A survey conducted by the Ewha Voice from May 15 to 20 revealed that a large majority of students, specifically 513 out of 650, have experienced inconveniences due to the flocks of visitors. This data shows that nearly 78.92 percent of the participants were bothered by the visitors and tourists. These results imply a certain degree of displeasure and discomfort felt by students.
A great number of students provided specific incidents where they were bothered. The survey showed that the greatest concern was indiscriminate photo taking, with 25.56 percent raising this complaint. According to the students’ personal observations, the visitors violate their privacy, taking their pictures without asking for permission.
“I do not mind visitors and tourists taking pictures of the school buildings, but it seems rather intrusive and impolite when they point their cameras directly at Ewha students and start taking multiple pictures,” Choi Seo-hyun (Nutritional Science & Food Management, 2) said. “I worry that I might appear in the photos.”
The irritating noise that hordes of visitors make is another major concern. Their loud, constant noise, inconsiderate of students, is greatly vexing. This problem was selected by 19.90 percent of the students as one of the main inconveniences. In fact, students complain that they turn their heads to see the source of the noise, are startled and frustrated by it, and also witness other students’ similar reactions.
“I cannot help but frown at the sight of tourist groups chattering so loudly, especially in the mornings when I am hurrying to the ECC for class,” Yoo Ju-yeon (Korean Education, 3) said. “This repeats nearly every morning; not hearing much noise is rare nowadays.”
Distraction from learning, which 15.60 percent of participants noted, is also problematic. The visiting crowds strolling about on campus and peering at students in classes and in Reading Rooms greatly disturb students from their studies. Students are frustrated that a school originally designed to provide a suitable learning environment has become so distracting.
“I was shocked when I looked up from my books and saw an outsider staring into the Reading Room through the outer glass wall of the ECC,” Yang Ji-young (Social Science Education, 3) said. “I feel as if I am at a tour site, not a school.”
Cases in which visitors and tourists physically damage campus properties have already been reported several times. The flower sculptures near the Main Gate that represent Ewha have often been damaged by tourists who touch them and sometimes break off pieces for good luck. The damaged sculptures already had to be repaired last year. Voicing their concern on this issue was 10.81 percent of the students.
“Walking toward the Main Gate of Ewha, I saw damages done to the flower sculptures,” Hong Yu-ri (Clothing & Textile, 4) said. “I saw flower sculptures missing petals and showing numerous dents in the more delicate metal parts. I heard that Chinese tourists, who believe touching the sculptures will bring them fortune, caused this.”
Safety concerns ranked next, with 10.55 percent of students noting the issue.
“Since visitors can easily get inside school buildings, I am concerned when I spend the whole night on campus studying,” Ki Hyun-soo (Business, 2) said. “I don’t know if the school has implemented measures to protect students and guarantee student safety.”
Other inconveniences included intruding in classes and libraries, littering the campus and commercializing the school, at 7.03 percent, 4.46 percent and 4.29 percent, respectively.
* Reporters: Lee Sang-ha & Oh Seo-jin