A large number of foreign tourists are penetrating their way into campus buildings.
“A tourist came into the Welch-Ryang Auditorium in the middle of our Ewha Choir class. They sat and took pictures. Others even recorded a video of us singing,” Park Hee-young (Media Studies, 1) said.
Since last year, Ewha has become a tourist attraction, particularly by Chinese visitors.
“Ewha” is read as “Li-hua” in Chinese; “Li” in Chinese has the same pronunciation meaning “profit” and “hua” is similar to “fa” which means “to flourish.” The Chinese visiting the campus, taking pictures at the school’s main gate, believe that doing so will bring them financial luck. The fact that many graduates have become the leading ladies in the society as well as wives of high-ranking officials in Korea is also a reason for the increasing number of visitors.
This is good news for the tourism industry, but the phenomenon of hundreds of people from all over the world flocking into campus has started to show its ugly side.
Recently, a student posted a message on the Ewha Portal Information System (EPIS) about the damage. She had to come to school during vacation to study but found too many outsiders using school buildings which was actually distracting.
“Since then, I realized how many outsiders are coming inside and using school facilities. Visitors making the facilities dirty, especially restrooms, made me upset,” said the student who preferred to stay anonymous. “After I decided to post my opinion on the EPIS, surprisingly more than 30 students posted replies showing agreement.”
One said that visitors even came strolling into the Law Building and took pictures of students in class. Others complained that the front of the Reading Room at the ECCis getting too crowded with visitors when it should be silent.
“I was in the Ewha-POSCO Building when I overheard visitors talk loudly in their language inside the restroom. It echoed outside to the hallway; wasn’t Ewha a school, not a tourist destination?” said a student who wished to stay anonymous.
The relay race of posting personal experiences on the EPIS continues but the school remains motionless. There is an outcry for a compromise before both the school and tourists are affected. One suggestion made by students online was to install a student ID card reading machine in buildings like the Centennial Library to allow student access only.
“The school should inform tourists on where to go and not to go,” said the student in a post on the EPIS. “They should remember students are studying here.”