Korea takes its independence from Japan in 1945, after Japan was defeated in the 2nd World War2, and the premonition of vanquish spread amongst the Japanese like the bubonic plague, while its power was ramshackling and slumping.

Korea has achieved commendable and remarkable economic development since 1960. Korea, once depend on Foreign Aid. Currently, Korea as an OECD member (The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) is now providing Aid to developing nations, and in the meantime, is on its way to becoming a major economic power. In six decades of the Korean economy, enormous researchers and other talking heads are expressing Korea’s economy as a (MIRACLE!).

During the colonial era, Japan’s Agri-cultural policy was geared toward making Korea a cost-efficient food supply base for Japan. In this regard, South Korea offers plenty of scholarship to the developing and under development countries. Especially, KDI, Korean Development Institute offers different scholarships to tremendous countries, including Global Ambassadors Scholarship (GAS) which is the one I am attending now. Other scholarships are: –

  1. Seoul G20 Global Leaders Fellowship
  2. Colombo Plan Scholarship
  3. POSCO Asia Fellowship
  4. NIIED Global Korea Scholarship for Graduate Degrees (GKS-G)
  5. Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK)
  6. FSS-KFB-KDIS
  7. Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA)

Not only KDI is offering scholarships to the world, but there are plenty of other Korean Universities and Institutions which are offering the same. So, all these stupendous educations Aid Which South Korea is offering, is crystal clear and self-explanatory that, South Korea is progressing unpredictably and unprecedentedly. And suffice it to say, Korea’s economy and top-notch education system is miracle!

 

Who is KDI?

 

The KDI School of Public Policy and Management (KDI School): is a government-run graduate school located in Sejong CitySouth Korea and is affiliated to the Korea Development Institute (KDI) and a member of the National Research Council for Economics, Humanities, and Social Sciences. The school was first established in 1997 in Dongdaemun DistrictSeoul, before moving to Sejong City in 2015 under the South Korean government’s actions to establish the city as the de facto administrative capital of the country. The school specializes in fostering international experts in the field of development economics and public policy.

Highly selective, the school takes on a small number of Korean and international students for its Master and PhD. programs taught in an institute-style research environment.

The school offers these scholarship programs: –

 

  • Master of Public Policy (MPP)
  • Master of Development Policy (MDP)
  • Master of Intellectual Property and Development Policy: This is a new program which is offered this Spring Admission
  • PHD. Program

 

 

The other side of the coin, KDI is, first think-thank in Asia, and sixth in the world. It offers Top-notch education system which enables you becoming a competitive person after you graduate. 

 

How I became KDI student and how I reached to South Korea!

 

Since 2016, I kept applying tirelessly KDI scholarship. I lose three times, but I didn’t fed up, give up, fizzle out, languish and trade away. Any time that I lose, I re-check my documents. I replenish and improve my qualifications and my Statement of Purpose (SOP) in order to become next-time an outstanding applicant. Alhamdulilaah, finally, luckily, I won my fourth time in August, Fall 2019.

It was 14 June this year, when I received my first congratulation document review stage. It was after Asir prayer, closely 1:00pm in MOGADISHU time. I was resting one of the cafeteria in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital city. Then, after 11 days, in June 25, Tuesday at 10:30am in Mogadishu’s time, and 4:30pm in Korea’s time, I performed the Skype interview.

And I found the final result and the final congratulation at July 2, this year. That day was, one of the happiest day according to me, and really it was breakthrough. It was August, Monday 19, 12: 10pm when I travelled along with my fellow student from Mogadishu in Ethiopian airways flight number (ET 377) and we came lately in Addis-Ababa for 15:00pm for transiting. After three to four hours of transiting in Addis-Ababa, we re-started our long journey with flight number (ET 672) at 23:25pm, and we safely touched down at 16:45pm.

It was 11 hours of Non-stop flight. Most of the passengers get slept in the plane, except few of them including me. Because, for me, I don’t accustom sleeping in the planes. So, I was just like unpaid supervisor in the plane. It was open-ended continental journey. We suffered a lot, but our target was to attend the class and utilize the peerless and exquisite opportunity which KDI has offered to us. Alhamdulilaah, we arrived safely and soundly at Incheon International Airport in South Korea. 

