Student Life


[NEWS] Helping International Students, Freshmen, and Transfer Students Adjust to School

supr 2021-05-31 266

‘Sahmook Mate’ is Welcome by Many
Leader-Mate Pairing Brings Close Support


The Center for Teaching and Learning of the SU Institute for Innovation Education (Director Kim Jeong-mi) is receiving a great response from students for running Sahmyook Mate, a mentoring program for foreign students, new students, transfer students from other schools or departments, and North Korean defector students aiming to guide and support them to adjust to their campus life.

This extracurricular mentoring service program was introduced to provide comprehensive care to students who require extra assistance and support in adapting to their life at Sahmyook University in order to prevent them from giving up learning and aims to enhance their academic achievement.

Applying for Sahmyook Mate service is easy and simple: two students from the same department need to team up as a leader (mentor) and a mate (mentee) and sign up for the program. International students are advised to find their leader with whom they can communicate in either their home language or Korean, and to carry out their work with the facilitation of their department professors and teaching assistants.

Once selected, the leader and the mate are to conduct 12 learning support activity sessions before submitting their report through the program’s portal site. The activities include information on using the campus facilities, basic study skills mentoring, and guidance on adaptation to school.

After a review and evaluation of the submitted report at the end of the semester, the leader and the mate are given a scholarship of up to 200,000 won and mileage points equivalent to 10,000 won respectively, along with a certificate of completion.

Since only a few months after its initial launch in the fall semester of 2019, Sahmyook Mate has been in full untact operation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Such limited means of communication and mentoring has led to the dropout of several teams. Against this backdrop, in order to enhance the mentoring effect, the Center for Teaching and Learning has added a new rule mandating 4 sessions of offline activities and has prepared an offline activity support system which provides study rooms and some snacks and refreshments.

Another change in the program this year is allowing freshmen to be eligible for application, as even regular new students are now found to be struggling trying to settle into campus life due to the significant reduction in the number of offline class sessions. This change, quite understandably, is drawing immense interest and attention, so much so that 22 teams among the 30 selected for this semester consisted of freshmen.

From Campus Tour to Preparations for Midterm and Final Exams

Kim Kyeong-deok, a junior in the Health and Human Performance Department, is participating in Sahmyook Mate as a leader. Kim himself had the experience of struggling with deciding on a suitable career, slacking off, and barely passing his classes in his freshman year. Then he found and participated in Step Up, another mentoring program run by the Center for Teaching and Learning, focusing on students in poor academic status or under academic probation. Thanks to all the advice from his mentors in Step Up, he successfully found a suitable career for his aptitude, transferred to the Department of Health and Human Performance, and he has seen his grades soar ever since.

Kim began to wish to help those who were going through the same struggle and difficulties as he had when he met Yang Ki-jun, a sophomore in the same department. Yang was also a transfer student from another department who was still feeling lost about his career decision, but he had no one around to ask for advice as the untact classes prolonged.

Discovering that their hopes and needs matched, Kim and Yang teamed up as a leader and a mate and applied for Sahmyook Mate. The two submitted their activity operation plan, including ‘career and job exploration in the field of health and human performance,’ ‘campus tour’ for the mate who hadn’t had many chances to be on campus due to the pandemic, ‘studying major subjects,’ ‘Havruta-based studying for midterm and final exams,’ and ‘preparation for the Computer Literacy Exam.’ Also included in the plans was to watch a professional baseball game after finishing their exams.

“I believe this program will help me boost my current level of academic achievement, find my suitable career, and help me enjoy my school life, which I haven’t been able to due to untact classes,” Mate Yang said. “Since my leader has gone through the same experience as me, I’m sure he’ll be a great help. I wish to become a better Sahmyook citizen through Sahmyook Mate,” he added.

The SU Center for Teaching and Learning operates many more extracurricular mentoring programs aside from Sahmyook Mate. For example, the Learning Community provides mentoring for studying major subjects and self-development such as acquisition of certifications, thesis research, participating in competitions, and achieving other goals. Step Up, as mentioned above, is a program that aims to help students in poor academic status or under academic probation overcome their campus life crisis.

Researcher Kim Eun-hee from the Center emphasized the effectiveness of learning through mentoring by saying, “Students can bolster self-conception through communicating and sharing with their co-learners, and they can promote the development of their social skills as members of society based on their communication and collaboration skills that they have acquired in the mentoring process.” Kim continued, “We will continue to scrutinize various factors that students struggle with when doing research to design more diverse support programs.”

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