Most of the high school graduates and their parents in Korea tend to insist on winning matriculation ‘at all cost’ at Seoul National University or other ‘prestigious’ universities in Seoul such as Yonsei, Korea, Ewha (for women), Sogang and a number of others.
However, closely examining other universities in Korea, such as those in different localities out of the capital city, one is appalled at the outstanding features of other universities in various localities, which stand out in various aspects.
The Korea Post has embarked on ‘discovering’ such universities across the country and introducing them to the students and parents for a fresh look into the reality in the educational circles in Korea.
The first university is Handong Global University (HGU) which is located near Pohang where POSCO is situated.
Unlike other universities, students at HGU come from Seoul instead of their going to Seoul from the local regions. A quick glance at a breakdown of students at HGU from different localities shows 31.2% from Seoul and the surrounding ‘Capital Zone,’ 18.7% from Daegu Metropolitan City (MC) and Gyeongsangbuk-do, 12.4% from Busan MC, Gyeongsangnam-do (including Ulsan) 9.2% from Gwangju MC and Jeolla provinces, 11.9% from Daejeon MC and Chungcheong provinces, 2.4% from Gangwon and Jeju regions.
This situation is rarely noticed with other universities in Korea, and may be construed as an indication that HGU has features that outshine other universities, including those in Seoul.
Some of them were noticed at a brief interview with President Soon-Heung Chang of the University, where he said, “We see globally and educate globally.”
According to President Chang (a Ph.D. holder from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), HGU has been writing a new history since its foundation twenty-one years ago. Its vision is to practice love toward neighbors and try to change the world by maximizing both students’ and professors’ talents.
HGU, he noted, has uniquely contributed to the advancement of undergraduate education by creatively using global human resources for holistic education that harmonizes character and knowledge. In addition, HGU has been drawing attention with its innovative educational curriculum that advances the 21st century’s requirement of learning and problem-solving in a globalized era.
Competency, he said, is strengthened not with knowledge-delivery education styles or teaching by rote memorization but with practical education that guides students in solving problems.
Dr. Chang said: “HGU helps students build their competencies through project-based courses and nurtures well-balanced talents that play an important role in the world.”
HGU has many other distinguishing features not found in its peers. For one thing, HGU is a truly globalized institute of advanced education. Here are some hard facts:
1. HGU has a total of 3972 undergraduate students, of whom 80% live on campus.
2. A total of 45 different countries of the world are represented.
3. Twenty percent of the faculty is from Australia, the United States of America, and other countries.
4. Forty-six percent of the courses are taught in English.
5. Twenty percent of the faculty is from Australia, US, Canada, South Africa, and other countries
6. Forty-six percent of the courses are taught in English.
Three Visions and 10 Projects: Another outstanding feature of HGU is the pursuit of Three Visions and Ten Projects. The Three Visions are: (1) Handong People Who Bear Fruit by Combining Upright Character and Spirituality, (2) Handong Campus Developing and (3) Giving Talents for Others.
And the Ten Projects implemented under the slogan of “Why not change the world?” are: (1) Regional Revitalization Project, (2) Uniting Korea Project, (3) Africa Project, (4) Entrepreneurship Project, (5) Smart-Financing Project, (6) Next Generation ICT Project, (7) Next Generation Cars and Robots Project, (8) Sustainable Energy Project, (9) Environment Project and (10) Next Generation Life Project. There is one more, namely the Health-Welfare Project.
Incomparably attractive scholarships, other financial assistance: Perhaps one of the most outstanding features of Handong Global University is the financial assistance, including attractive scholarships for both the Korean and international students. It might not be amiss to fully introduce the financial support and scholarship programs:
Hyundong Scholarship: This scholarship is given to the student with the highest SAT score in each entering freshman class. The Hyundong Scholarship covers tuition and registration fees and provides a monthly stipend of 200 thousand won over a period of four years
Entrance Scholarship: These scholarships are given to students with the highest entrance grades on Korean scholastic achievement test.
Merit Scholarship: Merit Scholarships are given to students with the highest grades while in attendance at the university.
Korean Veteran Scholarship: An exemption from tuition and registration fees for students whose parent is either a Korean veteran or national service personnel (4 years).
Service Scholarship: This Scholarship is awarded to students who are recognized as having rendered outstanding service to the school, and covers tuition and registration fees for the following semester in full or in part.
National Examination Scholarship: This scholarship is awarded to students who have passed a national licensing examination in one of the following areas: law, administration, technical skill or foreign affairs. Tuition and registration fees are covered in full or in part.
Labor Scholarship (Work/Study Program): The Labor Scholarship is a monthly stipend given to students working in various departments on campus.
Academic Pursuit Scholarship: These scholarships are awarded to students with financial difficulties, students who are supporting others, and handicapped students. Academic Pursuit Scholarships cover tuition and registration fees in full or in part.
There also are Outside-sponsored Scholarships which include Onnuri Church Scholarship, Handong Global University Church Scholarship, Hyoam Scholarship, Jooshim Foundation Scholarship, Shalom Scholarship,
Sungseop Scholarship (Korean Residents in the U.S.), Parents' Association Scholarship, Korean Foundation Scholarship, Korean Marines Scholarship/Korean Army Scholarship, HandongNanum Testimony Scholarship, Handong Cornerstone Scholarship, Outstanding Entrance Grade.
How is the accommodation of international students away from their home countries? HGU has an International Community. The international students are housed together in the International House residence hall along with interested Korean students.
International students are part of Carmichael College, which includes student teams led by international faculty. These are designed to foster personal and communal growth through activities, service, and chapel attendance.
On campus F&B facilities: One other thing that strikes visitors is the incomparably excellent facilities that make the students and faculty members live comfortably. For instance, the dining facilities and cafes are favorably compare with the F&B facilities at any five-star hotels in Seoul. Here are some of them:
Twelve Baskets Student Cafeteria (where you can have your fill of meal for just 2,500 won and the menu KimBap, sandwiches, cakes with choices of drinks), Mom’s Kitchen (where the price is a bit higher [3,500 won] but then you can order Korean or Western foods and beverage), Hyoam Restaurant (where you can have Western or Oriental foods and beverage, which include packed sandwiches, muffins, burritos, salads, drinks and different types of cakes), the Question Mark Caf? that sells different types of beverages and cakes, and finally the HisbeansCaf? where you can enjoy a variety of hot/cold beverages and waffles for affordable prices.
Now what other features does HGU have that others don’t have or do not favorable compare?
Campus & City Overview: Handong Global University is located just north of Pohang, South Korea only a mile from the East Sea (Sea of Japan). The beautiful mountain-top campus is designed to foster student learning, communal activities, and faith development. HGU provides a low-cost shuttle bus into the city so students can easily shop, visit cafes and restaurants, participate in church or volunteer services, and explore other parts of city life.
History of HGU:
2014: Selected as ‘University for Creative Korea Project, Environment, and Energy’ by the Ministry of Education. Dag Hammarskj?ld Library designated HGU Library as UN Depository Library
2011: Designated as the UNAI Global Hub University
2010: Selected as the ‘Global L.I.F.E. Project’ of the ‘2010 ACE Project’ hosted by the Ministry of Education
2009: Became a member of United Nations Academic Impact
2008: HGU-OECD Internship Agreement. Selected as the ‘University Innovation’ by Ministry of Education.
2007: HGU designated as the Host University of the UNITWIN by the UNESCO.
2003: HGU-Institute of Finance and Economics Joint MBA Program began
2002: Establishment of Handong International Law School
1999: First Graduation Ceremony
1997: Joined the Institute of International Education GEEE
1994: Foundation of HGU