The OIA was originally established as International Education Institute (IEI) in 1985 and expanded into the current OIA in 2007.
Ever since its establishment, the OIA has worked diligently to achieve many goals as Ewha’s main engine of globalization. Its primary goal is to develop the school’s competence and to organize international academic exchange programs. The current programs include the promotion of international research and academic exchange for both students and professors.
Also, the OIA endeavors to serve as a One-Stop Service Center, which provides educational opportunities for international students and scholars at Ewha. For instance, the OIA coordinates all the international affairs and strengthens global curriculums.
The OIA helps Ewha students experience various exchange programs with foreign schools that are in partnership with Ewha. Students can register for the exchange program twice a year. Those who are chosen to study abroad are expected to broaden their perspectives as well as continue their academic career by only paying Ewha’s tuition fee. This program is notable in that it has the greatest number of exchange students sent to foreign universities among universities in Korea. Additionally, the OIA offers short-term study programs that allow students to take classes abroad during vacations.
Similar to the exchange program, the International Co-Ed Summer College is a summer college that started in 1971, and is held twice a year. In this program, students are able to take lectures of famous professors from different foreign universities. The Summer College also has partnership with Harvard University, which makes Ewha the only university in Korea to have a partnership with Harvard.
In addition, the OIA provides a program called PEACE Buddy (Professional Ewhaians at Cultural Exchange) to help exchange and visiting students adapt to a new life in Korea. The program selects undergraduate students from Ewha who can speak foreign languages to help exchange and visiting students.
The PEACE Buddies’ assistance starts from the very beginning, as they provide much information on preparation for departure to Korea and pick up exchange students at the airport. After coming to Ewha, the foreign student and the PEACE Buddies have meals on a regular basis and attend numerous parties or events together. Through this program, exchange students can develop intimate relationships with Korean students and come to understand the culture more profoundly.
To further help international students learn more about the Korean culture, the OIA sends out regular announcements of various cultural events and work opportunities through the online and offline notification boards. The boards connect foreign students with Korean organizations, so that students can get work experience or jobs in Korea.
At the cultural events, international students can cook Korean dishes, watch movies, visit Jeonju and Andong Hahoe Folk Village. By participating in these events, foreign students can learn more about Korean culture and make unforgettable memories.
Furthermore, much outstanding research is conducted with the support of global companies and foundations in partnership with the OIA. The OIA plays a vital role in promoting Ewha as an excellent partner in the global communities linking academia and industry. For instance, the school became partners with Solvay in 2011, a global chemical company from Belgium, to undertake joint research on nano-biotechnology. The other researches include one in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, supported by the Henry Luce Foundation, and the ones funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
All of these programs organized by the OIA contribute much to the development of the high-quality education and global leaders at the school. The OIA is serving as an assistant that works towards globalized education, enabling Ewha to become an internationalized university.