 

Finally, when we reached at Incheon Airport, our beloved brothers were waiting us calmly with long hours in order to exonerate and off the hook from us. And they immediately embarked helping us. And we together followed the bus which heads to our destination (SEJONG). When we came at KDI school, our beloved brothers and our inner circle demonstrated us Lukewarm reception and superfluous support, and KDI team as well. We instantly positioned our rooms. My gratitude thanks go to them for their commendable and exemplary work they have done for us. Because, they quietly endure, silently suffer and patiently wait until we arrived.

In the meantime, the Dormitory assistants have read us the rules and regulations of the dormitory, especially what is allowed and what is disallowed. Specifically, the kitchen’s rules as far as its public and shares all the students. Because, keeping the safety of the students while avoiding the perilous and the potential hazards is good for everyone, and it is the business for all.

The other side of the coin, we have learnt the school’s rules and regulation in order to catch up the ongoing works in the school. I inspired and stimulated how everything is digitalized and it seems that, there is no much need for human.

 

Orientation period

 

Without orientation, you can’t acclimatize the context. KDI offers us five-day long orientation 

 

The orientation begins 26 Monday, August- Friday 30 this year. We had different fetching sessions including 

  1. General orientation, inspiring and stimulation sessions
  2. Korean language and culture, Immigration networking programs
  3. International students’ insurance and Dormitory orientation
  4. Diversity (Cultural intermingling) from different countries
  5. Healthy check-up
  6. Tour in Sejong city where KDI is it’s headquarter

 

Commendable, exemplary and peerless behaviors that I have seen in KOREA, especially KDI: –

  1. KDI applies First come, first served principle is superb and super-duper. I unequivocally and without dithering delighted this outstanding principle. Because, it encourages justice, abhorrent disparity, pushes self-capacity and deters nepotism, patronage and disparity among the community. Let me start the registration of the courses. Specific day which has been announced previously mostly begins the registration. So, when this time becomes on, you start registering. And if you get procrastination, you can’t attend that class. Because, each class is allowed limit students. If KDI sends an email regarding an upcoming workshop, seminar, conference and etc., they apply this principle.
  2. Top–notch education system: You can realize when you arrive, how KOREA is improved, replenished and promoted its education system. Korea uses the latest technology which can facilitate everybody the easiest way of learning and studying
  3. Humbleness, ultra-conservative community. The whole population of KOREA, are in my observation and my nugget experience towards them, is humble and respected people. And you can realize that how they salute each other and others as well. If you do any favor to them, they give you automatically (Gamsamnida) which means thank you. 
  4. Relaxing, sports, Gym, Ping-Pong and every recreational are available in KDI. So, you can have a fun and get together. 
  5. First business areas which I have recognized (Top mart and No-brand). These two super markets are those I have interacted with from the beginning. Because, these businesses are quite close to the school, so it is easy to go shopping and purchase something. 

 

No mercy in KOREA if you are out of order!

 

Koreans are system oriented and tended abiding by the rules and regulations no matter how it’s so hard. If you are walking in the streets, or attending events, or attending education and etc, everything is harmonized and systemized. but, if you are out of order, nobody gives you any favor. Because, Koreans are nerds, introverted. And there is no hospitality, generosity and reception if you do misbehave wittingly or unwittingly.

I remember, one night I was in the KDI library. I was reading a book, and I found it something interested me. I liked to take a note the interesting parts of the book, but unfortunately, I wasn’t having a pen to take the note. I looked my next table, and I found a pen. But, the owner was absent at that moment.

I took his pen while he was absent. When he came back, I informed him that, I took his pen while he was unattended. And I told him that, I am going to return him back soon his pen. And I gave him sorry for borrowing his pen without his permission. He said, it is OK. And at the end, he said to me (Are you new student in KOREA?) and I said immediately that, I am fresh student in this fall.

He said quickly, welcome to KOREA. Ostensibly, his reply was obviously no problem. But, the subliminal message that he was aiming at was, there is no mercy and generosity in KOREA. Suffice it to say that, KOREANS are good people unless you transgress the rules and regulations.  

Somebody from Bongo Bongo land, especially AFRICA it’s too hard to obey the rules and regulations immediately and without exception. But, throughout the time, you can join them.

