Ewha offers window to Korea
By Aileen Kim
Hundreds of students from all over the globe flock to South Korea to participate in an annual summer program led by Ewha Womans University.
Internationally known as “Ewha Womans University International Summer College,” the school invites hundreds of students worldwide, male and female, every summer to give them an opportunity to experience Korea both academically and culturally.
“We wanted to provide an equal opportunity for men to be able to study at a women’s college while earning credits at the same time,” said Kwon So-young, a coordinator for the program.
As the first-ever Korean university credited for opening its doors to international students in 1971, the women-only school’s summer program celebrates its 40th Anniversary this year.
“The 2010 program has become richer both academically and culturally,” said Kwon. “We strive to improve our programs every year based on student responses from our surveys to provide them the best we can to help them get to know Korea.”
The university divides its program into two sessions, to better meet the various academic schedules of other global institutions.
Session I is a month-long program where participants can earn up to 6 academic credits from 2 courses of their choice. Session II is a 2-week program where students follow a set schedule designed specifically to help them better understand Korean culture while earning 3 academic credits. Students can participate in either or both sessions.
Each session consists of a variety of field trips, activities, and top-notch courses that students can engage in during their stay in Korea.
Most students showed a positive reaction to the program. They praised the institution’s course offerings, field trips, and their dormitories.
Pierre Blandin from France said, “I really liked my classes. I was able to learn a lot about Korean culture (through) the classes.”
He said the classes were discussion-oriented and the professors were very encouraging. “My professor also invited [the class] twice out for dinner on the streets of Ewha. She paid for the soju.”
Throughout the program, Ewha provided a number of weekly field trips. The field trips included places such as the Korean Folk Village in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province; The House of Sharing, both a museum and home to surviving Korean ‘comfort women’ forced into sexual slavery during World War II; the Demilitarized Zone and Everland, a world-class theme park. They also visited Andong Hahoe village, in South Gyeongsang Province, which has been recently added as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
“The field trips gave me the opportunity to go back to my roots,” said Jiny Kim, an ethnic Korean with German citizen. “I came back in 15 years and I was able to see how much Korea has really changed over the years through these weekly trips, so I was very thankful.”
Students who took the program’s optional Korean language classes were a little unhappy about the 4-hour long classes.
A male participant of the program from China, who wished to remain anonymous said, “It was very tiring and frustrating sitting down in class for 4 hours. I wanted to have fun while studying at the same time, but that was nearly impossible as the Korean [language] class ate up almost all our time.”
The Korean language program at Ewha are divided into 4 levels ranging from beginner to high-advanced. The classes lasted for 4 hours and 30 minutes with two 15-minute breaks during Session I, and 4 hours with one 15-minute break during Session II.
The writer is an intern for The Korea Times