Foreign students build ties to Ewha through clubs
Foreign students build ties to Ewha through clubs
  • 한정수 기자
  • 승인 2008.05.06 00:00
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         With 147 foreign exchange students studying at Ewha this spring semester, it is not so difficult to spot a foreigner on campus or inside a classroom. However, many Korean students still think they must be fluent English speakers or have experiences living abroad in order to become friends with these foreign students. The personal experiences of some foreign exchange students who actively participate in Ewha club activities depict quite a different reality.
         Lee Young-eun (Rutgers University, 3) is an exchange student from the U.S. who is a member at RIZE, the dance club inside the Division of International Studies (DIS). “I dance with my fellow RIZErs for three hours on Tuesday nights and five hours during the Saturday morning practice. We are practicing hard for the one-day-bar event of the DIS. The Korean members have been very open and friendly toward my entrance into RIZE and we had so much fun during the welcoming party,” said Lee. For the occasion, Lee and the members all went to a nearby restaurant and feasted on Samgyupsal (Korean roasted pork) and Soju (traditional Korean liquor) till late at night.
         One male exchange student from Germany proudly presents an interesting story of participating in the Yacht club. Johannes Ranscht (Martin Luther University, 4) says, “At first, I was going to attend the scuba diving club at Ewha, Skin Scuba, since I like scuba diving. But as I was talking to the members of the club, we figured out that they don’t have wet suits or other equipment in my size—probably since I was the only guy and will be the only guy who ever came up to them and seriously asked to dive,” said Ranscht.
          So, the Yacht club was his second best choice, but Ranscht said he had fun going sailing on the Han River every Saturday with the team members, who take good care of him. “Three weeks ago, I went to the opening ceremony of the club, in which we gave the god food— a pig head— and first sailed on the river. It was something I never experienced in my home country and hearing the explanation about the event from the Korean members was very interesting,” says Ranscht.
          Danielle Pecor (University of Vermont, 4), an exchange student from the United States says, “I train with  Korean Ewha students four times a week as a member at the Ewha Kumdo (Korean fencing) club. Although most of the students do not speak fluent English, we have no problem at all with communicating and building friendships together.” 
          Pecor talks about the fun she had while playing a new Korean game with other club members. “There’s a game called Manitto’s— which I would say, is a game where we become secret Santas to do random acts of kindness for each other until we are told to reveal ourselves. I find this a great way to build friendships indirectly, although I also engage in other social activities, such as playing games like kickball and dodge ball, and eating fried chicken after training sessions,” said Pecor.
          Ewha students willingly reach out to foreign students in club activities too. “I was glad to find a foreign student in the club since it felt so unique and fun training with a friend from another country. Even if other Korean members like me are not native speakers, language is no barrier in getting to know the foreign students. Danielle is so cute when she brings out her bamboo sword with a Korean yell, ‘one, two, three’ that we literally burst into laughter at every training session,” says Choi Ji-hye (Law, 2), a Korean member at the Kumdo club.
          Choi Eun Kyoung (Economics, 3), the president of the Kumdo club says, “I feel so grateful to Danielle for practicing really hard and blending in well with other Ewha students, since Kumdo is  very hard exercise. When witnessing her having so much fun and adjusting well to life at Ewha through club activities, I just feel that it’s a pity that few exchange students are participating in the clubs. I think in order to get foreign students more involved with the Ewha clubs, Korean students must make efforts too.” Choi recommended little efforts like putting an English poster on the bulletins, posting a note in the international house, and obviously, not being afraid to talk to them when they come to the orientation week to help foreign students blend in better.



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