My SEP Experience in South Korea, KNAPS 2018
Er Jia Lin(MyPSA_Malaysia)
Ever since I got accepted to participate in SEP in South Korea, I knew that I am going to embark on an exciting and unforgettable journey. Indeed, it was definitely one of the best moments in my life. I never expected to gain so much joy, love, friends, knowledge and experience in SEP, and choosing to participate the SEP in South Korea was a decision that I would not regret at all. As I will be graduating very soon, I decided to participate in SEP for one last time before I officially step into the working world. I participated in Winter SEP 2017 in Croatia and it was an entirely different experience to me as I took the challenge to travel abroad on my own and explore European countries.
Therefore, I would like to have my SEP experience in a nearer country to Malaysia this year. I have also traveled to many countries but South Korea has never been in my bucket list. Hence, I thought that this would be the perfect chance for me to explore South Korea. South Korea is best known for its K-pop, Kimchi and cosmetics, though I am not an absolute Korean fanatic, I would still love to embrace Korean culture and meet new friends.
Another reason for choosing SEP in South Korea was the visiting programme. The visiting programme was very intriguing as no other country offer such programme for SEP. I love how we visited different places everyday and learnt different things. The industrial visit to Chong Kun Dang HQ and factory was the most meaningful to me. The determination and perseverance of the founder to discover and formulate drug in the olden days when technology was not advanced has reminded me to never give up and believe in myself even when I am in the midst of hardship. The founder collected bells in various colours, sizes and shapes whenever he visited different countries for collaboration of work. The bells caught my attention as each bell signifies culture and background of the country he visited. I also had calligraphy session with international students where I learnt to write my name in Korean Hangul on a Chinese fan.
One of the best cultural experiences was wandering the Gyeongbukgung Palace in the Korean traditional Hanbok. Though wearing the Hanbok in Summer was not a fantastic idea as I sweat a lot under the scorching sun, it was worth as the costume was so beautiful and needless to say, the pictures taken were amazing. My friends and I were mistaken by foreigners as Korean and were asked to take pictures with them. We could not agree more with the foreigners and felt so proud wearing in Hanbok.
Malaysia’s diversity has blessed the country with wide variety of good food, and Korean food can be easily found here too. Hence, even though Korean food is not what I usually eat, I can still accept and enjoy Korean cuisine. I really loved the Korean hot pepper paste (Gochujang) where I can mix it with rice when I was eating Bibimbap. Also, let’s not forget about the Korean Fried Chicken, Samygetang, Hotteok and Korean Pancake! So Delicious!! I also enjoyed drinking Soju especially during the International night and Social event. I had so much fun drinking and playing games and I was quite surprised with how addictive the games could be. It was an endless night and was surely one of the best nights to be remembered.
Visiting the Boryeong Mud Festival was another best experience during SEP in South Korea. Being covered in mud has never been so fun. We have played so many games but I loved playing volleyball in the ocean the most. In addition, the Black Eagles Air Force Air show was also really breathtaking. Nonetheless, I got so much tanner than I was before as the blazing hot sun has no mercy on a Summer day.
I also managed to pick up some Korean language. Some of the pronunciation was somewhat similar to Chinese words. To be honest, I was never into Korean drama and Korean songs, but now I want to learn more of Korean language by watching more Korean drama. Hopefully I can speak better Korean when I meet Korean students the next time.
Overall, I feel extremely lucky to meet all the friends that were so friendly and opened to share their own stories despite the fact that all of us came from different culture and background. I also love how the SEP committee were so caring and attentive that it made me felt like home. I sincerely thank all of the SEP committee for putting in so much effort to host us and giving me such an amazing and unforgettable memories.
I only regret how I did not get to spend enough time with all of the students and SEP committee, and I also regret that I did not buy enough cosmetics to try out. I would never forget the two weeks that we spent together. It was really amazing how strangers from different part of the world could meet and become best friends. May our friendship lasts long. Even though we are far apart, but somewhere deep in our hearts keep the beautiful memories that connected us. I hope to visit all of you someday in the future.
In my opinion, SEP is definitely a unique form of learning, as it enables student to expand knowledge and broaden social network while learning to become more independent, confident and mature. For me, I learnt how to acclimatize myself in a foreign country, embrace and welcome the unexpected.
ER JIA LIN
International Medical University (IMU)
SUMMER SEP 2018