Beginning this semester, 11 new foreign professors were assigned to teach in various departments at Ewha, including the departments of Physics, Ceramic Arts and Economics. This was a part of Ewha’s Global 2010 project, and a new trial for Ewha, since foreign professors were normally assigned only to the English and foreign language departments in the past. Most Ewha students have been busy getting through exams and papers—and now going through the final exams and longing for the summer vacation. But how have the foreign professors been spending their first three months at Ewha?
Xiang Bai Chen (Physics)
Professor Xiang Bai Chen (Physics), a young Chinese professor in his late 20s who is more like an Oppa (big brother in Korean) than a strict professor, shares his story of Ewha and how he has been enjoying his life with the students.
Since there is only one women’s university in
“Although I am not at the age of most of the other professors in my department, my past experiences teaching at the
“Compared to teaching at the
Chen is now teaching the General Physics 1 and General Physics Laboratory 1 at Ewha. He bursts into laughter when he was reminiscing about his first class. “It was the General Physics 1 class and I went in overloaded with worries that the Korean students in their freshmen years would never be able to understand what I said in English. So in order to check their English speaking capabilities, I asked everyone to do a brief self introduction. To my surprise, everyone did speak English well enough to comprehend the lecture. I was relieved, of course, but had a hard time disguising my abashed face throughout the class since, when I was a freshmen, I didn’t speak English at all,” said Chen.
Chen spends his spare time hiking the mountain near the campus and walking along the campus since his residence is in the graduate school dormitory.
Patty Wouters (Ceramic Arts)
There is another foreign professor who fell in love with Ewha in just three months away from her home. It is Professor Patty Wouters (Ceramic Arts), a Belgian professor who fell in love with
“I spend my free time walking along the campus hills, and Cheonggyecheon stream. The fitness room on campus, when I do conditioning, is also one of my favorite places since I live on campus—in a graduate school dormitory. And of course, Insadong is just like a paradise for me. Galleries and art exhibitions in Insadong present me so much inspiration to learn about Korean artwork and culture. I have also started visiting cultural and historical sights like Gyeongbok palace and Changdeok palace these days,” said Wouters.
Wouters has been teaching for almost 25 years now since she taught workshops in
Wouters said that decision to come to Ewha, and no other place, was the best choice she has made in her life. “Everyone is so friendly and does their best to make me feel at home. For example, I had my schedule diary booked full for the first several weeks because of the invitations here and there. Also, students of Ewha are very polite and well behaved, unlike other students that I have taught in foreign countries,” said Wouters.
Wouters added that she is making endless efforts to befriend all her students personally. This is an especially important process in an art class because every student must make a personal interpretation and creative artwork. Wouters believes that it is her responsibility to know the exact personality of her students to help them to express themselves creatively in their art.
“I guess students were a little uncertain and shy at first, since they spotted a foreign professor coming into a Ceramics class, not an English class. But, with a camera that I brought, I took everyone’s photos individually that day to make them feel more comfortable to approach me and, later on, requested that they write their Korean names beside their pictures. It was an efficient method to overcome their uneasiness and, at the same time, help me to learn their Korean names, which I still have hard time pronouncing,” said Wouters
Holding a Korean Chocolate, Dream Cacao 86%, in her hand—not the world famous Belgian chocolate—Wouters mentioned that students place little presents on her desk, like sweets and drinks, and bring small gifts to her when returning the books she lends them, which is a rare scene in other countries.
Vladmir Hlasny (Economics)
Another foreign professor, from the
Hlasny explained later that his curiosity was aroused because he had only heard about the existence of the womans universities in the
However, as it turned out, the university and students at Ewha were nothing like his imagination. “Professors in my department are very friendly and considerate. Students also are so nice and understanding that, despite my initial worries about how to deal with a whole class full only of the women students, I have completely adjusted to my new life,” said Hlasny.
Hlasny seemed like a member of the younger generation himself with jeans and t-shirt on, but he mentioned that students were shy and uneasy about approaching a foreign professor at first. So, he tried to be informal with the students and tell jokes rather than only lecturing on boring economic theories all throughout the class, and he tried unusual things like having a class outdoors.
Another problem Hlasny had with the Korean students at Ewha was with textbook use. “Students wanted to use the Korean version of the Economics textbook because, apparently, not all the students were fluent in English. But I figured that such a measure would be inefficient for their studies—with me lecturing in English in front. So, for now, I have created some alternatives like surprise quizzes to help hard-working students receive fair grades regardless of their English fluency,” said Hlasny.Hlasny does not seem foreign, but just like any of us in the way he adores the beautiful spring scenes on campus, likes traveling to unique places near