30 shortlisted students from 10 ASEAN countries are currently undergoing the “ASEAN Millennium Leaders College Student Exchange Program 2011” sponsored by Daejeon University, ASEAN University Network and Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs Trade. I feel blessed to be one of them, so does everyone else. Let’s read what half of us have got to say about the program so far.
The following is in alphabetical order.
Alfiah Rizky Diana Putri (Kiky)
Universitas Gadjah Mada
Joining this program, you can study and have discussions with all the bright future leaders from ASEAN. That makes me realize that ASEAN has a very big potential. Other than that, you can have a firsthand experience on how South Korea can be developed as it is now, especially in the ICT field. Adjustment to life in South Korea is not that hard, although you don’t drink and have a certain dietary law (like no pork, no meat or vegetarian). It might be hard for you but people will understand and help you. The disadvantages exist though; you will miss things that you’ve considered normal before, like all the tropical fruits and prayer call in the morning for me.
Tran Thi Nhat Anh (Anh)
International University, Vietnam National University HCMC
This program provides me huge knowledge about Korea since I have learnt various subjects from social to economic issues as well as how to do research myself. Furthermore, I obtained valuable experience on Korean organizational culture while working as an intern in Asia Exchange Association. In the office, Koreans pay high attention to greetings and respect to older people. I love Korean people because they are very enthusiastic when you need help. It is a very helpful program for all students who wish to explore Korea and extend global friendships. However, you must prepare beforehand because sometimes you have to deal with study pressure from tons of deadlines for assignments, presentations and homework.
Arvin Romel Fernandez (Arvin)
De La Salle University
Bachelor of Science in Applied Corporate Management
Life in Korea is a unique and exciting experience. I didn’t have a hard time adjusting because I’m used to live away from my family and I am up for new experience. My friends would always comment on how daring and adventurous I am. For instance, just barely 2 weeks after we arrived in Daejeon, I immediately travelled to Seoul alone without knowing anything yet. To spice things up, I don’t understand Korean so there is a language barrier. But I was up for the challenge. I simply want to discover the Soul of Korea, Seoul. The capital is very foreigner friendly – English signage, subway maps, bus schedules, etc. I survived and I will survive! So you can also survive!
Chadaporn Luangaramwong (Bonus)
Burapha University International College
Being an exchange student is the best time of my life. Hello!! My name is Chadaporn Luangaramwong. You can call me Bonus. I come from Thailand. The advantage of this program is full scholarship including accommodation, tuition fee, and also living allowance. Staying overseas is a new experience that has its challenges – “Kimchi” with every Korean meal, for instance. Korean language is very difficult for me. I have many friends here. We share amazing experiences, inside jokes and the most important thing is that we make friends with people from the other sides of the world. I think living in Korea is very convenient and safe. There is no need to worry about crime in downtown areas. Koreans are very hospitable to foreigners and will go out of their way to make them feel welcomed. I visited many tourist attractions. This program has given me an amazing experience that I will never forget.
Chor Jiahui Phoebe (Phoebe)
Singapore Management University
Sociology and Marketing
Taking part in this program has opened doors for me that I would not have had access to otherwise. One of my major takeaways from this program is the winter internship and friendships that I have made with my Southeast Asian and Korean friends. The internship allowed me to gain insights into the Korean working culture and gave me a glimpse as to how Korea could become the economic powerhouse that it is today. Staying in Korea for 5 months so far has truly allowed me to form valuable friendships that have been priceless during my stay here.
Fahri Ilhamudin (Din)
As a Muslim from Indonesia, I find out that settling down in such Muslim minority country is not as simple as I thought. On top of that, food becomes something I cannot spot easily. I could say that food with no pork ingredients in Korea is almost impossible to find. Nonetheless, experiencing something different from my home country is quite challenging and by engaging this exchange program, I am now more open to the diversity of culture, mutually with all 29 Asian students from various cultural backgrounds. In the future, I hope that this program will provide more support for those who have special needs of food, as well as embrace more ICT students to experience the warmth and pride to be a part of DJU.
Jeremy Tay Kai Lone (Jeremy)
Universiti Brunei Darussalam
The adjustment to Korean life was not as dramatic as I had initially thought. But I had to get used to dorm living, lots of rules and public transportation. There are a lot of advantages to this program, I learned that Koreans are far nicer and not as closed minded as many paint them out to be. I learned how the universities and workplaces operated as well. There are not that many disadvantages, maybe the lack of money and lack of exploration trips. My advice/message to future applicants: Make as many friends as possible. Try to go out more, and definitely try things out that will not be available back in your own country. Like Beondegi!