Challenges

  1. Koreans are Tech Savvy community. As one of the vast developing country, everything is digitalized. And it’s not easy to catch up with them at the beginning. It’s quite hectic and daring to understand everything quickly, but gradually you become familiar with how things are going. For instance, if you are following BUS, you can pay the money through CARD, not CASH. And mostly CASH is not preferred in KOREA.

 

  1. Cooking: while you are in the Dormitory, you cook your own self, regardless whether you already had culinary skills or not. Mostly, Asians are impeccable when it comes to culinary skills. But, plenty of Africans including me are not so perfect in cooking. There are some Africans who cook well, but majority is not good for that chapter. Though, the school is prepared already and installed the latest cooking machines in the kitchen, but it’s still challenging issue, especially during the studying period. Because, students receive tremendous assignments, courses, presentation, events and others.
     
  2. Washing: This is also another outstanding challenge which you might fail abysmally if you are not familiar with it in advance. Again, the school is allocated the students the washing machines which you can deal with it. 
  3. Buying food items: If you are a Muslim, this is also another singular challenge for you.  Because, everything is written in KOREAN language, so it’s not easy to avoid Pork, beef and etc. so, you should be vigilant when dealing with these scary issues. There is a notorious word which some of the fellow students joke sometimes when they get confused separating Halal from Haram. They say, hey man, this has been (Halalized) for just expressing their bewildering towards this issue. 
  4. Lack of enough space to pray: This is also another challenge for Muslim students. There is narrow space which the school has been allocated to the Muslim students. Though, this even narrow space is not written a (Mosque), but its written in (Multi-purpose). I highly recommend and request from the school humbly, at least to give this space the name of (Mosque or praying area), instead of Multi-purpose. Because, some students, especially the new ones can frustrate at the beginning the meaning of Multi-purpose. So, I prefer naming it explicitly instead of implicitly. 
  5. Sharing rooms with friends (Roommates). Because, there is a desperate need for venerating each other and mutual respect. Somebody like me, who hadn’t experience of sharing one room with other student is so difficult to him/her. But, it’s still reality in the ground. While you share rooms with others, you encounter scores of restrictions from the Dormitory Assistants (DA’s) 
  6. Communication with the ordinary Koreans. Most of the ordinary Koreans can’t communicate with ENGLISH. So, you get bedeviled to understand them and understand you as well. There are elite, few educated group who can speak an English fluently and famously. And most of these English speakers are centered in the Academic institutions like KDI. I remember, when I was performing the Healthy check-up, I much confused when they were calling my name. 

    As I am in the list, the hospital crew keep calling my name, but I can’t identify whether they are calling me or not. Because, they pronounce the Latin names differently. It was just like hearing sounds of music. But, I was aware of this challenge. So, I kept standing and asking questions to the nurses when I feel that I am vanishing. After some minutes, I used to say (Sorry, did anybody hear my name?), and they respond to me respectably, your name please? And when I tell my name, they say to me, where have you been? We called you few minutes ago. Then, I said, confessing my mistake, I am not familiar with your pronunciation, then I continue my business. The smashing thing was, the Hospital was very sophisticated, well-equipped, cleaned and service-oriented. The nurses were respected people. 

  7. Korean are silent, much engaged with the technology and target oriented. According to this fact, it’s not easy-peasy to interplay, intermingle and interact with them. Africans tend, speaking loudly, famously and courageously. It’s easy to them, to catch up the situation forthwith. But, here in KOREA, the situation is blowback. You need to be quieter, more conservative. 

Recommendations

  1. Forget/get lost getting service from others in Korea, do your self
  2. Be resilient. Don’t be fed up if you encounter inconveniences
  3. Depend on yourself after ALLAH
  4. Learn cooking and washing before you arrive in KOREA. Not, only KOREA, but whenever you depart from your own country. 

I finally, give my delirious gratitude and my superfluous support toward our mothers/sisters and wives. Because, they took additional responsibilities as voluntary. Plenty of Muslim world and several African countries, cooking and washing are covered by women in order to exonerate men while they are regarding as their fathers, brothers and husbands. Here is different utterly and completely. You study, you cook, you wash, you clean, you dispose your waste for the sake of the environment’s embellishment. So, be vigilant when you are heading to the real world!  

Anwar Abdifatah Bashir (Freelance Journalist/Horn of Africa Geopolitics Analyst and Independent Researcher) Anwarcade100@gmail.com

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Jowhar.com’s editorial stance.