POSTECH Microscope: The Story of Exchange Students
POSTECH Microscope: The Story of Exchange Students
  • Reporter Kim San
  • 승인 2021.10.12 05:21
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▲Mariatu Davies (right)
▲Mariatu Davies (right)

To a large extent, it is human nature to explore and discover new things. It is in this broad sense that the pandemic has challenged the very definition of what makes us living humans. Notwithstanding the global hardship, college students from around the world have challenged themselves and set out to explore Korea. Among many, these are the three courageous exchange students who joined us for an interview: Mariatu Davies (United Kingdom), Fabian Mayer (Germany), and a kind student from Vietnam who wished to stay anonymous.

How has your experience been so far?
I [Fabian] am enjoying my experiences a lot. Everyone is open-minded and willing to meet new people. And especially, I think it is great that all of us exchange students are living in the same accommodation (DICE) as it makes it a lot easier to make new friends. However, I [anonymous] wish we had more in-person classes because, in a virtual class setting, it is difficult to meet and connect with people.

How does the college lifestyle at POSTECH differ from the one back home? 
In terms of academics, I [Mariatu] love how all of my classes are very small and interactive. Because I am a collaborative learner, I like to learn through discussion. So, a class of five to 10 students is a perfect environment for me to excel.

Are there difficulties you are facing at the moment? And could you relate that to the cultural shift you might have experienced?
One of my [anonymous] favorite things to do is to just wander around exploring new parts of the world, and that is also one of the main reasons why I participated in the Exchange Student Program. But obviously, the pandemic has made it difficult to engage in such activities. On top of that, we [Fabian, Mariatu, anonymous] would like to make more Korean friends, but the online lectures make it practically impossible to meet people outside of our bubble at DICE.
Also, it was quite interesting to see the different ways in which countries deal with the pandemic. I [Mariatu] feel that COVID-19 regulations here are more strict compared to the UK where things are a bit more open and liberal. And I see this as a general cultural difference where individualism is quite prominent in western culture while eastern culture puts more emphasis on collectivism. I think society can thrive when both aspects coexist. So, there are already so many things I could learn outside of mere academics that will push me to become a more well-rounded person.

Any final words of advice?
I [anonymous] would say, firstly, do your research before deciding your destination country, because I see some of my European friends at DICE struggle to abide by the strict regulations. And, again, I think this comes down to the cultural difference and it is definitely something you could avoid in advance. And secondly, push yourself outside of your comfort zone and actively meet new people, because at the end of the day, the main goal is for you to make new human connections and gain international experience.