In front of Welch-Ryang Auditorium on February 23, scores of graduating students are posing for pictures to help them remember the days at Ewha. Among them, two foreign students wearing square caps and white ribbons around their neck are special. They are Nurliana Kamaruddin (’09, International Studies) from and Adelide Mutinda (’09, International Studies) from , along with Novrida Pasca (’09, International Studies) from . They are the first Ewha Global Partnership Program (EGPP) students to leave Ewha with graduation certificates in their hands.
The EGPP is a scholarship program started in 2006 that selects and educates promising female students from developing countries on full scholarship at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The goal of the program is to nurture the students and prepare them to become into top professionals and global leaders of the 21st century when they go back to their countries.
The EGPP not only provides tuition and boarding expenses but also offers diverse services to help students settle down in . In freshman year, students are provided a mentor for each semester and an academic advisor who specially manages and assists their class schedule. The school also holds a gathering of EGPP students and a party to celebrate the opening and the end of each semester. Every year about 10 to 20 students enter Ewha on EGPP scholarship and currently over 50 are studying here.
Kamaruddin learned about the EGPP when she met Professor Brendan Howe from Division of International Studies (DIS) at a debate tournament. He informed her about this program and suggested she apply. Though her Ewha life started almost by coincidence, Kamaruddin says she managed to carry out her best work at Ewha.
“Throughout my college years here at Ewha, I was always busy studying and did not slack off on my assignments. That’s how I was able to graduate within 3 years,” said Kamaruddin.
Kamaruddin says she faced few cultural obstacles to living in since she was also from an Asian country. Therefore she could spend her time with the debate club of DIS, EDiS, where she had valuable experiences sharing thoughts with friends and preparing for national and international tournaments.
“It was a great opportunity to learn so much about the world, living beyond my own comfort zone, thanks to Ewha and the EGPP,” said Kamaruddin.
Mutinda who is from came to know about the program when a Korean missionary came to and proposed applying to the program.
“I had never heard of Ewha before, but the missionary said that applying for the EGPP program would give me a gold ticket to study at one of the most prominent universities in ,” said Mutinda.
Mutinda says she always gave her best efforts to keep up with her school work. She even took classes during the vacations and, in some semesters, took 21 credits. However, studying hard and getting good grades was not easy at the beginning for her.
While Kamaruddin found Korean a familiar place to live in due to the similarities between Asian countries, Mutinda found Korean culture as a whole new world for her.
“I was shocked to learn about things like ban-mal (casual speech to friends or younger people) and nop-im-mal (honorific expressions for elders). Moreover, the weather was extremely cold for me. I never felt this cold in my country,” said Mutinda.
Besides the language and weather, Mutinda said that she couldn’t understand why people bowed to each other. But now she feels familiar with Korean culture after studying for three years here at Ewha.
Mutinda remebers the unique experience of trip through which she learned more about . With about 60 other foreign students, she toured places such as Jindo County and Jeju Island .
“It was the most interesting activity during my time in . Therefore, even though I didn’t participate in club or extracurricular activities, I have plenty memories of ,” said Mutinda
Novrida Pasca (’09, International Studies), who went back to her home country, , could not attend the graduation ceremony, but she is also one of the EGPP graduates. She spent her last semester in working for SK Telesys Co., Ltd. in their Indonesia Office.
“I fulfilled the course requirements last year, but I graduated this semester due to the changes in some subjects. I am now a career woman and it feels great to work up to my abilities,” said Pasca.
Leaving all these memories behind, Mutinda and Kamaruddin prepared to go back to their home countries to realize their dreams like Pasca is now doing. Different from the first days in , when they just thought about studying hard and finishing the school, they are now stepping to the next level as future woman leaders. With the precious memories and education they’ve learned at Ewha and in , the three women are ready to start a new chapter of their lives.