In the first partnership of its kind at Yale, Seoul National University and Yale University will collaborate this summer when a group of 20 SNU students attends the Yale English Language Institute’s program.
On Tuesday, SNU President Jung Woon-chan announced plans for the program, which will be called SNU at Yale. While individual international students have attended University language summer programs in the past, this marks the first time that a group of students representing a university in Asia will participate collectively in such a program.
The program will allow students to attend English language classes for six weeks starting in June. The students will live in dorms and experience campus and New Haven city life, English Language Institute Director Jan Hortas said.
During Yale President Richard Levin and University Secretary Linda Lorimer’s November trip to Asia, administrators from Yale and SNU discussed the potential for a partnership. The Yale administration’s focus on increasing the University’s international ties was “crucial” to establishing the partnership with SNU, Hortas said.
East Asian Language and Literature professor Edward Kamens said SNU’s choice of Yale to host this program speaks highly for the University.
“Many Korean universities are eager to establish such substantial ties with distinguished American universities, and one is Yale,” Kamens said.
Kamens said he hopes the collaborative effort will also create more opportunities for Yale students.
“One of the things we’re hoping might eventually develop from this partnership would be a more formalized program for Yale students who want to study in Seoul,” Kamens said.
A typical day at Yale’s summer program includes morning core classes followed by afternoon electives, Hortas said. Summer program directors also schedule weekend cultural activities and trips.
Hortas said that during this exchange, students will improve upon their English and be exposed to American culture
“One of their goals will be to improve their written and social English,” Hortas said. “Many of them will want to experience American culture first hand and enter into intellectual discussions with American students. There will also be a certain number of students whose goals will be to return to the United States for further study.”
Hortas explained that class placement is determined according to proficiency. The SNU students, all of whom have at least an intermediate English proficiency, will be divided into different classes depending on individual language abilities and will not be following a group schedule.
The University sees the program as a first step in a larger project, Hortas said. In the future, the program may expand to include a wider variety of courses instead of only English language classes, she said.
“This was a natural way to begin opening up more connections,” she said. “This is thought of as a beginning, and it can be built on.”