For five consecutive years, Ewha has been selected as the Seoul partner school of the Harvard College in Asia Program. The Ewha-Harvard HCAP, as the program is known, is a student-run program at Harvard University established to build bridges between the United States and Asia and to share different cultural experiences. The program proceeds in two phases; a conference at Harvard University in January and an annual conference in March at all six Asia partner universities. This year’s HCAP conference theme in Asia was “Technology and Social (in)Justice.”
HCAP provides numerous opportunities for students from diverse schools to interact and build relationship. As Harvard is one of the most prestigious educational institutes in the world, the continued exchange increases Ewha’s recognition.
Moreover, Ewha promotes academic and cultural progress through HCAP and publicizes Korea by assisting international students explore the country.
“The program itself is an opportunity to foster a positive image of Ewha and raise awareness of our school to international students,” said Park Sun-yang, the program coordinator in the Office of Global Affairs in charge of the Ewha-Harvard HCAP program. “The academic, cultural and intellectual capacities of Ewha students meet with those of Harvard students, thereby leading to a long term partnership.”
Platform I of the HCAP in Harvard was settled from Jan. 15 to 22. Students from six different Asian universities came together with Harvard students and casted their thoughts and opinions on the official case study topic of Harvard’s HCAP: One Laptop Per Child (OLPC). One hundred and twenty delegates discussed the effectiveness of OLPC and whether there could be an alternative that could be carried on at a lower cost.
“Personally, I was more thrilled by the free talks that came and went between delegates,” Kim Chae-jin (Pharmacy, 4) said. “There was a Japanese student interested in Korea, and we had the chance to share our thoughts on the social similarities between the two countries. Throughout the conversations, I was able to learn and discover about my true self and Korea.”
Furthermore, striding off from the scheduled program, Kim and several of her friends followed Harvard students on an undercover expedition of the Harvard Widener Library.
“The Harvard Widener Library was a place that I had always wanted to visit, so I asked the Harvard delegates if they could escort me and my friends to the library,” Kim said. “The library was grand and majestic. It was vacation, yet students had their heads buried between books; the scene itself exclaimed how Harvard was considered one of the world’s greatest universities.”
Platform II of the HCAP in Ewha took place from March 10 to 18. As a student-run program, delegates of Ewha planned the eight day visit of Harvard students. However, the preparation process was not always pleasant.
“Finding sponsors to provide funding for the program was backbreaking,” she said. “The Seoul conference holds only 30 students, so it was hard to convince corporations to sponsor the program and explain the features. When everything seemed to fall apart, Ewha’s Center for Climate/Environment Change Prediction Research and Dr. Robbin offered a hand.”
Furthermore, as the vice president of Ewha-Harvard HCAP, Kim shouldered more responsibility than other delegates. She was in charge of the safety and comfort of both the students and the program providers.
“Many Harvard students understood and empathized with my role and followed our guidances,” Kim said. “However, there were those unfortunate times when students were late and some fell sick. It was difficult to act as a leader, considering all the exceptions and punctuality of the program schedule.”
In the end, all the ups and downs that delegates experienced came back as an unforgettable week. All the trouble was compensated with cherished memories.
“There are always parts that we look back to and hope they were done another way, but I still believe that our 2012 Ewha-Harvard HCAP conference was a success,” Kim said. “As Ewha has done previously, I hope that such high quality and diverse exchange could continue on.”