The program Global Intercultural Dialogue hosted by Saint Mary’s College took place online on April 17. The program has been hosted since October 2020 and the April event was its fourth session. Students at Ewha were the only participants from Korea. Students from Saint Mary’s College (USA), Brescia University College (Canada), Jissen Women’s University (Japan), Ochanomizu University (Japan), Shandong Women’s University (China), and Royal University for Women (Bahrain) also participated.
Dr. Alice Yang, the director for International Education of the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership at Saint Mary’s College, explained that Saint Mary’s came up with the idea as they organized events to celebrate the annual international education week.
“The purpose of the bimonthly global intercultural dialogues among women’s college students around the world is to promote mutual understanding during and after the pandemic,” Yang said.
Titles of the two topics discussed were “Tourism, Pros and Cons,” and “Environmentalism in Our Countries.” Throughout the session, students were encouraged to focus on the cultural similarities and differences regarding the two themes and share them.
Regarding tourism, the stereotypes about tourists in each country were one aspect the students focused on. Each student talked about some stereotypes that exist in their own country and how they experienced that stereotypes.
Students also shared some attractions in their own countries that are popular to tourists, such as The Great Wall of China and Gyeongbokgung Palace in Korea. Topic on environmentalism mainly focused on the social dynamics in the current society. Students specifically discussed the citizens’ overall awareness of the seriousness of environmental problems and policies the government implemented to protect the environment in their own country.
Wee Ji-hae, a senior student from the Department of Social Studies Education who has participated in the event four times, explained her experience as a participant.
“The Global Intercultural Dialogue program takes place in the order of opening ceremony from the host school professor, introduction of the participating schools, small group discussions, general discussion, and finally, the professors’ comments and closing remarks,” Wee said. “After that, students have to organize what they learned during the event and then write a ‘reflection paper’ where students organize their thoughts and the lessons they learned throughout the event.”
Niu Yuang, the student leader of Shandong Women’s University, explained that she was able to learn that one should not be afraid of sharing ideas with others. She emphasized that the ideas behind one’s words matter more than one’s fluency in English.
Barbara Batycka, a senior student from Poland majoring in the Division of International Studies also expressed her thoughts regarding the event.
She explained that her most memorable discussion was about sustainability and ensuring that we are aware of the source of our food. By participating in the event, Batycka learned that although all students came from different backgrounds and cultures, they were able to show their points of view, and at last, come to a shared understanding.
As she was mentioning the success of the event, she also pointed out a possible future improvement for the event. She highlighted that because they spent much time on the first few questions, they had to speed through the rest of the questions.
“I would recommend any student to participate, regardless of how confident you are with English,” Batycka said. “You might feel intimidated, but remember that the majority of students are extremely welcoming and helpful. It’s a great opportunity to spread information not only about Ewha, but also about South Korea!”