Peer Mentoring for the International Students Program introduces a mentor, who must be an undergraduate student of Ewha, to one to three international students who become the mentees. The mentor and the mentees meet up on a regular basis for one semester. The mentor shows her mentees around school, has meals with them, and provides help with daily problems that might arise from studying in a foreign country.
“I used to have a best friend who was an international student from Japan,” said Kim Dong-yun, a mentor and a senior majoring in Painting. “She studied at Ewha for three years, but found it too difficult to stay any longer in Korea due to the language barrier and difficulties in employment.”
Kim said that she wanted to keep other international students from being compelled to return to their home countries, like her friend had.
International students are different from foreign exchange students in that the former are graded in the same way as Korean undergraduate students in the range of A to D, whereas exchange students are graded in a pass or fail system. Such conditions can make it difficult for international students to keep up with their schoolwork and fully adjust to Ewha. Thus, mentors aim to provide their mentees with the extra help they need.
Some international students do not stop at receiving help. Wang Hui-jin, a freshman majoring in Media Interaction Design, applied for a mentorship for the second semester. She is a Chinese student who speaks fluent Korean.
“I was a mentee last semester, and received a lot of help from my mentor,” Wang said. “Now I want to give back the help I received by aiding other international students.”
Happy Hour was open not only to international students with mentors, but also those without. It additionally welcomed international graduate students who are not qualified to apply as a mentee. The OIA is arranging another Happy Hour for Oct. 14.