2019 KNAPS SEP Incoming _ Visiting Program
Sahra Omer (FiPSA _ Finnland)
I chose South-Korea for my SEP destination for two main reasons. First it is located in a region of the world that I hadn't had the chance to visit yet and I have really been wanting to visit for a long time. The second was a visiting program that KNAPS is offering seemed to be interesting. Since I am in the final stages of my studies, the visiting program was the perfect opportunity to get to know different career opportunities pharmacists can have. It’s because we had the chance to visit wide range of institutions varying from community and hospital pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies and pharmaceutical associations to some more unexpected workplaces of pharmacists such as the National Intelligence Service and Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute.
It is hard to choose my favourite place we visited during the SEP, since I learned something new from each place. It was very interesting to compare the pharmaceutical field of Korea to the pharmaceutical field of Finland. Although there are similarities, I found that there are also a lot of differences especially in the overall healthcare system and how the community pharmacies function. I am interested in working in pharmaceutical industry after my graduation, so for me the visits to Samsung Biologics and Hanmi Pharmaceutical were particularly interesting. We had the chance to visit their production sites, and I was especially impressed by the level of automatization of both of the factory sites.
The visit to Amore Pacific was also one of the highlights of the program for me. I love trying out cosmetics, especially skin care, so I was super excited about the visit to the largest cosmetics company in South-Korea being that Korea is world-famous for its cosmetics. Amore Pacific has a lot of different brands under it, so it was very interesting to hear about the history of the company as well as the production and the focuses of the different product lines.
The visiting program was not only about visiting institutions, but it was also a great opportunity to learn about and experience the Korean culture. Although I was not that familiar with Korean culture beforehand, I was very eager to learn as much as I can about it during my stay. Every day after the official program we would have dinner together and eat delicious Korean food. We also explored Seoul together as well as the evening at Han river. Moreover, we sang our hearts out in Karaoke, had a Korean MT and so much more. I even picked up some Korean phrases and slang during my stay with the help of the SEP staff, which was fun.
The most memorable thing however was spending time with all of the people that I met during the program. Although we are from different parts of the world with different backgrounds we got along so well and formed strong friendships, which I'm really happy about. Now I have friends all over the world, which gives me a great excuse to travel to new places!
The one thing that really impressed me about the program was how organized and helpful the staff were. Everything was made so easy for the participants to enjoy the visit to Korea from the airport pick-up to helping with the food ordering to being on-call translators at any time. On top of the organization duties the staff members still had the energy to show us around and have fun with us, which I'm extremely grateful for.
Overall KNAPS managed to organize a SEP program that was both informative and super fun. The program was clearly well thought out and the execution was done really well. Because of my experience with the program and with the people I met, Korea will always have a special place in my heart. I will definitely visit again someday.
Thank you for the amazing experience!