안녕하세요! 한기대 재학생 여러분! I am Ana E. Valeriano, a foreign student from Batangas, Philippines and have been an Industrial Management major here in Korea University of Technology and Education for more than a year now.
Coming and studying here in Korea is something that I did not plan for nor had even imagined doing, simply because it is not something that I ever thought was possible. For a country like the Philippines, studying abroad is not something that one can easily do unless you happen to be from a well-off family. Nevertheless as the saying goes "nothing is impossible", so here I am, still half-amazed and half-thankful for the unexpected scholarship grant from a Korean company that fell right into my hands and brought me here to Korea University of Technology and Education. Who would have thought that I could experience the places, language, culture, people and all the subtle things about Korea that I only used to see in the Korean dramas I have watched since my elementary days.
It's been quite some time since I first came here, but whenever I stop and think about everything, I still can't help myself but smile and simply say, "Thank you Lord!”. I may not be a great person for I haven't achieved anything yet nor traveled and seen the world, but being here in Korea makes me feel proud. Maybe some of you may ask what is so good about Korea and KOREATECH that made me feel this way. I totally enjoy going to the university's karaoke rooms with my friends whenever we have nothing to do and we feel like having fun singing for hours. Also, nothing beats the chicken and pizza serve at Tiba and Masilen Chicken nor will I ever get tired of eating byeo-hae-jang-guk at Byeongcheon's Nogeoldae. The convenience of things like Cashbee as a method of payment for public transportation along with Kakaotalk as a medium of communication still amazes me about life in Korea. Let us not forget our love for the fast internet connection that allows one to download large files in just a matter of few minutes. That is far from the many hours that it normally would have taken me in the Philippines. The weather may be too cold during winter and too hot during summer, but one cannot help but look forward to the changing colors of leaves during autumn or the blooming of flowers every spring. I have wished that I could find these things in my home country for countless times already.
But still there are more reasons why my stay in Korea is a life-changing experience. It is true that I could study the same subjects and take the same courses or find all the same information that are available through books and internet back in my home country. However there are wonderful reasons which make leaving my home country perfectly worthwhile. For example, now I have a much more personal understanding of the culture which I just used to know through reading and watching Korean dramas. Also, I have obtained proficiency in the Korean language which, before coming, I did not understand at all. And I cannot overlook the friendships I have gained, after finding a common ground, with people who may be from different races as well as the experiences I had which changed the way I look at things. Finally, the precious life-lessons I learned that have been a part of defining who I am right now.
These are just some of the many reasons why living and studying away from home is a worthwhile experience. If we try to think about it more deeply, these could be the real purposes for studying in a foreign country; to be educated beyond the four corners of the classroom and to see the world through new glasses.