Founded in 1889, Barnard College is a liberal arts college for women that is in partnership with Columbia University in Manhattan, New York. This short description is explicit enough to point out the strengths of Barnard: its history dates back to the 19th century, its location in the “city that never sleeps,” and its compatibility with Columbia University.
In 2012, I was an exchange student at Barnard College. Students and faculty members at Barnard welcomed the exchange students that came from countries all over the world. This is because Barnard provides a Visiting International Students Program (VISP), just as Ewha has a separate Office of International Affairs department. The exciting part about the program is that it provides a union of college students from different parts of the world, from Asia to Africa and from Latin America to Europe. Imagine this diversity. It was an exciting opportunity for me to make friends with other exchange students.
You might wonder the relationship between Barnard College and Columbia University. I did too, until I became part of the community. I felt like I was an exchange student at Columbia University too. Students could take classes on both either campuses, and I took two classes at Barnard and the rest at Columbia. I also joined a Christian club organization called KCCC which was run mostly by Columbia students. With my Barnard student ID, I could get into Columbia dining halls, libraries, reading rooms and weight rooms.
There was so much to do outside the campus. Times Square was just a few stations away. I think I had the “make-the-most-of-every-opportunity” mindset. On weekdays, I devoted my time on studying and catching up with school work. Then, I rewarded myself with a three-day weekend by going out to look around New York, watching Broadway shows, visiting museums and the UN headquarter and spending time at the Central Park just to enjoying the spring weather. I could not ask for a better school or a more prominent city to live in. But there were those days when I woke up in the morning feeling empty inside. While there was so much room for me to experience and learn, I realized that being away from home was not easy. I missed Korean food, wished I would be taking the same classes with my college friends, imagined eating kimbap at Ewha-Sarang and thought about the things that I could do only at Ewha.
Looking back, I realized that Ewha also provides lots of opportunities for students to take advantage of. You can check the availability of seats of the Central Library and the reading rooms online, take a nap in the sleeping rooms at ECC and the Student Union building, easily get cash from ATM machines that are conveniently located around the campus.
George Moore once said, “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.” My experience at Barnard was a period for me to be challenged both academically and culturally. I could not ask for a better school to be at. But if it were not for the exchange student program of Ewha, I would not have had the experience.
*Jun Soo-jung (’14, Psychology) studied at Barnard College as an exchange student.