03/05/19. 22:30. P13
/Getting Involved in the Yonsei Spirit/
/Category: Oral/Written Communications/
/Guide Question: How do you describe yourself when you meet locals? What is your “elevator pitch” about yourself while abroad? Do you anticipate this “elevator pitch” will be the same or different upon return?/
Introductions are in order as the spring term at Yonsei University has officially started. With so many students at Yonsei, both foreign and locals, there are also just as many activities and opportunities to share the Yonsei school spirit.
“I’m Nicole. My Korean name is Yumi (유미), so you can call me that if you like. I’m Filipino-Chinese. I grew up in the Philippines but for now I live and go to school in California. I’m a double major in Accounting, and International Business and Economics. I love learning languages and so, I like to meet people from different cultures and learn more about them. I chose Korea to do my study abroad because I’m trying to get better in Korean and I plan to live here permanently later.”
The rest depends on the context, and what kind of purpose and organization I am trying to get into, but this is my general self-introduction here, both in English and in Korean. Actually, I love introducing myself in Korean more. One reason is because speaking in another language, and accordingly, being understood, makes me really happy and motivated to keep working harder on my language studies. Secondly, the language protocol is different. In Korean, we use the formal or polite endings when we introduce ourselves. At the end, although we can also say “nice to meet you” like in English, we can also say 잘부탁드립니다(jal bu-tak-deu-rim-ni-da)which roughly translates to the following: “Please take good care of me (as the people you are introducing yourself to has more experience, thus you can learn from them).” I really like this outspoken respect towards others, whether it be to someone older, or someone whose experience exceeds yours professionally or academically. It’s very similar to my own culture where the language changes depending on the person one is talking to, or the situation one is in.
I tend to be reserved and particular with people I meet, so last fall I really tried my best to “get out there” and joined a lot of school clubs. Thus, this little introduction of mine was overused a bit last fall. To be honest, some were a disappointment, but some had really been memorable. Some of my favorites included the club where we went roller skating, and rock climbing. There was the club where we helped out at an animal shelter. Another one was where we distributed coal briquettes to the elderly so that they can have a warm winter. The school community at Yonsei, and perhaps in South Korea, is really fun and tight-knit. At orientation and during the first week, I think exchange students can be overwhelmed (with excitement I hope) by the amount of school organizations. See for yourself:
Probably one of the biggest attestations to the immense school spirit I personally saw was the Yon-Ko games. My university Yonsei, has a well-known rivalry with Korea University, as both are vying for the #2 ranking for best university in South Korea. The yearly Yon-Ko Sports Festival is held sometime in the fall. Last year, it was held in early October. The matches include baseball, basketball, ice hockey, rugby, and soccer. Students can come and cheer for their university. However, some venues have limited seating, and so tickets need to be purchased beforehand. Thus, exchange students might not be able to purchase some as they prioritize Yonsei students. I wasn’t able to watch any of the matches myself as I got too sick on those particular days. I remember it was also raining, so much so that the baseball match was cancelled. Friends who went really enjoyed the matches and the after-party celebrations. Nevertheless, I did go to the cheering practice along with another club I joined. I was pretty excited as the whole atmosphere was reminiscent of cheering practice when I was in high school. My high school also had its yearly sports festival. Each class per grade level was designated a team, and the team leaders first visited individual classes in order to teach the cheers. We would have the official practice per team later on. I remember it being really fun and a great way to build camaraderie. By contrast, the Yon-Ko cheering practice seemed like an outdoor performance. There was an emcee and a band, and Yonsei and Korea-U students were gathered in their respective sides of the stadium. Some seats were even reserved for specific school clubs.
It was fascinating to watch the students cheer and voice out their pride in their school. I really wanted to participate but unfortunately, I did not enjoy the event as much as I wanted to as I had no idea what the cheers were. People already seemed to know them prior to coming. As such, I felt more like an audience member rather than a participant. We just tried hard to clap and sway along with the crowd, but it would have been better if the club officers taught us some. Looking back at it, we exchange students were just all gathered together, left alone, while the Korean students were all gathered by themselves. It would have been nice if there was a little interaction instead of just leaving us out there to figure it all out by ourselves. I think it also has to do with the fact that when they invited us to cheer, we barely knew each other. After all, the club members just met 20 minutes earlier at the appointed meeting place. Barely knowing each other’s names, we left right away to go cheer. I thought it would have been more fun and meaningful if we had already built a foundation with each other prior to going. Despite the way it was handled, it was still nice to have witnessed it.
Korea-U cheer portion~
Just swaying along… haha!
I think when I return, more or less this introduction is the same, as it had been for several years. If anything, I am more motivated to keep pursuing my goals. I think what is different is my attitude. I did so many new things this year besides those above, and this introduction provided the means to do so. Regardless of whether I liked the activity or not after doing it, I should first consider and try. After all, those things I did enjoy and had lasting impacts on me, I would never have encountered them if I always said no.
I wonder how I should get involved this semester?…