To many, a great club is like the cherry on top of the sweet cake of college life. For some SNU students, however, the club is more than just the cherry, it’s the whole cake itself … along with the icing, birthday candles and the cup of milk on the side. Allow me to introduce you to a couple of the more exotic club-cake flavors that SNU has to offer.
Meet the SNU Sailors. Every weekend, these boating enthusiasts sail the Han River on one-person racing boats without engines or paddles, riding the waves with nothing but the wind and their sails. Although the nature of the sport is competitive, with annual competitions other universities, weekly sailing sessions can be as intense as the sailor wants it to be – or perhaps as the wind that day decides it to be.
Since its founding in 1987, the SNU sailing team has been able to thrive, courtesy of its strong alumni support. One of the founding members, who is currently a professor at SNU, remains a part of the team. Translated literally, SNU Sailors is the “Yacht Team,” suggesting something significantly different from the rugged experience that they have always offered.
“Most people who’ve heard of us think we host and attend luxurious boat parties,” says Kim Ho Won, vice-captain of the SNU Sailors, “but it’s really the opposite. When you’re sailing, you leave all your belongings behind and it’s just you, the water and the wind.” He also mentions how sailing helps him to find calm amidst his hectic school life. For him, SNU Sailors is “an essential getaway in the middle of a busy and stressful semester that helps me to leave all my anxieties behind.”
For a cake flavor a bit less moist than SNU Sailors, we return to dry land to introduce Mawang, SNU’s very own equestrian team. If SNU Sailors is not the “Yacht Team” that it seems to be at first glance, the very existence of Mawang – literally “King of the Horses” – is surprising. In the words of Mawang’s former captain, Huh Harim, “In Korea, you can find cats, dogs and all sorts of other animals. But rarely do you ever come across a horse!”
At a barn near Indeogwon station, Mawang members receive horse riding lessons from professionals, forming lasting friendships with each other, the instructors and the horses. “It’s these connections that keep us going year after year,” she adds.
The dedication of Mawang’s members to their club is apparent through the grandiosity and scale of their annual membership training (MT) excursion. Mawang MTs are week-long horse riding adventures, involving travel to far-flung equestrian locales such as Jeju Island and even Mongolia.
“The Mongolia trip was a great opportunity to not only get close among ourselves, but also to train in the very land famous for horses.” From the wide-eyed freshmen to the returning student who’s hung up his military uniform, a club is one of the best ways for a college student to find a sense of belonging. At first, the trove of opportunities seems overwhelming and at times too good to be true. But sometimes, things are just as good as they appear to be.
Written by Cheesue Kim, SNU English Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, email@example.com