Thursday, January 24, 2013

Coffee with my EWIS Students . . .

EWIS Graduate Student Composition Class

Tuesday the 22nd was the final day of the course I've been teaching for the past five weeks in a writing program called the Ewha Writing-Intensive School (EWIS), so I treated my students to coffee at the Starbucks on level B4 of the Ewha Campus Complex (ECC), a convenient location since the course took place on level B1, and we therefore needed only to ride the elevator down and then walk across the enormous hallway to the other side of the ECC, thereby avoiding the wet, dismal, cold outdoors.

Perhaps you'd appreciate an introduction? Counterclockwise, starting at the near left, are Sulgi, Jeonghyun, Hyun-Kyung, EunBin, Mr. Grim Teacher, So Young, Shokhan, and Farah. Except for the last two, all the students were Korean. Shokhan and Farah were Iraqi: Kurd and Arab, respectively. Two other regular students were unable to attend class that day, nor could a fairly regular medical student. Too bad . . . though the upside is that my pocketbook suffered less damage.

If you're curious about what these students study, I'll tell you. Sulgi studies philosophy, focusing upon Nietzsche. Jeonghyun is interested in the social responsibility of corporations. Hyun-Kyung is struggling with the multiple voices in Morrison's novel Beloved. EunBin is looking at descent versus consent in The Merchant of Venice. So Young is working on the perfect aspect of English verbs. Shokhan is investigating the consolidation of democracy in Iraq. And Farah is defending universal human rights against cultural relativists, so as to ensure women's rights in Iraq.

If you click on the photo to enlarge, you'll see a large can of candy that we smuggled into the Starbucks. This was a special Iraqi candy made with nuts (pistachio and almond, if I recall) bound together by a sticky, chewy gum derived from the sap of the tamarisk tree (Tamarix gallica) and called "min al-sama" or "mann al-sama" -- and it tasted like manna from heaven . . . because it is. Literally. In the etymological sense, anyway. Maybe. Anyway, Farah contributed this delicacy, to our delight.

If you look closely and carefully, you might also see a few scattered doughnuts, courtesy of the EWIS organizer, Soo Kyung, but smuggled into the Starbucks by a volunteer student who shall remain unnamed to protect the guilty. We're fortunate not to have been caught, arrested, beaten, and incarcerated! But we weren't even reported for our contraband sweets, despite boldly devouring it all in plain view of the entire Starbucks staff. Maybe the staff was lenient because I bought so many drinks. Anyway, we stayed there by the window, drinking our coffee or tea and eating our snacks for a couple of hours, from about 10 to around 12, when I had to leave for an EWIS luncheon and business meeting organized by Soo Kyung.

Sorry, no photos of that second get-together, but it was just as much if not more fun, and very informative as we began to plan our still-distant-but-nevertheless-upcoming summer break EWIS courses . . .

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At 9:34 PM, Blogger Shannon Hodges said...


I also have java with students. Somehow it seems to facilitate learning, or at least loosens the tongue for B.S.


At 9:51 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

In my case, it seems to facilitate higher evaluations from students.

Jeffery Hodges

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