Monday, March 4, 2013

Exchange Interview DONE!

OMG OMG OMG. If I had logged my thoughts from three hours ago until now it would mostly consist of "OMG OMG OMG" and "EEEEEEEEE-----!!!" and it would pretty much be accurate.

[Note: long post]


I can't believe I am done with the interview already. *_* I was scheduled for 3:15pm, but good thing I had reached at 2:40pm and was waiting downstairs until 2:55pm. I went up and waited for a couple more minutes, all the while somewhat listening to the interviewee before me... until her interview finished at around 3:02? Mine was meant to be for 3:15 so I figured the guy sitting beside me was next, but then I heard my name being called. O_O. WHAT.

The lady named Beth escorted me in, and I double-checked that it was me that she was inviting. I went in, she asked me to take off my jacket and take a seat. I wasn't expecting to go in yet so I was still bundled up. I walked in to see that it was only Beth and a Korean professor. Originally I had heard that it would be two professors from the field and one International office person. So I thought maybe the third professor was coming later? but it ended up being just the two ladies and me. I shook hands with the Korean professor, took my heavy layers off, then sat down in one of the many chairs in the room. She'd said her name while shaking hands but I forgot immediately ><"! Was it Lee? My Korean professor (Jeon) had said that perhaps Professor Lee would participate this year so maybe it was her? I suppose I'll only find out in September... if I end up taking one of her courses at York.

The Interview

So the lady, Beth started off saying that she'd ask the general questions that all applicants are asked, and Professor Lee would do the more detailed ones. I just nodded and said okay. Then she said that it's mostly obvious that (I) - as an EAS student would want to go to Korea since it's my major and all. Then she asked something along the lines of why I chose Korea? (I think?) I'm not sure what the question was exactly, most of the time it was more like a conversation with an inquiry embedded in it. I answered that given my major and focus, I'd been studying about a place half way across the world, and that I wanted to experience the culture locally, to get a first-hand experience, and improve on my Korean skills.

Then she asked why or how do you think the exchange experience is good for students who are in university? I answered that exchange is good for students in order to give them a change of environment, so that they can learn new perspectives and new cultures. They were nodding when I ended with "...and it would also help to broaden your mind" (?!)

Next she asked what would you do with the experience after you went on exchange and came back. I explained that I would of course be sharing my experiences with friends and family; but also that I would be promoting the experience [to which they nodded in agreement, I think] and that I'm active online, so I would also be logging my experience whilst I'm there. [to which she "oh~"-ed and nodded also]

Then finally there was the question about what I thought about being an ambassador for York and by extension, Canada as well.  I knew this question was coming since I'd asked Charisse who applied for France, and Professor Jeon had told me to prepare for that too. I said that it would mean that I would be representing York as a student and Canada, and that my behaviour and actions would give an impression on the values and culture of Canada and York. [By this point I was also into my blubbering mode, when I sometimes tend to repeat words and look away > < but I think it was okay this time, it wasn't too much]

I think after that Professor Lee took over the asking questions and she focused more on the studies and courses. First she asked me why I chose Hanyang and Ehwa specifically. I was unprepared for that question. Even though I had thought to research on Hanyang earlier... I had forgotten to! >< I just winged it saying how Hanyang felt more suitable for me, and that I knew of Ehwa from my history/culture courses and that I was impressed by the reputation.

Then she looked at my records and read aloud that I was planning to take two major courses and one elective. Then she explained that often times she heard complaints from students saying that the professors had heavy accents. She asked why I wanted to take the major courses there, with the risk of not doing well, instead of taking the main courses here. I said that I was actually confident in doing good in those courses because of previous experiences at York with similar courses. And that even with the accent-difficulty issue, I could do more on self-study. I think I should have answered differently for this question, but I was trying not to stall and so I just answered however I could at the moment. =_=. Haaa.

Also, she asked how or if I could manage? My brain seemed to speed up her questions for some reason. Maybe because she went into long explanations? but I gave a little bit of background on myself to show that I was capable of "adapting". I told them that I was an immigrant and that I was actually born in India, though I'm Chinese - you know, the same ol' interesting fact about me that seemed to intrigue people most of the time... and that I came to Canada in 2003. I used the word "adapt" quite a few times ><.

They asked if I have any connections in Korea or any Korean people in a way. When I said that I had penpals they both laughed, lol. And also that I had friends on campus who were Korean, and classmates too.

I also remember mentioning at some point that I started my interest in Korea with the entertainment aspects, and then later on moved to the cultural and historical aspects. That I would want to visit the temples and cultural places.

Professor Lee also tested me on my Korean a little bit in the middle. >__< I was not planning for that. She asked me when did you start learning Korean (but not in the usual sentence structure, which flustered me a little). I answered "in first year", but I couldn't make it to the end of the sentence most of the time. Like I would reply "일학년에..." but she'd be be following my sentence and then go on to the next question. Then she asked who was the professor who taught you Korean? And I replied "Jeon선생님이었어요..." with my endings trailing into meekness again. She would repeat my answer a bit and then go to the next one. When was that? she asked. And I hesitated to answer cuz I wasn't sure what the difference was between this and the previous questions. I thought a little about it and fumblingly said "two years ago...?" I was like "이년... 두년? 이년전...?" while trying to decide which number sounded right, the sino-korean or the alternative way of saying "two", oh my. LOL. She tried to help me with the 이년/두년 problem, then explained why she asked. She had taught the Korean classes for the past two years and didn't know me from her classes. xD I think in the beginning she had started with 한국말 할수 있어요? and I flustered and said 네, 조금만 할수 있어요... I think? I wonder if I was supposed to do the modest thing, but meh.

It was awkward ><;; I wish I had been more confident and replied in more formal Korean. I did say that I could understand Korean more than I could speak due to my quietness/shyness. And also that I wanted to practice it in Korea when I would be surrounded with the language; they nodded and agreed.

I can't remember any other questions, but to end it I mentioned that I heard that the selection process would end in March...? and they picked up at the topic and explained a bit more about it. My main question was how many people get accepted on average? Beth said that 65% of students get accepted - that they try to place everyone somewhere, while 25% drop on their own - they change their mind about it, and 10% get rejected. And that ended my interview.

After that Beth thanked me for coming and I thanked them for having me. I had planned on saying certain phrases during the interview or entering and greeting in certain ways, but that was just fantasy. Later on the bus I thought of two more questions I could have asked them in the end:
Who decides on the applicants? and
How does the application work for each university application? (as in do they choose the students and then apply for them, or how does it work?)
I didn't finish with "Thank you for considering me for this opportunity" or anything. But it was okay. It was casual. Beth seemed really nice. Professor Lee was nice too. They both laughed at times, and talked casually at times. Overall it was about 12-13 minutes. I had stepped outside by 3:12pm.

Now all that's left is the wait.
Good luck to me!

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