Park, Su-yeon 기자2016.08.29 14:42:16
The Man Who Traveled to 228 Universities all around Korea
- Choi Ji-wook, Yeungnam University, Department of Media and Communication -
By Park, Su-yeon, Reporter
There are a lot of universities to choose from in Korea, but students generally make their choice based on their grades and eligibility for entrance. Choi Ji-wook, as featured in the media, decided to visit all of the universities in Korea, in order to provide information to prospective students. He visited all 228 four-year universities, including KNU, and posted records of his visit on his blog. So far, approximately 2446 people have subscribed to this blog. The KNU Times asked him about some of his interesting experiences.
Q1. What inspired you to visit universities and what did you focus on during your visit?
A1. I was curious about other universities and wanted to expand my perspectives by visiting them. Each university has their own distinct characteristics. For example, Chonnam National University was one of the most impressive universities for me. It has become a demonstration place, since it is located in Gwangju, the starting place of the democratic movement of 1980s. I traveled to the universities on weekdays and to surrounding areas at weekends. I also wanted to give high-school students some information about various universities. During my visits, I tried to visit the library, take unique classes, and eat in the university cafeteria, since I thought that this would be the best way of helping me learn about the university. I also tried to visit all of the campus including branch schools.
Q2. What kinds of difficulties did you have and was there any financial aid from universities?
A2. I had difficulties financially as a student. I was never provided with financial support from universities. To raise money, I did part-time jobs before beginning my travels and created a travel budget. Sometimes, I suffered from hunger and had a meal in a convenience store. I had to rent a car to travel to some universities that are located in the countryside and areas which have poor public transportation. I stayed in jjimjilbangs and posted records every night, which made me feel tired physically as well as mentally. In addition, it was hard to have access to some buildings on the campus.
Q3. What are some of the most memorable episodes from your travels?
A3. Three episodes are the most memorable. First of all, I visited Youngsan University of Seonstudies, which fosters Won-Buddhism, and where all the students wore uniforms. I went to the cafeteria and met the president by chance and he helped me travel around the university. I had a chance to talk about my experiences with two students and a professor in a tea house located in the university. I also participated in religious activities and stayed overnight. Another time, I got a message from Wonkwang University inviting me back so I visited the university again. I toured the university with admissions staff including the dean of admissions and visited the university museum with them. Finally, I met Park, Jae-kwon who had graduated from Yeungnam University, through my blog. He contacted me and we had a talk in Guri-si. He bought me a meal and gave me some money to support my travel. We still keep in touch.
Q4. What features of KNU did you find most interesting?
A4. One interesting feature of KNU is the University Coop, which provides students and educational personnel with high quality goods and services at a reasonable price. They can also accumulate money when they buy something in a bookstore and a cafeteria after registering as a member. Even though it would be useful for them, surprisingly, many KNU students do not know about it and few students are registered as members of the University Coop. Another thing that I found interesting is the library. It was impressive that the KNU Library provides cell phone booths for students. By doing this, the library gives students a place to make phone calls, while insulating the rest of the library from noise. The library also has a lot of seats, which enables students to study without difficulties. One of the most sensitive issues in KNU is the absence of an official president. Since 2012, an indirect election system has been introduced. Even though Professor Kim, Sa-yeol was elected by the indirect election system, the Ministry of Education rejected him as president of KNU and has demanded a re-election, even though they have given no clear reason, which has created a conflict between them.
Q5. Are there other plans to visit additional universities?
A5. I got to know about universities superficially rather than in-depth, which makes me want to examine them more closely. For example, I would like to know their unique systems, distinctive classes, the stories each university has, and so on. I think now is the best time to study Korean universities. Later, I would like to visit additional universities with additional questions from my research. Furthermore, it would be good if I could interact with enrolled students and the Admissions department and take some classes that are opened by Communication Sciences, which is my major. People also have questions about two-year colleges, so I want to visit colleges after finding out enough about four-year universities. As I want to be a specialist in the field related to universities, I plan to travel to many of them again, although I have not yet decided on my travel itinerary.
 process in which voters in an election do not choose between candidates for an office, but rather elect persons who will then make the choice on their behalf
The KNU Times