Meeting and communicating between Korean students and foreign exchange students are never easy for anyone. Particularly, it may be more difficult for foreign exchange students to adjust to Korean lifestyle and culture. There are some students who are trying to increase the opportunities for foreign exchange students to take part in campus activities. Among many groups and projects striving to do this, ‘Seoulmate’ is a new circle which has a role in improving communication between Korean and foriegn exchange students.
Purpose for making the ‘Seoulmate’ To learn more about the circle, we met the president of ‘Seoulmate’, Ryu Tae-kyung (Department of International Relations, 08’) and the public relations manager, Lim hye-min (Department of International Relations, 09’). ‘Seoulmate’ sprang from the University of Seoul Buddy program (UOS Buddy), a program that helps UOS Korean students and foreign students to interact with each other. However the program has been criticized for not providing the motive of continuous and productive contents in spite of its effort to set UOS students up in face to face meetings. Therefore, ‘Seoulmate’ has appeared to make up for the problems.
Background of making the ‘Seoulmate’ and their plans Tae-kyung and Hye-min said “There is not any circle or group providing opportunities to communicate with students from different countries at UOS. In the case of other universities, most of them have paid attention to such a group and improved the situations; but not the UOS. Therefore we think it is an important attempt to make up for this shortcoming.” And then the president of the group added, “To do the project successfully, we have done our best to provide opportunities for foreign students to participate in communication activities by studying programs at other universities.” As a result, the Welcoming Party was successfully held at the end of February and the athletic meeting in upcoming March is already planned. Besides date courses with Korean and foreign students, interpretation during several festivals, and activities such as publicity ambassadors are all being planned. Currently, the total number is about 40 and it consists of volunteers all pursuing the same goal. This circle will start working in the first semester of 2012.
Pride of members Lastly, they finished interview with the saying “We had difficulties finding agreement with all people involved and getting a great deal of information to be circulated, since we have so few members and so much work to do. However, we gained confidence by solving the problem ourselves. And, it has given me a sense of pride to have performed the work as an executive. If many students are satisfied with our activities and get a chance to talk with each other, this will become invaluable.”
Method to participate in the ‘Seoulmate’ Most students might have no idea about ‘Seoulmate’ because this group is just about to start. If there are any foreign exchange students who want to actively enjoy campus life or if there are Korean students who hope for new challenges by interacting with foreign students, I would like to recommend ‘Seoulmate.’ You can contact openly with this group anytime throughout Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/uos.seoulmate), pamphlets, and a variety of festivals. We look forward to their activities and passion!