Sunday, 15 April 2018

Samhita Bharadwaj: Exchange student at Kyungpook National University, Daegu, South Korea

My name is Samhita Bharadwaj and I am an exchange student from Christ University, Bangalore currently studying in Kyungpook National University, Daegu, South Korea. I am assigned under the Department of Sociology but have taken subjects that correspond to my triple major course back home.

Preparing for the Move:

Travelling can be quite intimidating if you’re going to foreign place. Especially a country where you don’t speak much of the language. But still, the essence of travelling is such that the experience you get out of your whole travel can be filled with a truck load of experiences and lessons. And these experiences and lessons, we hold and cherish for a long time.  I am embarking on such a journey. A travel more so for one whole year, specifically 2 semesters. I look forward to learn and further cherish the experiences that lie ahead but even now I’m filled with a slight sense of disbelief. ‘Is this really happening?’ And as I think such thoughts, behind me the floor is filled with trays and boxes within which are all my medicines and creams. My suitcases are all open and waiting to swallow in all the goods and bags I’m planning to pack. But still, there’s still one thought that’s running in my head. ‘I am leaving home for the longest time in my whole life’

It’s been 6 hours and a half hours and my suitcase has finally devoured all that I stowed within. I am ready. All I need is a night’s rest in my bed which is quite conveniently facing the doorway. Moreover, my suitcases are all lined up near the door, some are in the living room, my camera and all electronic devices are left to be charged now. All what needed to be done is done.
With countless thoughts running in my mind, I decided to write a letter to myself titled “to be read after the exchange”. This way I can recall all those feelings and moments before departure. And I think this is a great way to put down the thoughts and somehow capture the time. Even though this week has been extremely hurried buying things in the last minute, there are quite a few things I have learnt and realized.
Firstly, there are three sets of things anyone choosing the exchange must know. It is Paperwork, Farewell and CIAs. The last 2 months running upto the exchange will be filled with so much running around for paperwork or visa or signatures on top of which your friends and classmates will prefer to demand more time with you. An important rule of thumb is Priority. What is most important, at this very moment must be considered. More importantly, what is not what’s important must be prioritized but never ignored to the last minute. In my case, contact lenses, glasses, hospital checkups and dental and eye appointments was a must before I left. However, because all these “must done” happened in the last minute, it became very difficult to get to classes and still focus on CIA activity.  Yet I did it, and fortunately I did it all and received what I needed to receive.
The Paperwork can be divided into the respective bound to university paperwork, (in my case Kyungpook National University, Daegu, South Korea), the Student D2 Visa document list, and finally, finally, forms from our home university to be signed from several signatories like Head of Department, the Dean and COE. Another rule of thumb to be noted here is Time Management. Since most of these professors and sirs are not available at all times, it is crucial to leave some time aside through the week and gradually get all the signatures. The quicker we inform and receive the signatures, the better.
The CIAs include those from all subjects and even from the CCs that you may take. It is a must to tell our Open Elective and all our teachers before we leave about 1-2 months in prior. Better yet, informing them in December is a good decision as it also gives them to time to know when we are and are not able to attend classes or complete any assignments. Most of universities in South Korea begin their first term in the first week of March and require students to reach their respective universities and dorms by the last week of February. Thus, it is important to finish all the CIAs by the midweek of February or even the first week of February if possible to allow a little time for any native home visits or family time. It is also important to note then as we embark on the exchange, IPM freezes our attendance at a set date beyond which our attendance gets stuck and we cannot change it. So it is crucial to attend classes as much as possible to avoid any shortage of attendance.
And finally, the last and hardest bit for me is Farewell. Indian families are so complex that as an individual we are related and connected to so many people we look up to and admire. Maybe the family can compose of even friends and in my case, my university friends. It’s almost as if it was yesterday when I told them I am leaving. Seeing their reactions, watching their gestures always created a mix of emotions in me and it still does. But still, it is essential to set some time aside to visit any relatives, cousins and most importantly grandparents.

Before I have travelled to places where families and friends were certain to welcome me with open arms. For the very first time, I am embarking on a journey to face the unknown. With a nervous and excited heart, I hope and pray for this beautiful journey to be filled with so many moments I can look back and smile too. Once again, it’s all about keeping an open mind and hoping for the positive. And of course, there’s always to remember that one person’s experience is not necessarily another person’s destiny.
Both my mother and father both chose to come along with me to Daegu, Korea. These are our suitcases 
In Kyungpook National University, Daegu, South Korea: 

As my timetable has been set for this semester, I will be attending the following classes.

1.      Modern Korean Society ( Sociology and Anthropology)
Where we survey the structure and patterns of contemporary Korean Society with an emphasis on understanding the cultural themes underlying Korean behaviour and social organization. Major concepts in sociological and anthropological approach will be taken throughout the course.
2.      Cognitive Psychology and Practice (Department of Psychology)
Where we discover the inner workings of the human mind and how efficiently humans use the mind in a variety of tasks they perform. Attention, Memory, knowledge representation, reasoning, language use are some of the cognitive capabilities will be analysed along with several research methodologies in the history of experimental psychology.
3.      Money and Banking (College of Economics and Business Administration)
Where we cover the essence of structure of financial markets and financial system along with understanding topics such as asset allocation, behaviour of interest rates, investment and banking.
4.      Politics of International Law (Department of Political Science and Diplomacy)
Where we focus on the significance of International Law in global politics and the political dimension of international law. The roles of international legal norms, institutions, practices and regimes will also be analysed. Other concepts covered are Sovereignty and Territorial rights, Just war, Human rights, International crime and ethics of commerce will also be analysed
5.      EU and Global Development ( Office of International Affairs)
      Where we understand the EU as a special international organization with its role in global order and politics. Through the module, I will gain an understanding of integration and role of EU in sustainable development. Topics such as Budget, Foreign Policy, Human Rights, Security and International Aid and Education will also be analysed.
6.      South Korea and International Relations ( Office of International Affairs)
Where we survey the international relations of the Republic of Korea with other countries in its foreign policy. Countries within Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and West Asia along with other territorial countries in their diplomatic relations with Korea will also be dealt with. Us, students will also be presenting our countries and their respective relationships with South Korea.

My experiences in photographs:

  It snowed in Korea on March 8, 2018

The temperatures drop in the evenings

The classroom for South Korea and International Relations

Among the tall trees...

Wearing the hanbok, the traditional dress of Korea

Posing in front of a wall in a street in Daegu