A Korean proverb, “After ten years, even rivers and mountains change,” tells us how time can change everything. If a decade can transform rivers and mountains, how about 122 years? Ewha is celebrating its 122nd anniversary on May 31. Founded in 1886 as the first women’s university in Korea, Ewha has gone through all the events of modern Korean history. The glory of our sunbaes (seniors) is easy to notice; however, it is still hard to imagine their everyday lives. Therefore, the Ewha Voice has composed a fictional letter, written 70 years ago by an Ewha student who was on the scene at Ewha’s 50th anniversary celebration on May 31, 1936, when the new Shinchon campus welcomed students to move in.
We went to the new Shinchon campus today before we move in tomorrow. President Appenzeller was there herself to introduce the buildings. (You know she’s a person I admire a lot, but she has been so busy with the new construction that I hardly saw her during my preparatory year). Anyway, the first building I saw was the Jinsunmikwan, our new dormitory. Wow! It is made of white stone that positively gleams on the outside, and the rooms are nice too. What we liked the most was a lounge on the first floor where they keep a brass kettle full of hot water ready all the time.
The next building I saw was Pfeiffer Hall where all the Liberal Arts students will study. I feel lucky to be in the Liberal Arts department because of this building. The library in Pfeiffer Hall is amazing! You have to come and see 16 thousand new books decorate all sides of the wall. In the science lab, I had the chance to see things through a microscope. Can you believe all the objects around us are made of tiny little molecules? Really, just looking around the campus arouses my intellectual curiosity.
I know these new facilities will not lessen your worry. However, Dad, I am having a great time at Ewha. Yesterday, we had a basketball game against the Music Department in the new gymnasium beside Pfeiffer Hall. We ran, tried to shoot and fought for the balls like boys while dressed in our gym suits (a white T-shirt and black short pant with a scarf around the neck). I am not as weak as you think and the fact that I am a girl cannot stop me from doing whatever I want to achieve.
For the 50th anniversary celebration, we also saw the play Kang (river), which was a story about the course of little streams becoming a big river. Most of the people who filled the campus were Ewha girls you could tell from their black and white Hanbok. But there also were people living nearby and high-ranking officials in luxurious outfits.
I wish you were here with me to watch the play. Even though you would not like seeing some of the students here in short hair, it would be good for you to see that things are changing. Students in my year started it by cutting their hair, and now it is in fashion everywhere. Get ready. I am sure you will get to see some women in short hair in Busan too! And be sure to tell them that Ewha students were the trend setters.
It was a fun day at the new campus, but I still adore the old campus. You remember our campus at Jeongdong? It is now my last day doing homework inside the old dormitory, Hwanghwabang. Talking about homework, I am sure you are curious about how I am handling my school work. Fortunately, I am doing well in English class which is my most important subject. Yesterday, when Professor Baker told me to introduce myself on the black board, I did it and she said my English vocabulary was excellent. Most of the subjects we learn at school inspire me and I cannot wait to introduce more brand new knowledge to you. However, I hate learning Japanese and Japanese history. I wish we could learn Korean history instead. But don’t worry, Dad. This does not mean I want to go out to streets and shout “Daehan dongnip manse (Independent Korea will last forever).” Still, when I graduate from Ewha, I will devote myself to freeing my country and win honor for my family.
I am going to visit Busan as soon as the summer vacation starts. Until then, I will study hard and be a good student. Please give my regards to mother!