International Students Talk about School Festivals
International Students Talk about School Festivals
  • Ewha Voice
  • 승인 2007.05.01 00:00
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By Adelide Kamanthe


The festival in Mayhas been marked as one of the major annual campus events of the year in Ewha’s calendar. This Daedongje (Great Unity Festival) brings together students, alumnae and faculty members. This festival features a myriad of events including various evening performances, sporting events, Korean tug-of-war game and probably most prominent, an open market. Students from different departments and clubs set up booths where they sell anything ranging from clothes, to snacks and drinks. Owing to the pocket friendly prices offered during this on-campus market, many students are eager to buy whatever is on sale and do not seem to mind queuing in order to be able to make a purchase. The money that is made is then used for club or department activities, fostering active participation among Ewha students in educational and extra-curricular activities.


To many international students, the festivities held in May at Ewha vary somewhat compared to those held in their home universities in commemoration of their universities’ foundation. “The festivities commemorating our university’s foundation are covered in pomp. Flags and banners with congratulatory messages can be seen all over campus. Students also participate in speech and singing contests, all related to the schools history and such festivities are even broadcasted on television,” Xu Ju Hua (Beijing Normal University, 3) said of the month-long festivities of her university, which takes pride in its 104 year history. Interestingly, Xu also added that the Chinese government even goes to the extent of funding some of these festivities; a sign of its dedication and commitment towards Chinese education. “Many of the old universities that have long histories have similar festivities to celebrate their founding,” added Xu.


      History brings pride and with most of the international students, in their home countries too, the more historical a university, the more elaborate its foundation day commemoration festivities. Laurene Boissac (IESEG, 3) noted that many old universities in France have elaborate festivities in commemoration of their foundation. “My university is quite young, so we really do not have any festivities to celebrate its founding,” said Boissac.


 In many universities, the alumnae also play a vital role during the celebrations of the foundation day. Brianne Nikki (Rutgers University, 3) noted that at one of the university’s colleges; the Douglass College, which is the largest public women’s college in the United States, honors alumnae who have made significant contributions in their fields of expertise. Besides various student festivities, Nikki views the participation of the alumnae as an integral part of the celebrations. “I actually went to the Douglass Foundation Day ceremony when I was a freshman. It was a beautiful experience and it made me proud to be part of a college that has many alumnae who are successful, inspirational and wonderful role models for young women.” Maria Regina Arquiza (Television & Film, 2), who is pursuing a second degree under the EGPP program, recalls her home university’s centennial celebrations with joy. “The celebrations featured special monthly events sponsored and organized by the various units, departments and offices, and various stakeholders including parents and benefactors. The thirteen-month-long celebration culminated in the Grand Alumnae Centennial Homecoming, during which one hundred outstanding alumnae were honored, generation awardees recognized, and past presidents of the alumnae association cited for their work. It was indeed a national event,” says Arquiza.


    This year Ewha marks its 121 anniversary. For some international students, the May Festival will be a first and hence they eagerly wait to take part in the celebrations. For others who have been at Ewha longer, expectations run high as they wish to take a greater part in the Festival this year compared to previous years. “Last year, I was still adjusting to Korean language classes and culture, so I really did not participate in the festival but I hope that this year I will be able to take part in the festival with my friends from my department” commented Nadia Utui (Architecture, 2).


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