Kettering University grows global diversity thanks to partnership with South Korean university

Kettering University’s English as a Second Language program recently welcomed 13 students from a partner institution in South Korea to share in a cultural experience on campus and in the community.

Students from Ajou University participated in the ESL program from January 20 to February 2 to improve their English, learn about American culture and Kettering’s programs, and interact with the campus and Flint community. Students from South Korean pose for a group photo at Kettering University

“This is creating more international awareness of Kettering University. The students are from one of the top Korean universities. It’s a chance for them to learn about us and for us to learn about them. The hope is that this would grow into additional exchange opportunities,” said Kevin Fedewa, English as a Second Language (ESL) Program Director at Kettering University.

The ESL program at Kettering, which started in the fall of 2016, helps to provide a pathway for students who meet college admission requirements, but have lower English ability and to provide English training that allows students to go on and successfully obtain their degree. Kettering’s program directors also facilitate many short-term on campus programs with partnering institutions around the world.

Throughout the two weeks on campus, students participated in workshops and classes, met with Korean faculty members and student groups like Kettering’s Asian American Association, and visited different organizations and events in the area.

Hwanho Yoo, a student from Ajou University, said the ESL program at Kettering was helpful and taught him a lot about another culture. The kindness and helpfulness from Kettering staff and students really made a difference, he said.

"The two weeks have been a great opportunity to learn how to build a relationship. I was able to find myself in a strange place and experience the culture of forming the relationship with a stranger. I went to Kettering University and I got so much help,” Yoo said. “In Korea there is a culture ‘Jung’ or ‘정.’ Should I call it a warm heart to share and take care of each other. If you ever get a chance to visit Ajou University, Suwon and Seoul, I’ll share my ‘’!” South Korean students learn how to screen print shirts while at Kettering

Fedewa hopes to continue growing programs and partnerships like the one with Ajou University in order to bring more culture and diversity to the campus and allow Kettering students and exchange students to learn from each other.

“This program and partnership with the students from Ajou University was a great experience for our staff and students, as well as for participants. They get a taste of how American education is and maybe some will come back to get their graduate degree,” Fedewa said. “The opportunity strengthens our international relationships and gives everyone involved a wider view on the world. It’s also good for the Flint community for participants to see what our city is all about.”