Discovering a little Korea in Peking University
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Discovering a little Korea in Peking University
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  • 승인 2007.06.01 00:00
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Korean Wave or a wave of Koreans? A look into the lives of Korean students in China
▲ Koreans are the majority of the international students studying at Peking University. Left is the gate to Peking University and the right is Sorihana, a music club that many Korean students participate in, singing at a festival.
▲ Koreans are the majority of the international students studying at Peking University. Left is the gate to Pecking University and the right is Sorihana, a music club that many Korean students participate in, singing at a festival.

         Saying that the Korean Wave, hallyu, is a trend in Asia has become cliche. But rather than the Korean wave—term referring to the recent surge of popularity of Korean culture in foreign countries—wave of Koreans seems to be more descriptive of the trend at Peking University.   

“Roughly half of the foreign students admitted as regular students at PKU are Koreans,” says Zhang Ying, Program Officer of the Division for Exchange Programs.With the majority of foreign students being Koreans, a little Korea can be found on the huge campus of Peking University.

    Korean instant noodles, Korean can coffee, Korean green tea—the numerous brands you can find in Korea—fill the shelves of the snack bar located in the lobby of a dormitory for international students, making it almost difficult for one to find a taste of China.

    Like any typical student at Peking University, Korean students rush off to classes that start as early as 8 a.m., get on their bikes to get to their next classes, and also attend classes on Saturdays.

    But, unlike the Chinese students at PKU who are all required to stay at the school dormitories, many foreign students live outside the school. Pointing to an apartment five minutes away from campus, Baek Jae-hong (Peking University, 3) says, “About half of the people living there are Koreans.”

Students say that the same policies are not always applied to foreign students as to Chinese students. For example, in the dormitories where Chinese students reside, normally four people share a room and electricity is cut off at 11 p.m. except for on the weekends and at times like the finals when students have to study late into the night. But for foreign students who live in the school dormitories, electricity is not cut off and rules tend to be lenient.

    Since the population of Koreans among international students at PKU is quite large, Korean students get together to participate in numerous club activities that matches their interests.

    In the Korean Student Association at PKU, which was formed in 1993, there are many clubs including singing clubs, debate clubs, and magazine clubs, whose publications function as a guide to help Koreans get used to campus life. “There isn’t much to pour your heart into when you are studying alone in a foreign country far away from your family. That’s why I tend to be passionate about the clubs I belong to,” says Park Jin-chan (Peking University, 4).

    Other than the gatherings among Koreans in PKU, there is also a get-together for Ewha graduates studying at PKU and nearby schools, and alumnae residing in Beijing. Lee Ji-eun (‘03, Chinese Literature), who is pursuing a Ph.D. at PKU, says, the Ewha alumnae in Beijing get together once a month. “It really feels comfortable to meet people from Ewha regularly. I think Ewha’s get-together is pretty active compared to that of other universities like Korea university which get together only once in three months.”


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