Planning your new life at Ewha
Planning your new life at Ewha
  • 차지혜 기자
  • 승인 2008.03.31 00:00
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▲ Laura Compagnon, on the far right, spends her free time working with a group of friends in order to avoid wasting her time.

Living a new life at a new country, a new school with new people in a whole new environment is a lot harder than you think――unless you have actually been in the situation. For international students who have come to Ewha activities, ranging from making new friends, looking for the right extracurricular activities, and adjusting to Korean culture require careful planning and a thorough understanding about lives at Ewha. These students run hither and thither to adjust to their hectic schedules and new life. International students share how they have been managing themselves to cram in all their activities and spend a year with no regrets before they turn to go back to their home countries.


             Kristina Smith (Stephens College, 3) has her own plans on how she will manage her time here at Ewha. “Seoul is a very big city and I want to do many things while I am here. However, I only have 4 months, which is quite a short period of time. I have to be really diligent to do everything I want,” said Smith.


Aside from the two weekdays when she has class, Smith is planning to spend her time studying and participating in activities in and out of school. “I want to do many things—work as an assistant reporter for the Ewha Voice, join the Young Leaders Club, and also do volunteer work. That is why I am looking for an organization where I can actually teach English to disadvantaged people.”


Smith was not the type of person to plan beforehand before she came to Ewha. “But this semester, since I have a time limitation for all the different activities from academic to extracurricular that I want to accomplish, I am definitely going to set a schedule and try to follow it,” said Smith.


       Although she has her schedule set, Smith expresses concerns about actually being able to keep to her schedule since there are so many temptations to hang-out among international students. “Every single day, a friend calls me to go to a bar or a club and it’s really hard to say no to soju,” she says. Nevertheless, Smith said that is why she has decided to stay disciplined for the rest of her stay at Ewha. “I always have to keep in mind that the reason I came here is to study and learn more about Korean culture.”


Laura Compagnon (University of Caen, 4) says that her life here is totally different from that in her home country. This is because, in France, students attend almost 30 hours of class a week. “Here at Ewha, I am taking only 4 classes so I have a lot of free time. During the week, I only have classes until Wednesday,” said Compagnon.


So, how is Compagnon planning to spend the e time that she has left for herself? “I have to spend Thursday as my homework day so that, from Friday to Sunday, I can go out and visit different places in and out of Seoul. During my free time, I am not going to waste my time doing unnecessary things in my dorm. Rather, I am planning to set up a time with my friends when I can work in groups, do projects, and get motivated from them,” said Compagnon. She is also planning to participate in a club where international students can learn Korean. 


According to Novrida Pasca Sarjanastuti (International Studies, 3) who is from Indonesia and has spent more than two years at Ewha, the way students manage their time in Korea is very different from that in Indonesia. “I think it is because of the studying atmosphere in Korea. Korean students study most of the time due to fierce competition. When they are not studying, they apply for jobs and do internships. In short, everything they do is about learning,” said Sarjanastuti.


To adjust to the competitive Korean atmosphere, Sarjanstuti also decided to join in the race and participate in different types of learning. She is a member of ACE (the DIS Economics Society), and currently does two internships. Last year, she also did other internships and worked in the International Information Center in the International Education Building. In addition to all the activities that she does, Sarjanstuti strives to keep up with her studies. She mostly spends her free time, reviewing for her next class. “It is tiring to always ‘work,’ but its fun too. I just think that I am investing my time for the future,” she said.


Even amidst the burdens of studying and learning continuously, there is always fun and excitement awaiting Ewha’s international students. It is definitely hard to avoid parties, especially when you’re abroad, and friendship is what you need to survive the loneliness. How can you control yourself and stay away from being addicted to partying all night?


According to Smith, one must be responsible to enjoy partying. “If you want to go to a party, then go ahead. But be sure that you are able to finish all your work before or afterwards. Finish what you have to do even if it means reducing your sleeping hours. Party hard, study harder. That is the way to succeed.”



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