Hello! I’m Yan, in the last summer vacation, I went to KAIST International Summer School in South Korea and it is such a fantastic and memorable experience. Two month has passed since I left Daejeon but everything in KAIST is still so clear in my mind like it just happened yesterday.
Firstly let me talk about the people here. This was my first time in South Korea, language is certainly the biggest problem because not many people here speak English, but all of them are very friendly and welcoming. At the first day, it was already 11pm when we arrived Daejeon, the street was almost empty and we couldn’t find any taxi. And at that time we didn’t have a sim card, therefore we have no access to internet. When we were waiting desperately, luckily, we met a Korean girl who had just come off her work. She called us a taxi and gave us her contact so that we can get help from her in the future. Thing like this also happened for a few more times when we got lost or had trouble in the street, we could always get help from a friendly resident. Even though his or her English is not good enough, they would try their best to understand, which made us feel really warm.
As for the courses, I must say I can’t find enough words to praise it. Because it is just perfect, in nearly every aspect. I had two subjects there, Art and Philosophy and Basic Korean for Foreigner. The teacher who taught us Art and Philosophy was a very renowned and erudite professor who have taught philosophy for more than 30 years in UK, US and South Korea. Although more than 70 years old, he is still open minded in teaching like young. Every day he post a lot of interesting material in Facebook and he also encourage us to share everything we are interested in to him. Every class is very well organized, we are divided into 5 groups and in every group KAIST students and International students are assigned for about half and half, which makes communication and cooperation easier for everyone. In every class, the teacher always started with an interesting and informative video and led us to discuss about and make our own comments. In order to guide us to have a better understanding of art and philosophy, Professor Park let us draw picture and sing in class. He is very good at start with simple and ordinary thing but end up teaching us very sophisticated and profound philosophy theory, which makes a lot of fun in the classes for even us beginners in philosophy. In another class, Basic Korean, it was not as interesting as Art and Philosophy, after all, learning a new language is completely different from learning other subjects because everything is difficult at the start. In order to be able to speak a new language we had to make efforts and recite vocabulary and grammar. In spite of the great difficulty, our Korean teacher still managed to make the classes not so boring by using variety of material and giving Korean snacks. She is very patient and tried hard to make everybody catch up. After one month, I’m able to read and speak some basic vocabulary and sentences in Korean, which is quite meaningful.
Finally let me introduce some other things like food and after school activity. Food is certainly and favourite part in KAIST, there are variety of food inside and outside the campus. KAIST is a huge university, combing of three districts, each one has a cafeteria. In the campus, two out of the three cafeterias are buffet, for only about £3 you can enjoy 6 dishes plus salad and drink, and to my surprise, even though there were not many students remained in campus during summer vacation, all the cafeterias here still opened every day and offered variety of different food for every meal. Kimchi, of course, is a must in every restaurant, always for free. And they also cook beef, chicken, pork and seafood in Korean ways, which enable you to taste as many kinds of Korean food as possible. In the main cafeteria, they also offered Chinese and Japanese food, of course in a fair price. In addition, KAIST also offered us a two days’ trip to Seoul, during which we went to many famous place like Seoul tower and the DMZ area, in these place we learnt a lot about Korean culture and also had great fun.
If I can only use one word to describe my time in KAIST Summer School, that would be ‘fantastic’. It is such an honour to go to such a welcoming country and to enjoy such wonderful courses in KAIST. If you’re still considering where to go for summer vacation, please don’t hesitate to choose KAIST, I believe you can also have a wonderful time there like I did.