by Eunhye Ko
“Ewhaian is just like an another family to me,” says Bae Ha-neul (English Education, 1). a freshman of Ewha who received so much congratulations from Ewhaian, an online community of Ewha. For her 100 day anniversary with her boyfriend, Bae asked members of Ewhaian, an online community, to send congratulating text-messages to her boyfriend, and as a result of her posting he received over 200 messages.
“The most memorable text-message was one sent by color mail, with a long and considerate congratulatory message,” said Bae. “Before joining Ewhaian, I thought the Internet was a place full of criticism, so when posting my request on the board I expected not only congratulations but also some vicious responses. However, everyone congratulated us. It was just like another family. People care so much for each other under the name of Ewha.” she added. Her and her boyfriend became so thankful to Ewhaians for giving them such a memorable gift they would not be able to receive anywhere else.
It is quite common for universities to have online communities founded by students. However, Ewha’s online community, Ewhaian, is somewhat different from other universities’ communities. Its uniqueness comes from its active nature. Neither SKKULove, an online community at Sungkyunkwan University, nor SNUlife, an online community at Seoul National University, are as active as Ewhaian compared by the number of postings made on each community daily. At Ewhaian, approximately 3,000 postings are made on the board daily. “Although it differs depending on hours, about 1700 to 1800 students are online simultaneously,” said a relative of Ewhaian.
Most Ewhaian postings are made on a bulletin board named Secret Garden, a board where only students from Ewha are allowed. “We created the Secret Garden an anonymous bulletin board, so students can share all kinds of agonies they suffer, from school life to family affairs. Anonymous can be a trust resulting students to become honest,” added the relative of Ewhaian.
Ewhaian is a great advisor to Ewha students providing practical sources which are desperately needed but are not easy to reach. “I found jokbos, examination papers from previous semesters, at Ewhaian. For students who have not yet chosen a major, they are really hard to find,” said Kwak So-hyun (Liberal Arts, 1). “I got help from postings on the Class Evaluation before registering for classes, so I was able to make good decisions,” said Lee Hae-young (Christian Studies, 1).
Students can also receive other kinds of help. One Ewha student found a sick puppy on the street around 2o’clock in the morning. She needed to find a veterinarian but she did not know which one was open at that time. When she put up a posting on the Secret Garden board she got her answer to questions in a few minutes.
In addition to informing the location of veterinarian, the people online also decided to pick a name for the puppy. After hours of ideas, it was named Saebeukyee, meaning dog which was found early in the morning. “I suggested the name Whayeonyee, meaning name picked by Ewhaians. Although my name was rejected, it was interesting to enter the forum,” said Lee Jung-eun (English Education, 1). “Most of all, I was fascinated by the kindness of Ewha people and Ewhaian’s family-like atmosphere. It was totally different from the atmosphere of any other online community or even the offline community at Ewha,” she added.
Among many stories of love and caring on Ewhaian, one is legendary. An Ewha student was studying at the Central Library but she fall asleep and got trapped in the library at night. She explained her situation on Ewhaian and said that she had gotten really hungry. So another student who read about her unfortunate situation brought some food and passed it to her through a window. “We are not sure when this happened exactly, but this story often comes up as topic to talk about at Ewhaian and remains a memorable story in the hearts of students. It is touching that even students who do not know each other try to help, just because they are Ewhaians,” said Park Yoo-ha (English Education, 1).