2022 Summer Student Exchange Programme Experience

Robert Cendula (SPSA, Slovakia) 


At the end of 2020, I intended to go to SEP in Japan and ended up due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Portugal. A year later I finally found myself in Korea and I would say that life often shows what is best for you. SEP in Korea was already my third, but clearly the best. My trip started with one canceled flight and another one delayed, forcing me to take 2 alternate trains and 4 buses. Despite the difficulties and expensive journey, I managed to arrive with my colleague in Seoul, where we experienced an incredibly beautiful 2 weeks as part of the visiting program.

First day of visiting program, group photo at NHIS
In front of the community pharmacy.

At the very first moment, I was amazed by the size of the city, as our entire country has half of the Seoul population. During this time, we managed to see and visit more institutions related to pharmacy than during the entire master's and doctoral studies at home. From the first moment, the visiting students took care of us with great effort, dedicated all their free time to us, managed to organize shared transportation, lunches, parties, but above all excursions throughout Korea, and last but not least, they made everything for us to feel at home. We have seen how it works in public and hospital pharmacies, pharmaceutical production, regulation of medicines, drugs, insurance, up to several organizations covering research, development and pharmaceutical production. We tried an traditional foods and drinks, sports events, cultural and historical programs, visited holiday destinations, tourist destinations and much more. In short, we experienced what it's like to live in Korea, which I would never have been able to do as an ordinary tourist. Despite the short time, we also learned a lot, for which I would like to thank everyone who took part in managing all of it as well.

Gym time! Me, Nataly and Won at the local gym
The conquest of the highest hill of the Seoul

Our time on this planet is limited and that's why I try to live to make the best use of it. My SEP in Korea was, from this point of view, definitely the best decision. It is very difficult to summarize all experiences and feelings in such a short report or to choose one most beautiful experience. For me personally, it represents a farewell to my PhD studies, and the strict orderliness and heartwarming hospitality of hosting students will remain in my heart forever. Among the memories that I like to replay in my mind are those for which I also show in the photos. Funny clapping after every group photo, great feeling after conquering the highest hill in Seoul and the highest peak in Korea, or how I brought other students to the gym, or simply how we talked on the way to one of the most famous districts in the world - Gangnam.

Last day in Seoul, the Gangnam square
And the highest peak in Korea, which is in Jeju island

I hope that we will be able to repay you in Slovakia by hosting students from Korea, but I assure you that uathere will be no better organized SEP than Korean. Thank you. Korea you go!


Sincerely, Robert.