Rakhat Kubanychbekova: “I recommend AUCA students not miss out on the opportunity to go abroad”
Rakhat Kubanychbekova, a junior in Business Administration at AUCA, is finishing up her exchange semester at Hannam University, South Korea. She shares with us her experience studying abroad.
“I have always wanted to study abroad to gain international experience. This was my last chance to go on an exchange program, and I decided I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. Before applying, I did my research and realized Hannam was the best option for me. First of all, it offered the business courses I needed to take. Second, I was told many good things about the professors and Korean culture from other students who had studied at Hannam. I was really motivated. The selection process was not too difficult; the hardest part was writing the motivation letter and getting recommendation letters from my professors.
I was very tired the day after my 5-6 hour flight, but at the airport I met several international students who were also going to study at Hannam University and exchanged contact information with them. The next day was orientation. I was very excited but at the same time a little bit nervous because it was a new country and new people. That day, I met my “Korean buddy”, who has been very nice and helped me ease into my new environment.
For me, the best thing about Korea is the people. Korean people are very nice and sympathetic. Once, my friend and I got lost and had to ask a Korean woman to show us the way. Even though she did not speak English, she called her friend to serve as our translator. I have gotten lost many times, but every time Koreans were willing to help. I can easily ask my Korean classmates questions or borrow their books, and they are always ready to help me or give me advice. I was lucky enough to be invited to my roommate’s Korean relative’s home to try Korean food.
The culture shock for me was that every Friday, Koreans go out drinking and it is absolutely normal. It is just the way Koreans relax and make new friends.
The education system at Hannam is pretty much the same as AUCA’s. The only difference is that Hannam grades on a curve, creating a strong sense of competition between students. Nonetheless, professors are very nice and always ready to help students and answer their questions.
The university has organized events and trips for exchange students to make our stay here more interesting. I have traveled to a few places in Daejeon and participated in a festival in Busan. After midterms, many exchange students, myself included, went to visit Tongyeong city and Geoje Island.
I have enjoyed my stay in Korea a lot. I recommend AUCA students not miss out on the opportunity to go abroad and gain invaluable life experiences. I have learned how to live in a diverse environment absolutely different from my own culture.
I am grateful to AUCA for giving its students such fantastic opportunities. I must thank the US_CAEF program for supporting me throughout my studies and Jae Chang Lee for the scholarship to study abroad!”