Established to Promote Deeper Understanding of KoreaSuffering from loneliness in Korea? Are you studying alone? The foreign students who study at Ewha do not have to be alone anymore. The "Korean International Students Association (KISA)" supports foreign students nationwide.
The president of KISA, Kimi Tsunoda (Political Science & Diplomacy, 2) established KISA on April 4 after discussing the hardships of foreign students in Korea with a Japanese friend at Seoul National University (SNU).
"I had some support from others when I was in difficult situations during my middle school years which really helped my morale and gave me confidence. I also want to be supportive of foreign students at Ewha. As you know, there are many cultural differences. For example, my Chinese friend was embarrassed when she first met a Korean. Koreans ask about one's age and whether one has a boyfriend or not. In China, asking those questions is rude. However, we are in Korea, and we should understand Korean culture and adjust to it. KISA wants to help students who have difficulty adjusting to Korean culture. It has been established to give courage to foreign students, to promote better understanding among cultures, and to promote a deeper understanding of Korea."
Founding KISA was tough work. Tsunoda hung some posters on notice boards, and sent e-mails to foreign students to advertise KISA. KISA held two orientations on April 4 and 28. At the first orientation, only students came, but at the second, some professors also came to watch and showed interest. Tsunoda gained courage and continued her efforts to gather members. Now KISA has 20 foreign students and 24 Korean students as assistants.
"The interesting thing is that Korean students now have more interest in KISA. Maybe it's because of one's desire to make foreign friends. However, since it is a union for foreign students studying in Korea, we have to advertise more to encourage them to join," said Tsunoda.
"There are some student unions like KISA in other universities too; for instance, SNU, Hanyang, and Kwangwoon. Kwangwoon's foreign student union is especially famous for having many Chinese students as members, so Chinese students in Korea prefer to go to Kwangwoon University to study."
The international student union at SNU, SNU KISA, was established by Lisa Witter (Seoul National Univ., 2), a friend of Tsunoda's. SNU KISA has 50 members: most of the members are foreign students and one member is Korean. It holds meetings every Monday evening to discuss what activities they should do. To raise funds for these club activities, they baked cookiesand sold them during the three days of SNU's May festival. On the first day, they sold cookies; on the second, South American traditional food; and on the third, Japanese and Thai food.
Witter said that SNU KISA is preparing to expand its organization nationwide. This is why she helped Tsunoda establish Ewha KISA. Witter and Tsunoda are ready to give a presentation at Kyunghee University soon on establishing an international student union there also.
Tsunoda adds, "I wish to see KISA prosper like the student unions of other universities. To promote KISA, we made food stands with our Turkish friends at the May festival. Our menu was Turkish kebab, Turkish ice cream, banana with chocolate, Japanese rice cake, and Jasmine tea. It was a worthwhile experience. Through our effort, we came to know more foreign friends, and were able to advertise KISA. From now on, we hope more students from abroad will join us."
KISA is not officially registered as a school club yet, but is planning to have its own union room, and receive subsidies from the school. It is also planning to exchange activities with the student unions of other universities.
저작권자 © Ewha Voice 무단전재 및 재배포 금지