Albert Budi Christian, S.Kom
(Alumnae) Faculty of Computer Science, 2013
Spring Semester ACUCA-SMS’ Scholar, At Handong Global University, Korea
Seeing and learning something new is my hobby since I was kid. That’s why I can’t decline when there is an offer from my lecture about a chance to joined Student Mobility Schemes program. Student Mobility Schemes is an exchange student program provided by ACUCA (The Association of Christian Universities and Colleges in Asia), which means every student can study in other university (under ACUCA) with a free tuition fee. Our university is one of member there. I am so happy because I haven’t heard this information before. I imagine I can get new knowledge, new culture, and new friends. Everything is running well.
It was changing when I get an acceptance letter from Handong Global University (HGU). There was little falter feeling in my heart when I read the acceptance letter. Like Adam prophet after he ate forbidden fruit, my mind is open. I was realized whether it is real or not, because if I go there, this is my first experience to live abroad. At the first, I was confused about many issues like the culture, language, and the public transportation. First issue was I did not know anything about the Korean culture, so that I was worried about my life there. Second issue was, there is information that Korean people cannot speak English properly. Third issue is the transportation. My university location located far away from the airport, so I need change the public transportation in several times, which means I must try to communicate in Korean language if I can’t find the location or if I have lost. Those problems caused fear inside of my heart. Sometimes I think, how can I live there? Many assumptions in my mind always haunted me until I flight into South Korea.
Anything is changing when I was arrived in Incheon International Airport. All of my fears were vanished. Korea is not too scary as I imagined. Many road signs already using English, and many young people are familiar to communicate with English. Otherwise, my adventure’s desire seemed boiled. My feeling like I was stayed in a different world even we are in the same continent, new people, new language, and new culture. At the moment I am trying to understand their language because they also in the country that does not use English as their mother tongue. With the assistance of HGU International Office, I can arrive there. In this case, I can say that HGU was ready to be host for international student. Displayed from the buddies who were waiting for me, even I arrived there in the evening. The next challenge is when I was arrived in dormitory, there are many things that make me feel (culture) shock. For example, drinking by using paper and public bath. Yes, public bath. Korean people have unique culture in taking a shower. It really makes me shock. I am unfamiliar with this at the beginning, so I have a strategy to take a shower at night, which means another people were already slept. Lucky me, it only occurs for in one week (orientation), and the international students move into international dormitory which use private bathroom.
The culture shock, like I told above, is not only happened for one time, it did several times for me in the first month I am in South Korea. For example study group until morning, garbage can is used for toilet papers, and speeding bus driver who make me dizzy. But, the differential culture is not a barrier for me to survive. I always believe where there rests the earth there sky be upheld, which means if I was in a place I have to adjust the local customs. Besides many things who make me shock, there are many things which make me impressed with South Korea. One of things that I impressed with South Korea is its discipline. They have a slogan in daily activities 바리 (bali) that means quick. They really appreciate time. In their perspectives, there is no word “sorry I’m late”. On time is something valuable for them. In addition, I also respect with queuing culture at bus terminal. I didn’t see pilfer, bus fight, and if the bus was departed they will wait for the next bus.
As student in HGU, I had 2 life sides as student. Those are academic and non-academic life. My academic life went as a common student. However, there were some stuffs that I had to adapt, such as: teaching method which was quite different with my university. The toughest challenge of a country which not use English as the mother tongue, lecturers often speak Korean even in 100% English class. It is like troublesome for me. So, I asked to the professor to re-teach me after the class was finished in his room. Also, I have good friends who helped me translate the Korean language which spoken at college. Besides academic life, I had various non-academic lives. In HGU, I joined some clubs and events. My non-academic life gave me much experience in understanding culture (not only Korean culture, but also international culture) and getting many good friends. Firstly, I joined Handong Today English Newspaper, a journalism club which publishes English newspaper every month. I joined this club because I like writing. Secondly, I joined IBS (International Buddy System), an international group to make a mutual relationship between Koreans and Foreigners. For Foreigners, they can learn Korean culture, and for Koreans, they can improve their English skill. There were a lot of activities that I participated. I joined Love Feast, an event for foreigners to cure home sick. Then, I joined Korean Traditional Art class to learn how to make traditional pattern in South Korea. Also, I tried Darye (Korean Tea Ceremony) class to practice traditional form of tea ceremony, and many things.
Another experience that I got besides my life as student, I got another experience in South Korea, such as: learned the history of South Korea, history of Hangeul and Korean culture. Besides that, I joined Perpika (Indonesian Student Community in South Korea). There, I can cure my problems about food (I miss Indonesian food) because my friends gave me Indonesian seasoning. It really helped me because I can cook Indonesian food by myself. I learned Chinese language too there. In addition, there are many friends from China who offered me to teach their language. It was very interesting to learn new language.
Last but not least, I have messages for my junior in Soegijapranata Catholic University. Always do what you are afraid to do because the biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams. Do not ever be afraid to dream and just take every chance which came to you. Because of this experience, my knowledge is significantly developed. I can see new things, I got a lot of friends, I can see the beauty of the world, and the main point is that it will help you to open the next step better. Finally, everything you can imagine is real.