Witnessing Korean Culture Firsthand

Frankie Pandapotan Purba
Maranatha Christian University

Host Institution: Keimyung University, South Korea

I am immensely grateful for the chance to take part in a student exchange program provided by the ACUCA Student Mobility Scheme program. It helped me to participate in a student exchange program abroad particularly at Keimyung University, South Korea. I have never imagined that I could go to South Korea to study as an exchange student. The fighting spirit and grace led everyone to achieve beautiful dreams. 

When abroad, everything was different ranging from culture, customs, and regulations. I got a lot of learning through different experiences.  I took courses in Korean Language Practice 1, Korean Business Culture, and Project Development in Business. I learned many things that I hope I can bring and apply in my home country Indonesia, one of which is me and other friends in our Project Development in Business course developing interesting technology projects to solve parking problems assisted by technology to make it easier for motorists.  I also participated in a festival held by the campus with Korean friends and friends from other countries such as Germany and others, then we also enjoyed a get-together at one of the places to eat. I experienced participating in Korean traditional games and preparing traditional food — things I got to witness firsthand that I had only seen in movies and on television.

Learning different cultures and learning how to adapt environment new to me made me become even better. For instance, I had the opportunity to have roommates coming from different countries with different cultural habits. It allows me to contribute to finding solutions whenever problems or difficulties come along our way while staying in a dormitory with them. That experience taught me how to live and share positive things with others.

I have great respect for other Asian Cultures, especially the habit of appreciating others. In my one semester stay at Keimyung University, I learned that Korean people really appreciate discipline and punctuality in an event, including during lectures. 

My piece of advice to my fellow students is to have courage. Do not be afraid to try new things, because these new things will give color to your life. The ACUCA Student Mobility Scheme program will take us, students, to achieve that color, the ACUCA university program supports students to be able to study abroad and we can learn all the positive things from the countries we visit to study ranging from interesting cultures, and countries habits, foreign language, advanced technology, and many others. We can also take it and apply it in our home country and develop the ideas that we get after studying abroad. It may be hard to learn something that has never been learned, but it can be learned, and it just takes time.

I was able to step outside of my comfort zone by studying overseas. Without the ACUCA SMS program, I’m not sure whether I ever would have had an exchange student because I couldn’t afford to travel; but, the ACUCA SMS program gave me the opportunity to travel abroad for the first time and learn a lot, particularly about South Korea. Finally, I would want to express my gratitude to Keimyung University for the wonderful experience and the valuable lessons I will carry with me as I make my way back to Indonesia.