My SEP experience in South Korea, KNAPS 2019
Nadia Chan (BPSA_United Kingdom)
It was such an honour for me to participate in the Summer Exchange Programme (SEP) in South Korea from 1st July - 14th July 2019. I still can’t believe I was lucky enough to be selected to be a participant in the Visiting Programme, as Korea is a popular and competitive country to apply to. I decided to apply for this programme because alongside my aspiration to pursue a career in pharmacy, I have always been interested to learn more about Asian cultures. As someone who has loved the Korean culture and language since a young age, I knew the Summer Exchange Programme in South Korea was going to be the perfect place for me! In addition, I was also intruded to see if there are any similarities and differences between the healthcare system and careers available in pharmacy between a European and an Asian country. Thus, this was a fantastic opportunity for me to combine my passion and enthusiasm for both of these areas together, to get an insight of the pharmacy sector as well as embracing and learning more about Korea at the same time.
During the Visiting Program, as a group we visited a variety of places together including: Community, Hospital (i.e. Seoul National University Hospital), Industry (i.e. Samsung Biologics, Hanmi Pharmaceutical, Handok Museum of Medicine and Pharmacy, Chong Kun Dang Pharmaceutical and Amore Pacific), Pharmaceutical Associations (i.e. Korea Pharmacist Association, Korea Pharmaceutical & Bio-Pharama Manufactures Association and Korea National Enterprise for Clinical Trials) and Public Organisations (i.e. National Intelligence Service, National Forensic Service, National Health Insurance Service, Korean Association Against Drug Abuse, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute). All these places were a real eye-opener and it has enabled me to explore and compare pharmacy in Korea in contrast to the UK. Some of my favourite visits had to be to the National Forensic Service, Handok Museum and Amore Pacific. From the Nation Forensic Service, I was made aware of new career opportunities where pharmacists are able to work on drug substances analysis and use their knowledge on drug interactions to assist in real life cases. The visit to the Handok Museum was informative, I got to learn about the history and the use of herbal medicine in Korea. At Amore Pacific, I had the chance to observe the quality control and packaging process of cosmetic products, which was interesting as I had no prior experience with the cosmetic industry before this.
Apart from visiting pharmacy related locations on the weekdays, the whole group also had other activities during the weekends as well, we got to visit a range of cultural sites (i.e. Naksan Temple, Huhuam temple, Korean traditional market, Korea Folk Village and Changdeokgung Palace Complex). One of my favourite places we visited was the Korean Folk Village, I really enjoyed looking around the traditional houses from the late Joseon period, watching the traditional performances, and making my own Danso flute in the workshop.
Taking part in the SEP visiting programme was truly amazing, it was one of the best experiences of my life! I am so happy and grateful that my first experience of South Korea was with KNAPS and incoming SEP members, I did not only get to experience and embrace the true Korean culture and broadened my horizons in the world of pharmacy, but I also got to meet and make connections with students who shares the same dedication as me in achieving our ambitions in pharmacy. I never expected to gain so many friends from all around the world and I was overloaded with the amount of love I received from all of them too. I honestly adored every single moment I had with everyone so much that I did not want to leave at all! This programme ended up making me fall in love with Korea even more than before, and I hope to return to Korea again for another trip soon!
I would definitely recommend this visiting programme to South Korea to any students, whether you have any knowledge or experience of Korea already or not, it’s without a doubt going to be a rewarding experience regardless!
Thank you for KNAPS members for planning and organising the programme, looking after the all the incoming SEP students so well and supporting us with anything whenever we needed help. As well as that, thank you for keeping us company whether it’s from going out for meals, shopping, to travelling to the Han River and Namsan Tower at night etc. I really appreciate all the time and effort you have all contributed to make this year’s programme a success.
And finally, to all the precious friendships I have made in these two weeks with KNAPS and incoming SEP students, it was my pleasure to get to know everyone and I wish everybody all the very best in the future. Thank you ever so much for being a part of my unforgettable, once in a life time adventure! I will definitely treasure these memories forever ~ Keep in touch and I hope to meet all of you guys again very soon!