Introducing the Seoul National University International Student Association ‘SISA’

SISA Welcoming Party

SISA Welcoming Party

By Choi Ha-young,
student reporter at Seoul National University (Languages Department)

SEOUL: If you look around the Seoul National University campus, which is full of spring energy, you can see that a variety of members are together.

Among them, there are a significant number of foreign students, ranging from undergraduate and graduate students to students of exchange programs.

According to the Seoul National University Diversity Committee, the number of their countries of origin reached 112 as of 2022.

At the center of this international student community is the Seoul National University International Students Association (SNU International Students Association ( SISA).

SISA, formed in 2007, is a student autonomous organization under the International Cooperation Headquarters of Seoul National University. It takes the lead in conducting a variety of activities by looking into the problems faced by international students. I met and talked with SISA management students at the foreign student lounge located in the Doore Literary Arts Center.

Memories made through colorful gatherings

 Language and cultural exchange program application notice (left), orientation site (right) 

Any foreign student attending Seoul National University can become a member of SISA. They exchange questions and information in group chat rooms, help each other adjust to school life, and form new relationships by participating in various events hosted by the International Cooperation Center or SISA.

Typically, SISA’s opening and ending parties are a place where international students gather together to enjoy food, games, and socialize.

Language and culture exchange program is also enjoying great interest. Korean and foreign participants build friendships by working in groups of four and performing various missions for two months, such as outing the Han River, enjoying school festivals, and tasting foreign food.

At the final stage, a certificate of completion and a special award are prepared.

SISA Vice President Lyncia Mudongo (22, master’s degree student, Department of Social Welfare) explained the purpose of the program, saying, “It is not easy for foreign students to make new friends on their own, so we wanted to provide opportunities for natural exchange.”

President Lindsey O’Neill (22, master’s student in linguistics) said, “It is an opportunity for Korean members to get to know foreign students,” and added, “We plan to continue to operate it as an official program of SISA every semester in the future.”

Language and cultural exchange program application notice (left), orientation site (right)

Group photo of management team taken at a language and cultural exchange event (left) and interview with a reporter (right)


In addition, SISA provides comfort to exhausted students by sharing coupon packages during exam periods, and provides fresh enjoyment through irregular events such as world food festivals, sports days, and creative workshops. It would be good to look forward to the next steps of those who actively put new ideas into practice.

Companion toward a better college life

I also heard about the lives of foreign students. In the case of the management students, they became interested in Korea through K-pop music, broadcasting, and Taekwondo, and decided to study abroad because they were attracted to the academic opportunities at Seoul National University.

“After enrolling, I faced many difficulties, including language barriers and unfamiliar class methods, but I was soon able to find happiness in campus life.”

Student Ove Wiesemann (21, Department of Linguistics) said, “Seoul National University’s great advantage is that it is located in the middle of nature. It’s great for picnics, and there are lots of trees and flowers, so I feel at ease and feel energized.”

Although they come from different countries, the passion for running SISA is the same. This is because they understand the various difficulties faced by foreign students on campus. For example, in the early stages of living in Korea, it is difficult to find a hospital, and information about scholarships can often be missed. Accordingly, the management team communicates with the International Cooperation Headquarters, offers a helping hand at all times, and continues to work hard to improve the conditions for international students.

Meanwhile, SISA’s most important goal is the sense of belonging of international students. Lyncia Mudon High School student said, “We always try to help international students who have left their hometowns feel connected to each other,” and added, “I hope SISA will function well as a community that supports them.”

Korean students can also join their journey. Lee Dong-hyeon (18, Department of Computer Engineering), who joined the SISA management team through a work scholarship from the International Cooperation Center, said, “I help while working, but I also learn and feel a lot,” and looked forward to the participation of Korean students.

You can visit events organized by SISA or look for opportunities for exchange in your daily life. “If you meet a foreign student in a class or club, don’t be afraid to start a conversation,” said student Lindsey O’Neill. Student Kinwayan (21, Department of Computer Engineering) also added, “Making friends from different backgrounds can be a very fun experience.”

Anyone can feel that college life is unfamiliar, difficult, and sometimes lonely. In particular, for foreign students who are struggling due to ethnic and language differences, SISA spreads positive energy in various ways and serves as a strong fence. We hope that all students can become friends across differences and take home many warm memories from campus.

Editorial Department 1. Korean Peninsula, News, Society-Culture, Sports, Asia

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