My First Semester at Hanyang University
With high hopes and passion
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In Hanyang University (HYU), there are approximately 2500 international students, including those who came as exchange students. Every new year, more international students are coming to HYU with high hopes and expectations to further their studies and to have a new experience. This week, News H met with 3 of the new international students in this spring semester.
From Pakistan, Abubakar Sharafat (Civil Engineering, Integrated Master’s-Doctor’s Program)
After graduating from his university, Sharafat wanted to continue his studies. While searching for graduate schools, Sharafat started to have an interest in Korea and HYU. “At the company I was working at after graduation, several colleagues of mine recommended Korea. They told me that Korea is highly developed in the field of Civil Engineering, and HYU is the best school in engineering studies,” said Sharafat. Besides from the fame of HYU in engineering studies, friends of Sharafat who already studied in HYU, also told positive experience they had to Shrafat. Positive experience of friends motivated him to choose the HYU. “Now, because of my recommendation, my sister will also join me in HYU, which is a good news.”
“I am currently here as a scholarship student of the Pakistan government, I will be here for about 5 years, so I will have to get used to many things in Korea like the language and food,” said Sharafat. Still, Sharafat said that he was surprised to see many commonalities between the culture of Pakistan and Korea. “Soon after I came to Korea, I found out that Koreans and Pakistanis both emphasize the respect for elders. Other than that, when I went to the field trip to Damyang with other international students, we got to make Korean traditional rice snack, which is also the famous sweet treat in Pakistan, called ‘Maronda’.”
From France, Guzelya Marisova (International business management, Master’s program)
Marisova’s decision to come to HYU and Korea is highly relevant with her love toward taekwondo. She has been playing taekwondo for 13 years now since she was 11. When she grew older and moved to France from Kazakhstan in 2014, she won a world champion title in WASCO (World All Style Combat Organization). “I first witnessed taewondo in a demo show back in my school when I was living in Kazakhstan. As soon as I saw it, I thought it was what exactly I need, and that I could protect myself with it. Since then, coming to Korea was one of my bucket lists,” said Marisova. While learning taekwondo, she was also impressed with the Korean culture, ‘ye’ (manners and respects between people) that is permeated inside of it.
Her love toward taekwondo naturally led her to learn Korean as well. Even before coming to Korea, Marisova said she was taking Korean classes. Currently in HYU as well, Marisova is taking a Korean class. “I am still in the level of a beginner, but I hope staying in Korea will help me learning it faster, to communicate in Korean fluently.” Marisova also shared how thankful she is for the kind and clear instructions of Korean professors.
While Marisova is quite familiar with some culture of Korea, She said she witnessed cultural stereotype in the country. “One thing I noticed in Korea was a cultural stereotype still existing in Korea,” explained Mariova. “As I am not a white Caucasian, people generally don’t think I could be a French. It is understandable because immigration is not as widespread in Korea.”
From Germany, Ildikó Brust (Business Administration, 3rd year)
Among the 3 students, Brust is the one who is having the completely new experience in HYU and in Korea. “Before coming to HYU, I absolutely knew little about Asia, which was the reason why I chose Korea. I wanted to go to a place that is completely different in every way and that gave quite a surprise to my family and friends,” said Brust. Similar to other international students, Brust was able to find out about HYU because of her friend’s recommendation. “One of my German friend told me all about the amazing experiences she had in HYU, which really led me to come to HYU.”
“What I really find cool is how big and modern the campus is, it is really different from my school back in Germany. I find it very nice to see all the convenience facilities like cafeterias and coffee shops inside the campus,” said Brust. Also, in classes, Brust was amazed how participative and helpful students are. "People tend to be more individualistic in Germany, but in Korea people have a stronger sense of community. I really do appreciate how students always try to help me.”
Until now, one of the most memorable place Brust went in Korea was Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). “Even before coming to Korea, I was planning to visit DMZ. Korea is the only country separated in the world now and we hear all the shocking and terrible news about North Korea. I wanted to see a little bit of that myself.” After visiting DMZ, Brust thought she would want to go there one more time, to further inside where civilians can still go.
Yun Ji-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Moon Hana
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