‘Gachon International Goodwill Ambassador’ is one of the programs which intend to connect foreign students with Korean students in Gachon University. This program, in particular, was designed to help foreign exchange students and foreign freshmen or transferred students to adapt themselves to new campus life. Although it began a year ago, spring semester in 2013, it has received good responses from foreign students. It is said to be much better than previous programs such as ‘Buddy’ and ‘Being Friends with Chinese’ which were designed for simple friendship and are totally different from ‘Goodwill Ambassador’. Goodwill Ambassadors should have the mind that they represent the school and students, and attempt to provide solutions to various complaints from foreign students. They also should be able to communicating immediately with students in case of emergency. Therefore, attendance and responsibility of the ambassadors are very important. In addition, this program was made to help foreign students to understand and adjust themselves to Korean culture as well as school life. Thus, since this program is more systematical than the previous ones, it is no exaggeration to say that students of this program play a role of International Exchange Center assistant.< Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >
In order to be selected as a Goodwill Ambassador, an applicant should be Gachon University student, but seniors, prospective graduates, and students on a leave of absence are not qualified. Applicants also should give priority to this program during semester and have enthusiasm for publicizing school and Korean culture. Especially, students with their own blog are preferred. And applicants should sign up for ‘community service course’ which is possible during the period of correcting courses. You are required to submit application form, activity plan, transcript or course registration statement to International Education Support Team. Language proficiency score is not compulsory but will be more advantageous if submitted. Applicants should have an interview even after passing the document screening process. According to the International Education Support Team, competition rate is going up every time when they recruit. At spring semester of 2014,the rate was a little above 2:1. Ambassadors are given several benefits: they gain 1 credit for ‘community service course,’ and they can receive advantages when apply for another International Education Support Team program and receive 500,000won when they go abroad as successful candidates.
As a Goodwill Ambassador, you should help foreign students to sign up for courses and attend classes, give information about campus and neighborhood as well as circle activities. You need to take them to school festivals and introduce friends. To understand Korean culture, Ambassadors must participate in Korean traditional cultural experiences such as cultural community festivals, traditional game experience, exploring cultural sites, and join foreign students cultural experiences together, too. You also should be involved in foreign student-oriented events (Han-ga-wi Festival, etc.) that are organized by International Education Support Team.
You are required to drop by Gachon International Exchange Center with a foreign student once a week and check attendance. In addition, Ambassadors need to provide foreign students home-stay during Korean traditional holidays or weekends. After completing whole Ambassador Activities, you should submit a review and more than 10 photos concerning your activities. If you don’t take part in the required activities, you might be excluded from the Ambassadors.
I had an interview with Jeong, Yo-seop (Korean literature 09) who had completed Ambassador during the fall semester of 2013
Q. While you played an Ambassador, did you get along with foreign students?
A. Every communication was in English. I hung out with a lot of Malaysian friends. They have great interests in Korea so they study Korean and watch Korean dramas. Because they love Korea itself, I could have natural interactions with them. I’m still keeping in touch with them through Facebook group. "
Q. Didn’t you have any difficulty?
A. Islam was a religion of Malay friends. It baffled me when one Malay girl didn’t eat meat. As it turns out, there is a concept of halal food. I started to have interest in their culture in ‘Understanding of Islamic Culture’ class. Justas they are fond of Korean culture and understand it, I came to like sincerely Malay friends and communicate with them after learning and understanding Islam."
Q. Lastly, would you like to give advice to students about the activities of Ambassador?
A. It was a great opportunity for me to visit Korea's attractions and study with the foreigners of my age. The word 'Global capabilities', I think it starts from understanding their culture rather than English proficiency scores. And one of the best ways to understand other cultures is to be a Goodwill Ambassador. So I applied again for the program this semester and I passed."
Although our school has lots of foreign students, especially Chinese and Malay, Taiwanese, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, and so on, but it’s rare to see Korean students and them communicate. The program has a very short history, but the students who have had relationships through these activities have strong bonds. Recently, a student who had been an Ambassador went to the same school as an exchange student that his foreign friend studied. And he, in turn, is getting assistance from that friend in that country. ‘Gachon International Goodwill Ambassador’ enables students to exchange profound relationships, not mere socializing. For this program to be more active, I hope many students will have interests and participate in ‘Gachon International Goodwill Ambassador’.