Marking the start of this fall semester, the school’s official clubs such as Ewha Korean Living Experience Supporters (EKLES) and the Office of the Chaplain are initiating online versions of mentoring programs.
EKLES is one of the school’s official clubs which helps exchange students experience Korean culture and learn Korean. Usually, each Korean student is matched with two to three exchange students as they perform roles as mentors and mentees when engaging in club activities. Those qualified as mentors are students who enrolled in 2020 and 2019, or transferred to Ewha in 2018.
Following the coronavirus, all activities are held online after the orientation session on Sept. 23. If the situation becomes safer, some activities may proceed through offline meetups. Mentors and mentees are mandated to meet online every Wednesday at 5 p.m. to participate in the EKLES seminar. In this seminar, the club created 10 events that could be done without meeting in person.
The prospective activities include a Korean delivery food seminar, a virtual tour of the school and Seoul, studying together, sharing each country’s puns, and many more. The program also involves doing Korean popular contents such as MBTI and playing Among Us which is a computer game enjoyed in teams.
Regarding the fact that most activities will be done online, the entry fee has changed. Formerly, all students were to pay 25,000 won. However, this semester, the entry fee for exchange students changed to 5,000 won and 10,000 won for new Korean students. The fee was 7,000 won for the existing members. All chosen members are required to participate in the club activities for at least one semester.
Another program was planned by Outreach Scholarship Recipients Team of the Upper Room Evangelistic Association. It is an online mentoring program hosted by the Office of the Chaplain called “Aneunnunim Ask Us Anything” which was held from July 10 to Aug. 7.
The Outreach Scholarship Recipients Team originally performed educational volunteer work by meeting children in person every summer and winter. However, due to the pandemic, it was impossible to implement missionary work in the previous way. The five members of the participating team contemplated the situation and decided to support children of multicultural families.
Park Min-ji, a junior majoring Christian Studies and also a leader of the Outreach Scholarship Recipients Team in the 2020 spring semester, shared her thoughts on the target selecting process.
“With the radical transition of method for K-12 education from offline to online, we have heard that there are many multicultural children who have difficulty in communication with teachers and unable to adapt to the new educational infrastructure,” Park said. “We started the program thinking that it would be nice to provide mentoring to children who are disconnected from proper public education and help them get used to the online education system and fill in gaps.”
For group activities, various sessions took place including understanding world culture and Korean culture, reading and discussing, making hand sanitizer, and excavating fossils.
Also, each mentor had individual time to find the characteristics and needs of each mentee in the one-to-one mentoring session.
Previously, the Outreach Scholarship Recipients Team had an intensive three to four days meeting with the children when the program was conducted offline. However, the online method enabled participants to not only meet for a sustained period but work with students from various areas without having regional restrictions. Furthermore, the program combined group activities with personal meetings as well.
Park elaborated on the efforts that undergraduates can make for children from multicultural families who are alienated by COVID-19.
“Active communication, patient understanding, and encouragement are the most essential teaching methods for children,” Park stated. “In many cases, they learn Korean mixed with their parents’ native language, so are not used to speaking or writing in Korean and show less confidence.
Park also urged students in Ewha to participate in the KorMent Mentoring for Multicultural Families & North Korean Defectors, a mentoring program organized by the Korea Student Aid Foundation.