When asked about the main role of Sookmyung Cultural Ambassador, the main spokesperson said, “We go on outings with foreign students enrolled at Sookmyung to give them the opportunity to experience Korean culture.” As a leadership group at Sookmyung, Sookmyung Cultural Ambassador promotes a variety of programs specifically geared towards foreign students so that they are able to participate in international workshops. Unlike other university clubs and leadership groups, Sookmyung Cultural Ambassador welcomes members of all ages, school year, academic performance, and even nationality. If expanding your social networking to include friends from diverse ethnicities and nationalities is something you are interested in, then this is the club for you.
Please tell our readers how Sookmyung Cultural Ambassador came to be established and how it has managed to maintain its prestigious reputation.
The club was established in 2010 as a leadership group associated with the Korean Culture Institute of Sookmyung Women’s University. To form an open atmosphere and channel of communication between Korean and international students, our club offers diverse activities aimed at publicizing Korean culture and encouraging participation in international seminars and workshops hosted by the Korean Culture Institute. These objectives also allow club members to learn about other foreign cultures as well. Through active culture exchange, we nurture global leaders. Each member is placed into one of the four logical divisions according to her/his major or interest. The four categories are: Promotion, Education, Planning, and Production. Unlike a majority of other leadership groups, we welcome international students, and every member is given the chance to receive scholarship and official volunteering certification.
Sookmyung Cultural Ambassador is responsible for planning and conducting cultural exchange programs. Please elaborate on the programs you offer.
Creation of a cultural exchange program is initiated by our Planning division. Our Planning division prepares at least six programs at a semester and hosts various presentations regarding the programs. However, the final decision on which programs to offer is decided by members’ unanimous vote. We endeavour to create programs that unique; that is, things that international students have yet to experience or places they have yet to visit. For instance, last semester, we went to Paju, Heyri. Students created ceramic items and visited a museum that centered on Korea in the 1960s. After receiving advice from our club supervisor at the Korean Culture Institute, members in the Education division visit the suggested place in advance. Next, the Production team produces an eye-catching brochure, and then the promotion team endorses the program in the school buildings like in the Sookmyung Professional Development Center, two weeks prior to program commencement. We generally only offer one-day programs, and half of the participants tend to be international students. During the program, we require participants to partake in certain activities like taking a picture at a specific place. At the end of the program, we ask for feedback from each participants. Last semester, almost all participants, after visiting Heyri, said, "I would love to go there again; it was so much fun,” which made club members satisfied and fruitful.
There are lots of clubs and leadership groups interacting with international students. How does your club differentiate itself from others?
Lots of groups that interact with international students only create one-on-one activities for Korean and international students; however, our club is aimed at group involvement to ensure all club members and participants enjoy the experience, and we hope the event will remain as a precious memory. It feels like a semesterly retreat. Also, our group members enjoy privileges that cannot be attained in other groups. In addition to receiving an official volunteering credit certificate, extra points are given to members who apply for international programs hosted by the Korean Culture Institute. Some of our members had the opportunity to visit France last semester because of the extra points. Moreover, instead of joining a culture exchange program during a school vacation, students may participate in international seminars or workshops during the semester. Last but not least, as mentioned previously, our organizational system is a source of pride. Even those who are not good at foreign languages can brighten our club by showing their aptitude and finding their potential in the club. Since we are currently preparing a second program for this semester, which will be held on this coming May, I would like to leave a final comment for Sookmyungians: please show your spirit by participating, and expressing interest in our work.