Getting a Korean language scholarship at Geumgang University

It’s the second week of my first semester at Geumgang University (GGU) as a Korean language student. School has officially started for the other students, but for us foreigners studying Korean here, it has been pretty chill so far (more on that in a future post). I had a thought to blog about my entire experience studying here because information is sparse about this on the Internet, so here I am! Let me say this first, I am not affiliated in any way to the scholarship committee. So these are all my thoughts and assumptions.

First up, how to be a recipient of the much sought-after 1,500,000 won scholarship. Well, they used to sponsor for the 500,000+ won dormitory fees previously as well, but sadly, not any more. ;( You will need to submit a bunch of documents, all of which are listed on their website. But let me talk about the more worrisome ones.

Self-introduction video in English. I think 90% of us are camera-shy, and the thought of having to talk about yourself to a camera for a short period of time is terrifying. I wanted to die by the end of rehearsing, filming and restarting over 30 times. Yeah, 30 times. I’m that terrible with the number of NGs. I asked a fellow scholarship recipient, and she had the exact same experience.

But please relax. What they want to know is your level of English proficiency. After all, GGU wants you here for their language exchange partnership where you help about 4 of their students with English. You don’t have to do a super long video about you from birth to now either. A 2–3 minute video will probably do. That’s what I submitted anyway. So just practice and rehearse, or even write down on a piece of paper and stick it behind the camera like what newscasters do so you will be able to quickly glance at it if you forget what to say.

The statement of purpose is probably a check for your intention for wanting to stay in Korea for a semester. I suppose if there’s nothing sinister, you’ll pass easily. I wonder if they use this to check our standard of written English too.

Another requirement which probably takes some time is the health screening. You will most likely need to be on an empty stomach (no food, or beverage for at least 9–12 hours before), so it’s best to do it in the mornings. (I didn’t know about this and was too near the deadline, so I went even after having a small breakfast, and lied to them that I had an empty stomach. As long as your health is pretty good, and not a borderline case, it shouldn’t really matter. ;p) Make sure to bring GGU’s health certificate form for them to fill in.

For the letter of recommendation, I did up a draft, and submitted the soft copy to my boss for review and to print with the company’s letter head and sign. There are many examples of such letters online where you can learn to write from.