As 2018 gets underway, I’d like to explore the idea of inclusivity. Thi s means including people in your group, who otherwise may not be because of a disability, or being part of a minority. For example, we recently witnessed the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. It was certainly an historical moment, seeing a united Korean team representing the two Koreas. There were differing opinions when the news broke that North Korea was interested in sending a team to the Winter Olympics. After the first meeting of the two governments in over two years, the idea became a definite plan. Sports have a way of bringing people together: individuals from similar cultural backgrounds, as well as those from completely different worlds. There is a sense of camaraderie that comes out when playing sports. It doesn’t only exist in sports; camaraderie may also be applied at the workplace, or in school.
In much the same way, comradeship can be created in other environments. These would include places such as religious organizations, chat-groups, support groups for specific health issues, common interest groups, marches or rallies for a mutual cause, as well as school communities. Here at CBNU, we have many opportunities to work, study, or play sports TOGETHER with new and old friends. For example, you may work together for group presentations, where each person is included in the division of tasks to be completed, e.g. research and information gathering on various topics, composing slideshows with information, and others.
Another instance of working together in camaraderie to support each other arises when you apply for an overseas study or volunteer program. To succeed in your application, you may need advice, tips on how to best present yourself in the interview, and how to pass the “test,” whichever one it may be. You may wonder what kinds of questions will be asked. Your senior classperson would be an excellent resource for you.
The point I’d like to make is that we are not swimming upstream on our own; we form a school of fish – of students and faculty from Korea and many other countries. We stand united on one campus, one body of students, teachers, and staff representing Chonbuk National University, Koreans and non-Koreans learning from each other, helping one another. There should be equality among students, and fairness between students and their professors.
In a few months, many of you will be practicing and participating in your Departmental Sports Day. Engage with a sense of team, thinking of a “team” win, not a “me” win; work together for the team, not against each other for yourself; put your differences aside and take one step forward; be confident in your ability as one, not several. One day, you will all become alumni of the same alma mater.
Therefore, with a strong team, let us start our new schoolyear, let’s show a strong spirit as students of Chonbuk National University; let’s be proud of this academic institution and what it stands for – in the spirit of warmly welcoming our foreign students from all corners of the globe. I challenge you to extend a hand of camaraderie. Likewise, foreign students: be the best representatives of your countries, respecting campus rules and learning the Korean way of life, as well as sharing your culture with your Korean comrades. Together, you can make a difference at this university.