Students share culture at universities

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Students share culture at universities

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Yang Mei Ping from China poses with her jian zhi, a traditional paper-cut decoration. By Lee Eun-joo

It’s October and lovely fall weather is here - the wind is rising and the sky is high and clear. Autumn is the perfect season for outdoor activities, and Sogang University and Yonsei University each recently organized get-togethers for foreign nationals.
Three-hundred foreign students are currently registered at Sogang University’s Korean Language Education Center and participants from 10 countries, including the Ivory Coast, Japan, China, the United States and Italy shared traditional foods and games during the Sogang International Culture Festival last Thursday.
One participant was Davaajamts Davaajargal, 17, who wore a long, loose Mongolian traditional garment called a deel.
“Shagai is a Mongolian fortune-telling dice game similar to Korean yut [a traditional board game played during the Korean New Year],” Davaajargal said.
“The dice is made of a sheep’s ankle bone and each side represents a horse, sheep, goat and camel,” she said in slow and clear Korean. The game brings you luck if the dice you roll shows a horse and a sheep.
Yang Mei Ping, 24, from China, explained the traditional paper-cutting art - jian zhi - in Chinese.
“Ever since paper was invented during the Han Dynasty, paper cutting has been a popular art,” Ping said.
She said that paper-cut decorations are displayed on walls, mirrors and lanterns or hung in doorways for good luck.
Food cannot be left out of a cultural festival. Bangladesh students had drumstick curry, the Japanese had takoyaki (octopus balls dish) and Italians had risotto and home-baked cookies on the menu.
Elsewhere, Yonsei University’s outdoor amphitheater held spirited academic contests.
In celebration of the 561st Hangul Day, the 16th Annual National Korean Language Writing Contest for Foreign Nationals was held Monday. Organized by the Institute of Language Research and Education at Yonsei, 1,509 students from 59 countries gathered and wrote either a poem about the theme of stars or an essay about a voyage.

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Foreign national students write hangul poems and essays at Yonsei. [JoongAng Ilbo]

Chris Martin from the United States came to Korea hoping to meet film director Park Chan-wook. After viewing Park’s movies “Oldboy” and “Lady Vengeance,” Martin became a big fan of his films. The American even sent a letter to Park in Korean two weeks ago.
Last Saturday, he took a 5 a.m. bullet train to Busan to attend the Pusan International Film Festival.
Magdalena Kwiatkowska, 24, from Poland, wrote an essay on the joys of travel. She majored in Korean in Poland. Kwiatkowska called for protecting North Korean human rights.
Chung Dong, 23, a Korean Japanese, came to Korea as a fan of hallyu, or Korean Wave.
Meanwhile, 25 participants won a poetry prize. The grand prize went to Qi Fei from China, whose poem told how stars keep him from loneliness.


By Lee Eun-joo Contributing Writer [estyle@joongang.co.kr]

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