As SNU continues to grow as a diverse and international university, so does the number of courses it offers in English. SNU offers approximately 11% of all degree courses in English. Furthermore, the College of Engineering and the College of Business Administration offer more than 20% of their courses in English, while the Graduate School of International Studies conducts all of its courses in English, with the exception of Korean studies courses.
More and more international students fill the classroom, and to meet such demand the university offers engaging courses that appeal to students from diverse backgrounds. This article reviews three popular English courses that will be offered in the fall semester of 2012: “Human Rights, NGOs and the International Community”, “Man and the Universe”, and “Global Issues and Ethical Thinking”.
[Human Rights, NGOs, and the International Community]
What is the difference between an asylum seeker and an internally displaced person? How many treaty-based bodies does the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights hold? How effective is the United Nations in preventing human rights violations? (These questions are addressed and answered during this course.)
As the name suggests, this course deals mainly with the topic of human rights. It is a course that teaches students about the definition of human rights and the violations of such rights that occur around the world. Current events are discussed fervently, as students debate what is the thin line between cultural practice and human rights violation. Over the course of the semester, issues ranging from child soldiers, human trafficking, refugees, and indigenous people are discussed. Moreover, the role of the United Nations and other NGOs and their effectiveness are investigated.
This course is a core course which means that a substantial amount of effort must be put into the class in order to receive a good grade. There are weekly readings that help you understand the topics discussed in class, such as official documents or chapters explaining certain aspects of human rights. Apart from the usual midterm and final exam there is one individual presentation on a human rights violation of your choice. There is also a group presentation that will coincide with one of the human rights issues that the professor chooses for each week. (The course is divided into approximately a dozen weeks, each week discussing one aspect of human rights. For example, week one: child labor).
The class is largely based on debate, and your contribution to constructive discussions is highly valued. Because of the difficulty and vagueness of the topic it is a class that is likely to instigate much passion among the participants. For those who have a desire to learn about human rights while appreciating the potential for fiery debates, this is the perfect course for you.
Note: This course was previously taught by Professor CHUNG Chin-Sung and is now taught by HAN Sang Jin, Professor of Sociology. Assignments for fall semester of 2012 may differ.
Memorable quote: (Confronted about the inefficiency of the UN) “It is better than nothing.” -- Professor CHUNG
[Man and the Universe]
Ever look up at the stars and wonder about the origin of the universe? How was the universe formed? Where did we all come from? What is going to happen to the universe? Why is our galaxy shaped in such a way? For those who are curious about the universe, this is the course for you!The course “Man and the Universe” begins with the early hypotheses and theories regarding the universe. The varying perspectives on the universe of ancient civilizations such as the Babylonians and Egyptians are reviewed. The course continues chronologically to the modern scientific world. During the course of the semester you learn about Copernicus, along with Newton, and ultimately Einstein and his theory of general relativity. It is a challenging course because of the scientific technicalities, but fascinating nonetheless. Specific facts and discoveries are taught, and the role and influence of humanity in the universe is touched upon throughout the course. There are breathtaking videos of galaxy formations that flitter on the screen like the dancing of butterflies. And there is always a Q&A time at the end of each class, so that any confusion may be clarified. The course “Man and the Universe” is a thorough and challenging core course which makes you contemplate the notion of science and the role of humanity.
Note: This course was previously taught by Professor LEE Jounghun, and is now taught by Sascha Trippe, Professor of Astronomy. Assignments for fall semester of 2012 may differ.
Memorable quote: (Referring to the complexities of understanding the universe): “Your questions are too naive and innocent.” -- Professor LEE
[Global Issues and Ethical Thinking]
What makes an issue a global issue? What is justice? What role can individual citizens and countries play in resolving problems such as environmental issues, human rights violations, and economic problems? This course makes you contemplate deeply your role as an individual in the global community. Professor PARK ensures that there is a casual class atmosphere for participation, so even the shyest of students ends up sharing his or her opinion. The class is run as an open discussion, and terms that are difficult to define, such as ‘justice’, are debated. Many times, the professor shows videos of inspiring speakers, and emphasizes the need to look at things from different perspectives.There is a weekly assignment of reading and summarizing three online newspaper articles about a country of your choice. Group work is highly encouraged, and every week the group members change. Furthermore, Professor Park persuades students to sit next to someone new every class. This type of work pattern ensures that you get to know the names of all the students in this usually medium-sized class. In this way, a tight-knit community is constructed within the classroom, and at the end of the course, students are sure to leave with new friendships formed.
Note: This course is taught by Professor PARK Sung-Choon, Professor of Ethics Education. Assignments for fall semester of 2012 may differ from previous semesters.
Memorable quote: “Knowledge is socially constructed.” -- Professor PARK
Written by OH Jung Eun, SNU English Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by Eli Park Sorensen, SNU Professor of Liberal Studies, email@example.com
Proofread by Brett Johnson, SNU English Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org