The Ewha-HCAP (Harvard College in Asia Program) Conference was held at Ewha with 20 Harvard University students participating from March 22 to 30. The program was held as an extension to the previous conference arranged at Harvard University in February, where 10 Ewha students participated along with other Asian students.
HCAP is a student-run organization at Harvard established to promote greater interest and understanding of Asia among Harvard students. Six Asian universities were selected as partners for the 2008 program and Ewha was chosen as the first Korean partner.
The HCAP program in Korea aimed to show the invited students various aspects of Korea including history, culture, politics and economy. The theme of the conference was Introduction to Korea, and it included a lecture and debate on hallyu (the Korean wave).
The lecture on hallyu was given by the Professor Kim Eun-mee (International Studies) and the debate on the issue "This house believes that Korean government should increase its support for hallyu” was arranged by EDiS, a debate club in the Division of International Studies. EDiS students arranged the debate and Harvard students had chances to attend the debate and question them. “From the questions and comments the Harvard students gave, I found out that they had very keen and precise sense,” said You Ho-yoon (International studies, 3).
“At first I did not intend to visit Seoul, but when I checked out the program, I knew I wanted to come here. Compared to the other countries, Ewha proposed a very balanced schedule between academic activities and touring,” said Israel Figueroa (Harvard University, 3).
The schedule outside of campus included tours to the Joint Security Area (JSA), Gyeongju (an ancient Korean capital) and POSCO (a steel company). Also, the students visited some attractive spots in Seoul: the Yoo Family (a traditional house), Citizen’s Hall in Gwangwamun, City Hall, the National Assembly Building, the 63 Building (a skyscraper which offers a full view of Seoul), Cheonggyecheon (a stream crossing downtown Seoul), a Han River cruise, the LG Building in Yeouido, NANTA and B-boy performance, Samcheong-dong (a traditional street in Seoul), and Myeong-dong (downtown area in Seoul).
“On the way to Gyeuongju we visited several highway rest areas and Harvard students really liked them since they offered students chances to experience actual Korean life, like trying out some Korean snacks,” said Kim Sung-mi (International Studies, 3).
“Visiting the Yoo Family was one of the best programs we prepared since Harvard students really enjoyed dressing up in hanbok (traditional Korean dress) and learning dado (the traditional tea ceremony). It was really a great chance to experience traditional Korean culture,” said Jang In-ji (Economics, 4).
“We successfully carried out our planned schedule without any changes. I think we could only have completed it so perfectly thanks to the active and voluntary help of the 40 Ewha participants,” said Ham Ji-ah (Business, 4), the head of the Ewha delegation.
“We make contact in advance of the conferences since the whole process of HCAP program is planned and managed by students, and I think this procedure is the most meaningful part of the HCAP. It offers us opportunities to build relationships with other participants, not only during the conference period but also during the preparation time,” said Zeba Syed (Harvard University, 3)
The Harvard students left strong impressions on the Ewha students. “They are ordinary in general, but have some special characteristics. Each student has clear and distinct opinions, and they have discussions anytime on any issue, whether during class or while out touring,” said Jang.
Kim said that participants of HCAP are planning to keep in touch with each other through the online community Facebook and through Harvard-Ewha summer sessions.
13According to the Office of Global Affairs (OGA), Ewha was satisfied with the benefits this program brought to the school and plans to apply for the next HCAP program. "In addition to introducing Korea, Ewha got publicity as the world’s largest women’s university to Harvard students. Also, since this program is not a simple exchange program, it extends to building up an international network with a world famous university," said one staff member.