While summer and winter vacations mean a break from teaching for many professors, they mean a set of sparkling and eager eyes in the faces of Cambodian students at the RUPP for the professors of Ewha GSSW.
Taking turns each vacation, the GSSW professors have been teaching social welfare at the RUPP since 2009 as a part of the university’s staff after Ewha established the Master of Social Work department in the RUPP. The Cambodian students learn various aspects of social welfare through the two-year course.
Through subjects such as Public Health and Social Work, Social Work Counseling & Crisis Intervention, and Social Policy Analysis, the Ewha GSSW professors combine both theory and practice in their lessons to provide practical education suitable for Cambodia’s status quo.
Professor Nho Choong-rai (Clinical Social Work) uses roleplay during his lectures to effectively address the current social welfare problems in Cambodia.
“I ask the students to point out welfare problems in their community, and during the lesson, students not only reenact the problem but also give each other counseling on the problem,” Nho said.
In professor Cho Sang-mi’s (Social Welfare Administration) Community Organization and Devleopment class, students have a chance to actually go out into the field to interview others in their community and come up with a detailed plan to deliver Cambodia from its poverty cycle.
“The process of sending students out to their community was actually very troublesome and complicated, but the students appreciated this at the thought that they are looking for real solutions that can help Cambodia,” Cho said.
After the investigation is complete, students compose a paper about their research and present it to the class.
At the end of the two-week education, the Ewha GSSW professors return to Korea, but their interaction with the Cambodian students continues throughout the Korean semester. In many cases, the Ewha GSSW professors each guide a designated student on the student’s thesis by providing feedback online.
“Sometimes they even send me pictures of themselves, telling me how they are doing and inquiring my health,” professor Yang Ok-kyung (Clinical Social Work) said.
Yang remembers the Cambodian students as warm-hearted students, who handed her Cambodian-style Kimbap (Korean sushi) when she did not have sufficient time for a proper meal.
The GSSW professors agree that all the Cambodian students are passionate and enthusiastic about their studies, eager to find an actual working solution for their home country.
“Their proposed solutions have yet to be adopted by the government as real policies, as we have only had one class of graduating students so far, but I expect these students to become the policymakers in the future,” Cho said.
* Reporter: Chung Yoon-young & Lee Ji-hyun & Jeon Ji-won & Lee Sang-ha