responsibility. If you feel like you need to listen to lectures, then you have to go. If not, then you don’t need to go. I think it should be up to the students, but sometimes professors take attendance to see the attitude of the students. If so, then it’s also okay. (Sehyun Kwak, Nuclear and Quantum Engineering)