Language Exchange Program

Clara Setiawan (ATS1172/2172 Korean Introductory 2) talks about how learning Korean at Monash and through the Overseas Language Exchange made her experience in Korea not just great but unforgettable!

Each semester, Monash Korean Studies students are invited to participate in a virtual language exchange program via Zoom. Students are partnered with South Korean university students and meet for an hour a week over the program period.

This is one of the most popular extracurricular activities and has a waiting list. Therefore, preference was given to students who had either completed at least introductory/intermediate levels or other Korean studies content units, who had actively participated in other Korean studies activities (e.g. the research seminar and Korea Week) and/or who major in Korean.

Our Partner Universities
  • Changwon National University (CWNU; 창원대학교)
  • JeonBuk National University (JBNU; 전북대학교)
  • Seoul Women's University (SWU; 서울여자대학교)
  • Ajou University (아주대학)
50 (JBNU)
31 (JBNU)
30 (CWNU)
30 (CWNU) 
20 (CWNU)
 22 (SWU)
22 (SWU)
14 (SWU)
25 (SWU)
    19 (Ajou)
Total: 263 students
2023 Report

In the 2023 semester two Online Language Exchange program, we continued our partnership with Changwon National University (CWNU), Seoul Women’s University (SWU), and Ajou University. 20 Monash students were paired with CWNU, 25 students were paired with SWU, and 19 students were paired with Ajou. CWNU took part in a ten-week program, from 7th of August to 16th of October, while SWU and Ajou took part in a five-week program, from 11th of September to 16th of October.

Despite having a total of 64 students participate in the program, we only received ten responses on the feedback form. However, most students gave positive and detailed feedback. To the question, “Do you think your Korean language skills have improved?” and “Do you think your confidence in Korean speaking has improved?”, most students rated their improvement a four on a scale of one to five (where five means ‘very much so’ and one means ‘not at all’).

For the question, “What aspect of the language exchange did you enjoy the most?”, most students responded that they enjoyed making a new friend, while others responded that they enjoyed learning about Korean culture and having a chance to practice their Korean skills. For the question, “What was a major problem?”, while most students responded that they didn’t experience any, some students responded that there was a lack of discussion points, they couldn’t connect with their partner, and they experienced technical difficulties. Students also suggested that having more of a structure or a guide about what to discuss could improve the program. One student commented that they were very happy with the program, and they talked to their partner for two hours each week. Other students agreed that the program was helpful, and they were able to learn more about Korean culture.

2022 Report

In 2022 semester 2, Online Language Exchange with Seoul Women’s University (SWU) and Changwon National University (CWNU) took place September 14 - October 21 and August 08 - October 14, respectively. In total, we had 44 students participate in the program (14 for SWU and 30 for CWNU). Although we had a low feedback response most students noted a high satisfactory experience with the program and their partner. Students noted that they made a new friend, felt less pressure in making mistakes as it was an out-of-classroom and non-formal space, loved learning the culture and language, and learning to speak more naturally.

During the semester, we had a few students who unspokenly dropped out of the program, whilst this was resolved by replacing another student for CWNU, as we were short on the number of students for SWU, it was difficult to find a replacement. Feedback at the end of the program included requests to start earlier in the semester, and receive prompts about how to go about each week. Majority of the students appreciated the program and noted that the program was well structured.

Student Testimonials about the success of the language exchange:

  • It was really fun, and I made a good friend!
  • Was a very good program, my only suggestion is to provide a small list of topics for the first one or two sessions.
  • I really enjoyed getting to know my exchange buddy. It's really beneficial since I'm able to clarify my questions with her and vice versa through email outside of our scheduled zoom meetings.
  • I absolutely love my exchange partner and we've become good friends, but his English skills were not proportionate to my Korean skills. Because his English skills was so good, we mainly talked in English and had things explained in English, which was helpful, but perhaps wouldn't have been as effective as learning together.
  • I had a great time with my exchange partner, and we decided to keep in contact! There were sometimes we became mutually busy because of uni work and could not call as often. However, every time we did call, we had a lot to discuss from a range of topics mainly about differences or unique things about each other's countries as well as finding mutual interests/things to bond over. This is actually my second time doing this program and I would say it's better than the first, mainly due to the compatibility. I think it's an important factor for this program to work to match participants with similarities as it's difficult to keep/continue a conversation with someone you don't have much in common with. Comparing from my first experience to this one, the key differences were the gender and also age gap - we were both females and closer in age this time. Overall, I think it's a great program and opportunity for students to partake in, but I wouldn't recommend it if you're a busy person as communication is the main purpose. I'd also like to encourage people to give it a chance as personally I was a bit shy and nervous initially, but my partner and I got along really well so I'm grateful for that!
  • It was enjoyable and a great opportunity! I did not have any concerns with it. I'm not sure I used the Program to the best of my ability, but nevertheless, it was extremely insightful! Thank you for organising such an opportunity~
  • I really enjoyed the virtual exchange program this semester. I would say it was a little bit difficult at first to arrange a meeting/studying schedule with my partner because we were still shy but as time went on it became easier.
  • Thankfully, I met a great partner, so the past 10 weeks were really helpful for me to learn more Korean especially to improve my speaking skills.
2021 Report

Student Testimonials about the success of the language exchange:

It was really fun and I made a good friend!
The program was great as I got to practice all the grammar I've learnt in class. It was a great opportunity to communicate with a native Korean on a variety of topics which may not be covered in class. Through these conversations me and my partner were able to understand Australia and Korea's 문화 & 생활 so it was great! Thank you for organising this program!! Really appreciated it!
I had a great time with my exchange partner and we decided to keep in contact! There were some times we became mutually busy because of uni work and could not call as often. However, every time we did call we had a lot to discuss from a range of topics mainly about differences or unique things about each others countries as well as finding mutual interests/things to bond over.
It was really fun talking in a mix of korean and English and has made me think about my korean more lately. it's a shame it ended so quickly but my partner and I have decided to continue chatting in order to improve as we would both like to travel one day. I have learned a lot of phrases and improved my confidence whilst also learning about what I need to improve or am lacking. Time flies so fast while having fun. It's a shame it was such a quick 6 weeks but I hope to continue this longer. I hope that this program lasts longer and there are more areas to touch on in korean. I have learned from this the power of knowing vocabulary is great, just as great as vocabulary.

The hugely popular program hosted by Monash University Korean Research Hub is supported by the Core University Program for Korean Studies through the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and Korean Studies Promotion Service of the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS-2017-OLU-2250002).