Koo Nyuk Lin (Lynn)
Universiti Putra Malaysia
Computer Science (Network)
I’m glad that I have the chance to participate in this exchange program and come to Korea. I would say that this program has not only given me an experience to study aboard, but also introduced me to the beauty of Korea which includes its culture, food and places. Other than that, I have also learnt to be more independent and mature. I would like to experience more things in Korea before I go back to my home country so that I can share it with my family and friends.
Lee Say Wah (Sarah)
University of Malaya
South Korea is definitely one of the best countries for me to gain my first experience of living and studying abroad. Being a fussy person when it comes to accommodation, I find the dormitories here very satisfying and convenient. I also love the subway and bus systems which are efficient and cover almost everywhere I need to go. My exposure to diverse cultures, particularly Korean lifestyle and study and work environments, has allowed me to grow immensely. For the future applicants, in case you worry about credit transfer or other personal matters, think about all the invaluable experiences you could gain from this program, which could color your life and Facebook wall beautifully; they’re too hard to resist.
Raditya Arie (Ari)
There are things I like and I dislike regarding my life in South Korea. It’s so cold here during winter and the living cost is higher than in my home country. However, I like the transportation system, maple leaves and the ability to wear whatever I want. Majoring in Korean Studies, it was challenging for me being involved in courses like Leadership, Korean Economy, Future of Asia and International Social Work. Anyway, those special lectures could be useful for me in the future. Of course if we have more allowance, it would be better, but I don't mind it as long it can help improve our financial management skills. My message to the future applicants: Remember that your purpose of coming to Korea is to study and not to stalk K-pop artists or travel or audition at entertainment agencies. I did all the things I mentioned as my secondary pleasure though. [laugh]
Salackchith Sunthorn (Nina)
National University of Laos
I am an exchange student from the ‘ASEAN Millennium Leaders College Student Exchange Program’ in Daejeon University. I really like this program because the way they take care of all of us is very great and impressive. I have met many Korean friends during the first semester in Daejeon Univ., they are very kind and friendly, and they taught me how to speak Korean. Now it’s winter vacation, I have an internship at United Nations-APCICT in Incheon with my ASEAN friends. The hard thing I am facing now is the weather, which is about -2 until -10 degree Celsius every day. Anyway, when I go back to my country I will spread all my good experiences and how much I love Korea to my senior. 한국 사랑해요~
Seow Jing Yin (Jing)
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
I felt so fortunate to be chosen to join this exchange program; Korea is my pilgrim place ever since K-pop invaded my mind. This program has also rewarded me with a group of lovely ASEAN and Korean friends. I have been enjoying every moment in Korea and I am truly inspired by the Korean spirit that builds up the strong country today. I wish I could implement the experiences I have gained in Korea to boost the prosperities of my home country in the future.
Somvilay Chanthavong (Touy)
National University of Laos (NUOL)
I am really delighted to have a chance to study in Daejeon University, a peaceful place which is very suitable for learning. There are many high technological things in the university as well as convenient things in my dormitory. The Koreans are kind and hospitable to me especially the officers at International Office. When I have some problems, they always give me great advices and help me to solve my problems. I also have a chance to do my internship in Korea National Commission for UNESCO during winter vacation. I could gain many experiences from this internship. Finally, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all my Korean friends and the officers at International Office and AUN for your encouragement, assistant and care for me all the time. I wish to invite all of you to visit my country where I can take care of you in return.
Warangkana Wankawisan (Fah)
Chiang Mai University
I’m an exchange student for 10 months in Deajeon University, South Korea. This is one of my most invaluable experiences. Even though I have some problems communicating with Koreans and I took classes that are totally different from my study, I enjoy facing new environment and there are lovely friends who always lend me a hand when I have problems. I have gained many things from this program including internship experience, new knowledge, never-ending friendships and unforgettable memories. Finally, I can say that if you miss this chance, you will miss out the most wonderful times of your life!
All in all, we hope to inspire more university/college students from ASEAN countries to apply for this program which is organized annually.
A brief schedule of this year’s program:
September-December 2011: First semester in Daejeon University
January-February 2012: Internship in Seoul and Incheon
March-June 2012: Second semester in Daejeon University
For more information, please visit the official website of ASEAN University Network at http://www.aun-sec.org or join the ASEAN University Network’s Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/75033751019.
*All personal writings were prepared by the individuals themselves. Prepared and edited by: Sarah Lee Say Wah