[Saranghandae] Chinese Student Council at Department of Business Administration
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Hanyang University (HYU), as a university soaring into the world, is made up of numerous international students who are not only experiencing Hanyang as exchange students, but also as degree seeking freshmen. Among these international students, Chinese students make up a high proportion. Of all the international students entering the Department of Business Administration, 90% are Chinese. These students also account for 25% of the whole department. Due to this large number, a student council for Chinese students was created in 2010 to ease the problems Chinese students face. We met seven students from this student council and asked them about their lives as students and council members.
Student council? We’re here to help!
Numerous international students face various difficulties when trying to live in a different culture. Their language barrier is only one of the problems they are faced with. Seven members of this student council – Ye Jie (4th year), Wu Chunnying (2nd year), Wang Jiang (1st year), Wang Yifei (1st year), Cui Xianji (2nd year), Wang Yujia (2nd year) and Du Chuanbin (1st year) – all majoring in Business Administration, gave us their individual stories of being part of the Chinese student council.
Since 2010, the Chinese student council has been made to provide a welfare system for the Chinese international students facing hardships in their school lives. As the 8th student council this year, with Ye Jie leading them as president, there are 28 members making up four teams – the organization, administration, public relations, and planning teams.
The student council helps Chinese students in their major with basic pre-semester information, both for academic and social purposes. The planning team first plans most of the council’s events, such as membership training, visiting enterprises and so on. The public relations team then sends out announcements through WeChat, the most famous messenger in China. They run two chat rooms, as they have so many people involved. The administration team takes care of the international students’ lounge, books, medicine, and even umbrella rentals, while the organization team works in coordination with the public relations team for all other matters.
A year in the student council
The student council’s year starts with inviting Chinese freshmen to their chat rooms before they officially enter the school. They hold an orientation for these students so that they can register for courses, have information pertinent to international students and receive help with academic obstacles. They explain graduation requirements, electronic attendance, and so on in Chinese so that they have a better understanding of their school before they enter. As the scale of the Chinese student council is the biggest in HYU, they are also the only department that hosts an orientation before students enter the university.
Their membership training is also differentiated from other majors - not only within Chinese student councils, but also from Korean majors. The student council tries different activities within this membership training. They have visited a strawberry farm to make jam, played survival games in Gang-hwa Island, and gone to Everland, and visited the Incheon seashore. With 30 to 40 students, they have gone away for a night to do various activities, have barbeques and just to have fun.
The Chinese students also visit various Korean enterprises. The administration team of the Department of Business Administration helps with organizing this event. The students and the administration team staff members guide around 80 students to these enterprises along with a cultural activity for two days. They have visited different corporations such as Kia, Hyundai, Hite and Paik Jong-won’s lunch box factories. They learn how these enterprises are run, and try out the products if they are related to food or drinks. On the second day, the students can experience cultural activities such as making Hanji, the Korean traditional paper, or visiting famous sites such as Cheonmundae, where our ancestors use to observe the stars.
Lastly, they organize an alumni party twice a year – once in Korea and once in China. Current and former students get together for networking, which makes it a perfect chance for everyone to get along and make new relationships. They had their alumni party at the end of October this year, and the president of the student council and staff members from the administration office are planning to go to China next March.
As a Chinese person living in Korea
As international students themselves, each Chinese student council member had their own hardships and triumphs in Korea. Wang Yujia reminisced, “I didn’t know anyone when I first came to Korea. However, I made friends and families through this council and decided I should also take part in it. I also want to learn more Korean culture.” Cui Xianji also mentioned “I came to Korea relatively later than others. I had a lot of hardships in a new country with a different culture. However, I received a lot of help from the student council and decided that I could also help people through being a member myself.”
The student council has become a way for Chinese students to get along and make valuable relationships, and the members of the student council are more than willing to make more of this happen. Ye Jie mentioned that there are quite a few students with whom they couldn’t get in touch before entrance, as some of them didn’t have WeChat accounts. However, now looking at these students making an account and socializing after attending the membership training, he reminisces and feels that their actions have been worthwhile.
Unlike Korean student councils, the members of the Chinese student council have to take care of not only yearly events, but also come up with methods that can better help Chinese students overcome hardships related to cultural differences. Even though the number of international students is constantly increasing, the obstacles they have to face are still present. Cui Xianji explained, “I wish the prejudice towards Chinese would change. There are a lot of hardworking students, and they really work hard for their future.” Student councils that focus solely on helping international students should be more facilitated as we continue to welcome more and more international students.
▲ The Chinese student council members took a commemorative photo when visiting a corporation.
▲ They are enjoying the various activities of Korean farms.
▲ 2018 Chinese students’ Membership Training
By On Jung-yun (Student Reporter)
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