The Power of International Students
A volunteer group, ‘Welcome Handae’
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On the second floor of the International building, a global lounge along with a global information center desk is available for anyone to use. Any international students can ask whatever problem they have through this desk. However, surprisingly, the people answering these questions are also international students of Hanyang University (HYU). ‘Welcome Handae’, which is a volunteer group mainly consisted of international students, just finished recruiting their members for the second semester on the 18th and are ready to help their colleagues.
Light for Hanyang international students
‘Welcome Handae’ is a volunteer group working behind the global information lounge. This lounge was first made due to the increasing number of foreign students visiting HYU. Currently in the International building, numerous administration teams are located, making it extremely hard for international students who aren’t familiar with Korean to receive the answers for their questions. In order to solve this problem, the global information center was opened on July 2016, as a one-stop service. Any international students can resolve most of their problems through this center that is seen as soon as they enter the building.
The manager of the global information center, Park Jin-ju explained that this group was initially created for the community service hour of foreign students. “Since most of the community service activities require fluent Korean skills, Welcome Handae was made for those who weren’t familiar with Korean.”, said Park. However, this program provided help not only for those participating, but also for other foreigners who were having trouble adapting to an unfamiliar environment. As most of the participants are international students, they were able to completely understand other international students’ difficulties and give them effective solutions as if it were their own problem.
Welcome Handae provides extensive help to foreign students in numerous areas. They first help simple questions such as locations of various facilities and methods of handling various documents and applications. Moreover, information such as job fairs and useful programs in HYU are noticed through the posters made by the Welcome Handae students. They also plan various events held by the global information center in the global lounge such as Halloween and Thanksgiving Day, providing various entertainment as well. As Hanyangians, they provide eye-level assistance to all international students.
As participants of Welcome Handae
Not only did Welcome Handae give a lot of help to interantional students, but they also say they have received a lot from their experience. A Kenyan student, Nyambegera Duke Zacharia (Computer Science, 4th year) who participated reminisced “I think Welcome Handae is a great opportunity to learn not only about Korea, but also about many other countries. You can make friends with various nationalities, learning more about different cultures. I think this program evokes mutual understandings between other countries.” Moreover, Mohd Khairil Khairon (Department of Electronic Engineering, 3rd year) from Malaysia remarked “Both my English and Korean improved through this work. I am now able to find the information I need through the internet as I practiced doing so. I felt proud of myself when I was able to help another student apply for a program through the internet.”
There were students who realized the hardships of others through their work. Luis Manuel Escandon (Mechanical Engineering, 4th year) from Mexico mentioned that he realized the effort the faculty was making towards the students. “I used to ignore the text messages sent from school since I couldn’t understand them properly. However, I found out that they were intently researching to make programs helpful for us.” There was even a student who was able to change another student’s school life. Rui Zhang (Theater and Film, 2nd year) from China gave advice to a student wishing to quit school even before entering, for the fear of their grade. She spent her time with the student even after her working shift, and was able to persuade the student to come back to Hanyang University again. “I felt so proud of myself when the student came back to me to say thank you for what I did,” reminisced Zhang.
The third Welcome Handae will start their work from the second semester, and are prepared to give more help to all international students. Chang Ha-il (Business, 3rd year), a Korean participant, expressed his hope for the development of both Welcome Handae and the global information center. “There are a lot of information foreign students can receive, even when they don’t have any questions. I hope that they would more freely use this center and receive a lot of meaningful information they can use as HYU’s students.”
On Jung-yun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Choi Min-ju
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