[Letters] Dark side of studying abroad
Going abroad for elementary education certainly leads to several bad consequences. Personally, when I was in the third grade, I moved to Canada with my family. There may be good points and bad points. However, in my case, I discovered mostly the negative side.
There are many Korean parents who send their children or go with them to foreign countries so they can learn English or get a better education. The purpose of sending them is only to learn the English language. They cannot see beyond that.
When children go to foreign countries, they can be confused about their identity. First of all, they do not have a clear identity of their own, but if they go to foreign countries and obtain new attributes, they will have difficulty finding who they are. Due to this, they can also lose self-esteem, which is the most crucial part of one’s life. If a person’s self-esteem is not formed well at a young age, they won’t be able to stand on their own in the future.
Also, children can suffer intellectually. They cannot speak perfectly in their mother tongue or their new language. This causes them to waste time in class and not fully grasp the content. Basically, they are not able to understand what is taught in class. In this sense, their comprehension and logic ability is low compared to those who are taught in their mother tongues. They will not be able to grasp what other students learn at the same age.
Another negative side of going abroad is that when children come back, they cannot adapt to Korea’s education system. The education system here is totally different from that of foreign countries. They will not be able to get along with others due to culture shock. They will have difficulty accepting the methods used in Korean schools. Korean schools are more oppressive and authoritarian. Children will suffer because of these changes, and will opt out of school and choose to take a qualification examination, called gumjeongosi, instead.
I strongly disagree with sending young children abroad to study English. Of course, some people think that it will be good for them to learn English in an English-speaking country and learn good pronunciation and real English usage. However, there are many foreigners in Korea, and many other ways to learn English without sending Korean children abroad.
Grace Kim, Dongguk University student