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My story at Ewha with cherry blossom
2016년 04월 11일 (월) 11:19:06 Jadena Bechtel evoice@ewha.ac.kr
   
Jadena Bechtel
(Technical University of Darmstadt, 3)

Cherry blossom trees started to bloom this week and the first quarter of the semester is already done. What can I say about the differences between Ewha and my home university, between Korea and Germany so far? There is no doubt that I really enjoy my time here. Most of the Korean people are kind and always trying to help you, even if they do not have any clue what you are talking about. Also at Ewha, I always feel welcomed. But the classes are very different from my school in Germany starting with the class size (which is sometimes over 500 people in Germany), to the structure of the lecture (we only have finals – no midterms and no points for attendance) and also to the students: I’m studying at a technical university, meaning most of the students are male. That is why I was really excited about studying here at a women university with female students.
My first impression was that in some discussions there is more unanimity about certain topics. What I also recognized is the fact that students are very proud of their university. The first question is always “At which university do you study?” and then they ask my major. In contrast with Germany, Korean students are haughty when they are talking about their university. I think that one reason is the difficult college entrance examination for graduating high school students in Korea. In Germany, we apply for universities with the average high school report and don’t have to pass an entrance test. Another reason is that there isn’t one university that is the best for all majors. A small university can be excellent for studying law for instance.
Not only universities, but also the culture and lifestyles between Germany and Korea are different. For instance, on my first week in Korea, I was at Namdaemun Market and ate my first Bibimbap. An old lady served me the dish and I was starting to eat it without mixing the ingredients and using the sauce. The old lady saw my failed attempt to eat Bibimbap, a Korean dish, correctly and she sought me out again. She said something in Korean, which I could not understand and then she started mixing and preparing the dish in the right way for me. At first, I was confused about her reaction but then I understood that she just wanted to give me the chance to enjoy my meal entirely. I cannot imagine such a situation in Germany. Personally speaking, I will always remember this situation and associate it with the friendly and kind nature of the Korean people.
Another difference can be found from the landscape of the two countries. Korea has over 20 national parks and many ports. There is no doubt that Germany as well has many beautiful landscapes particularly in wooded areas. Nonetheless, Korea appears at one’s best when it is springtime and I am really looking forward to experience all the countryside Korea can present. I am really lucky with my decision to come to Korea and just want to thank everyone I have met who makes my time unforgettable in my life.

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