PEACE stands for Professional Ewhaian At Cultural Exchange, and PEACE buddies are Ewhaians who help foreign exchange students adjust to life at Ewha. Ewha selects about 30 PEACE buddies every semester, and pairs them randomly with a foreign exchange student one on one.
Mori and Chae were matched as buddies by chance and were introduced to each other at an orientation last February. After their first encounter, they got into action. Chae showed Mori all around the school campus, from the library and post office to the cafeterias, giving tips about school life at Ewha. "I let Satomi know the things that I thought were important and necessary for starting her school life in Korea. I really hoped that she would adjust fast and enjoy her studies," says Chae.
After looking around the school, they headed for the streets of Shinchon. Chae informed Mori about where to buy school supplies, where she could eat inexpensively, and what she could do in her free time. Mori was ready for her new life as an exchange student at Ewha.
The next step was introducing Korean traditions. "The PEACE buddies usually go to places like Insadong and folk villages. Satomi and I also went to folklore museums and saw traditional performances. We even made traditional Korean food like songpyon," says Chae. "But simply having access to Korean traditional culture is not all. I also try to do things that my buddy personally favors. So I went to modern art galleries and musicals with my buddies. That way, we get to learn more about each other, and when the PEACE buddy program was over, we became good friends."
Chae is actually the longest serving PEACE buddy in the program, having just volunteered for her third time. She was not immediately attracted to the program, however. "Two years ago, my friend told me something about the PEACE buddy program. At that time I didn"t pay much attention. But now, I think that was what sparked my interest," she says. Chae, who likes learning different cultures and meeting new people, was drawn to the PEACE buddy program after her first try.
Though working as a PEACE buddy requires great effort, Chae says that it is a good way to get to know about another culture and make new friends. "Being a PEACE buddy taught me many things that I didn"t know before. I also hope that others who like coming in touch with new things, like me, will volunteer for the PEACE buddy program. It will be a new experience. And if the number of PEACE buddies increases, I hope we can develop into a club."