East Asian Tearoom presented international exchange opportunities in Korea, China and Japan

Ever wondered about going international to Korea, China or Japan?

On Friday, April 13, an East Asian Tearoom was set up at the Language Centre presenting international exchange opportunities in Korea, China and Japan. The tearoom introduced special green tea and traditional cookies to the students as the mixed student choir, Karavaani, entertained skilfully with Japanese, Korean and Chinese songs in between the expert presentations.

Ph.D. student and teacher in Korean history and culture, Andrew Logie, emphasizes that Chinese, Korean and Japanese are very much intertwined, i.e. not mutually exclusive languages. So why study Korean in Korea?

– Well, with Korean studies you have the opportunity to study almost everything from language, history and politics, i.e., both South and North Korean, culture, literature, dance, music, video art and martial arts just to pick a few, says Logie.

– Korean is easy compared to many European languages. There are almost no grammar exceptions and it is extremely systematic to learn. The Korean hangul alphabet is simple, elegant and closely reflects pronunciation, Logie explains.

Go east students!

Raisa Asikainen from International Exchange services, says that Japan is the most popular destination.

– About 15 students from the University of Helsinki go to Japanese universities annually as exchange students. Almost 100 students apply each year, and only the best are chosen. The Japanese language is popular due to many reasons, such as youth culture, manga comic strips and martial arts. But it is not only about encouraging Finnish students to language exchange. It is the other way round as well.

Students Shifumi Nagase, Takumi Banno and Junpei Toyoshima from Japan have switched over to Helsinki for a year as exchange students. Junpei Toyoshima is interested in education and in how English is taught in Finnish schools.

– The biggest difference is that the teaching is more interactive in Finland and it is taught in English. In Japan, English is taught in Japanese.

They all believe that Japan and Finland are closer to each other than many other western countries. We have the same feeling for social distance and we are both quiet people, they conclude.

Student choir Karavaani performed at the Language Centre on friday, April 13.

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Text: Karin Hannukainen
Photo: Linda Tammisto
University of Helsinki, digital communications

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