Thirty one Ewha students of diverse majors traveled to four Western European nations—, , and —from June 26 to July 9 on the Ewha Global Initiative (EGI) program. The EGI is an exploratory program designed by the Office of Student Affairs in 2008 to enable Ewha students to broaden their global perspectives. Professor Nam Kung-gon (Political Science & Diplomacy) and Cha Mi-Kyeong (Library & Information Science) accompanied the Ewha students as instructors. The theme for the first EGI program was “Finding the sites coexisting between history and the future.”
The registration process for the EGI was held from May 2 to 8. Applicants submitted a resume, an introductory letter, a statement of purpose, an exploratory plan, their grade point average (GPA), and a record of their voluntary work. Then, 60 students were initially selected for an interview based on the evaluation standards, including GPA, foreign language fluency, leadership, and exploratory motivation. Finally, 31 students were picked on May 17 to receive two-week-preliminary training. Out of 4 million won, the estimated cost of the program, Ewha granted 2.8 million won as a scholarship for each student.
Yoon Ah-jung (Elementary Education, 4) said her heart began to pound after finding pop up books on European convenience store shelves. Yoon, an Elementary Education major, became very interested in pop up books after attending a children’s literature course during the previous semester. Pop up books are said to be more effective in delivering their meaning to the reader, thus contributing in prompt emotional development in the children. “In , it’s very hard to find pop up books for children—you find Christmas cards at most. Finding out how publicly available pop up books and other diverse types of books for children were in Europe, I felt that
However, Yoon added that technology advances in a speed of light in the contemporary society so there is no need for to endeavor to copy European technology. It can interact with other advanced nations and pay for the technology—which would be much faster for than struggling for independent research and development.
Oh Yea-ri (International Studies, 2) wanted to discover the intangible qualities and ethnic spirit that brought Europeans such a prosperous development. “I concluded that the European feature that brought such great success was rationality. Everywhere I went, I was able to spot signs and phrases that asked for environmental protection. Along with the signs attached were explanations on why, and for what end, we should protect the environment. They made me change my understanding of the environment because they were different from normal Korean signs that just presented a conclusion like ‘Let’s not waste water’,” said Oh.
Oh concluded that lacks such rational spirit because of its Confucian roots. “The pointless obligation and responsibility embedded in Confucian teachings do not help bring up a rational spirit in Koreans,” said Oh. Oh said she believed that Koreans can achieve productive economic success only when they begin to question “why” to every social phenomenon and become more rational.
Lim Se-mi (Pharmacy, 4) said that the EGI program was meaningful since she got a chance to visit many European international organizations and global corporations, which would have been impossible on a normal backpack trip. Lim said her most cherished moment on the tour was meeting the Korean director Gu Young-ah of the World Health Organization. “It was a precious experience since I was able to set out a direction for my future after having a discussion on careers,” said Lim.
Professor Nam made some recommendations for improving future EGI programs. “I think more students should be given opportunities to become globalized. Poor students need enlarged support from the school in financial terms. Moreover, EGI program would be more successful if we have more time to prepare and advertise,” said .