President Stanley visits South Korea, establishes partnership in education

Oswego State and Gimpo Foreign Language High School in Seoul, South Korea signed a memorandum in December forming an educational partnership between the two schools.

Joshua McKeown, Director of International Education and Programs, was alongside President Deborah Stanley throughout this cooperation. McKeown described Gimpo Foreign Language High School as a “high quality, rigorous school typical of the educational system in Korea, which is excellent.”

While the relationship and program details are still in their very early stages, Oswego State anticipates an expanding collaboration by sending Oswego State students and graduates to teach English at the school.

“President Stanley is committed to expanding opportunities for Oswego students to engage with peers and cultures beyond our borders,” said McKeown said. “Building new relationships like this is a way to open rich and productive pathways for bringing more international students to our campus and sending more members of our campus community abroad to learn and establish meaningful connections.”

Many Oswego State students, including Julia Graham, a sophomore teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) and linguistics major, welcomes this exciting news and believes this program will be beneficial to both Oswego State and Gimpo students.

“A program like this allows South Korean students to become better English speakers, and it gives teachers the amazing opportunity of teaching abroad, which is what I want to do someday,” Graham said.

Another TESOL major, Audrey Downey, holds the same goal as Graham. Downey is in her junior year and has taken many TESOL and linguistics classes. She believes Oswego State graduates will make this cooperation very successful.

“They are going to be great teachers,” Downey said. “The TESOL program here is really tough, which makes it really good. The professors push you and push you because they want the students to perform the best they can as teachers.”

Gimpo Foreign Language School is currently only discussing receiving teachers from Oswego State. Bong In-kun, the school’s principal stresses there is certainly a high demand for native English speakers who have been properly trained to teach non-native speakers at his institution.

“We have emphasized mastering diverse languages, let alone having good command of English,” Bong In-kun told The Korea Times.  “We need well-qualified native teachers to pursue this goal.”

In addition to exchanging college students, Oswego State also looks forward to bringing Gimpo students and educators to campus for special programs and in the summer months.

It would be a stepping stone for Gimpo students to learn more about American college education and possibly attract these students to pursue their undergraduate education in the United States.