However, the meeting ended up involving hours of waiting, and only a few minutes of talking. Rice did say to the students that international relations is a very important area of study, and that she hoped the students would become future leaders in this area. But to the disappointment of the students, no in-depth conversation could take place in such a short time. Worse, it looked to observers, as if the whole point of the meeting was to shake hands and take pictures, accusing the students involved of indulging in blind hero-worship of the American Secretary of State.
It is true that Rice's visit was not well received by the general public, since some of her political positions differ from those of Korea. For example, she has expressed support for Japan's taking a permanent seat on United Nation Security Council, while Korean government claims that Japan still cannot be trusted due to its imperial past and current conflict with neighboring countries over issues such as Dokdo. Moreover, Rice herself was criticized for being impolite, visiting officials on the weekend.
However, the students are not to blame for these disagreements, but are rather the victims of this incident. They had good intentions, but the only things they received were long hours of waiting, criticism from the public, and calls from the press. Moreover, according to a DIS participant, difficulties ensued when Blue House officials were surprised to see them at the airport, since the U.S. Embassy did not notify them about the meeting in advance. Also, the students were notified only Thursday that they would meet Rice on Saturday. The real parties to blame in this case are the officials in the U.S. Embassy and Blue House whose insufficient preparation transformed the chance for meaningful dialogue into a mere photo opportunity.
The DIS students should also learn from this experience that they cannot always depend on others to interpret their actions in a positive way. From now on, students must be concerned about how their actions will appear to others, and what they can do to guarantee they will not send out the wrong message about themselves and Ewha.