The number of foreign exchange students at Ewha reached the greatest in the fall semester of 2014.
Total of 436 foreign exchange students from 32 nations and 206 universities came to study at Ewha this semester.
Compared to 326 students in the spring semester 2014 and 360 students in the fall semester 2013, the number of visiting foreign exchange students has increased 33 percent and 21 percent respectively.
In order to provide exchange opportunities for Ewha students to study at other universities abroad, the university is required to receive the same number of foreign exchange students.
For this, Ewha has signed agreement on exchange students with numerous universities abroad. Meanwhile, the Office of International Affairs (OIA) is running active student exchange programs, which resulted in an increase in exchange students at Ewha.
“The number of foreign exchange students that come to Ewha is increasing every year,” said Kwon So-young, an official of OIA. “We heard that foreign exchange students who experienced exchange program at Ewha share the excellence of our program with other students when they go back to their own school. Moreover, Ewha’s beautiful campus and the life of students here are spread through the social network service, which draws more foreign students to Ewha.
According to the OIA, Ewha provides chance for both Ewha students and foreign exchange students to experience an environment full of various culture experiences. Even male students come from universities overseas to study at Ewha.
However, the OIA is facing problems with foreign exchange students’ housing issues. While the number of students who would like to come to Ewha is continuously increasing, there is a limitation in the international dormitory.
For instance, 70 foreign exchange students have to find housing elsewhere in this semester. Finding an appropriate housing for those students takes time and effort, especially since they are not familiar with the environment and language.
“My parents were really worried about where I should stay in Korea since it was my first stay in Korea,” Jasmine Xu (Fudan University, 3) said. “Some students have to stay outside campus due to the lack of accommodation, and it is quite uncomfortable. For most of us it is hard to adjust to a new county and the ones who live off campus require twice the effort.”
Toward this problem, the OIA arranged a list of available housing such as hotels, officetels, guest houses and share houses close to campus for those who were not assigned a room in the international dormitory.
Not only the housing problems but also, foreign exchange students mentioned inconvenience in getting help from the Ewha PEACE Buddy. Usually one Ewha student becomes a buddy for four to five foreign exchange students and spend time with them to ease their stay at Ewha. Despite the increase in the number of foreign exchange students this semester, the number of Ewha PEACE Buddy remained the same as the semester before.
Consequently, Ewha students were assigned more foreign exchange students as buddies than usual, for some as many as 11.
“Some of the exchange students feel that we are not taken care of that well and we know that it is too much of a burden for one Ewha student to take care of five to 11 exchange students,” Xu said. “Yet, having many exchange students in class is also fun since we can become friends with many students from countries other than Korea.”
There will be no further changes in the Ewha PEACE Buddy system for this semester. However, the OIA is searching for ways to change the system to fit students’ needs in the upcoming semester.
“The OIA plans to try harder to solve minor to major issues regarding student exchange programs,” Kwon said. “It aims to be familiar to students by posting school news and information on its social network service and the officials will try to answer all e-mail questions in less than two days. We will search for ways to solve housing issues and improve the satisfaction of classes at Ewha for foreign exchange students.”