As a PhD candidate of Public Health, I always remember our mission to elucidate disease etiology and propose evidence-based health promotion strategy that would bear the external validity to be generalized to most population beyond boundaries of countries. Thus International collaboration is always my concern in caving my career.
Korea, Japan, and China are important component economic bodies of Pacific Rim area, in terms of economic, technological, and scientific strength. Since Campus Asia program offers me the opportunity to study in Korea, I deem it a great chance to enhance my collaborative ability and utilize multiple dataset to generate a comparative research of disease etiology between Japan and Korea.
Through this Joint-degree program, I was registered as an Integrated Course student. Firstly, I plan to finish 32 credits worth master and PhD courses within 3 semesters for graduation requirement. Therefore, I’m now attending 6 courses, such as Epidemiology and Biostatistics, every week. There’re quiz, journal review presentation, and assignment for each class. Through solving the quiz problem and assignments, I’m building up my academic knowledge, practicing my presentation skill, and utilizing my knowledge to work on the research using Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) dataset.
Secondly, I started to learn about cohort studies and dataset in Yonsei. Now I have a thorough understanding of Korean National Health Examination Study (KNHNES) and I’m trying to generate my thesis using KNHNES data. My next object is to join routine health checkup programs for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Etiology Research Center (CMERC) study and to understand implementation of cohort study in Korea.
Thirdly, I keep a good relationship with my classmates and professors. Although there’s some language barrier between us, but I positively ask help when I don’t understand and try to contribute to the group. I’m now cooperating with a classmate on a research using HINTS study.
Finally, I’m taking a Korean language class every Saturday thus improving my Korean skill. Now I can fit it academic environment in Yonsei and understand basic academic terminologies in Korean.
So far I have had great experience in Yonsei. Students in the lab here are very friendly and willing to help within their capacity range. I was treated to coffee, lunch, and dinner by several senior students and classmates. They always help translate Korean and convey lab information for me. They really help smoothed my nerves studying here. Also, Yonsei CA office had arranged me 3 hours/week Korean classes which greatly helps me to improve Korean for fitting in here and thus I acquire another language ability.
However, there’s also hardship I need to conquer here. The biggest struggle for me in Yonsei is the language barrier. Most lectures and students’ communications are in Korean, professor also prefer Korean as first language for academic discussion. I’m having a hard time understanding the lecture contents and lab meetings, and even had disputes within a group work with other Korean students. But the situation is improving because I’m learning Korean positively in my spare time and I seek help from my classmates and work on the problems until I would solve it.
I’d like to introduce Yonsei University with such reasons:
1. the chance to become more professional. There’re more courses and credits requirement here, which is a challenge but also an advantage to strengthen your public health knowledge. Also weekly lab meetings here serve as an accelerator pushing us to work harder.
2. the chance to participate in projects and utilize new population-based data for research.
3. the chance to multi-cultural life and different lab setting thus enhancing your International horizon and collaborative ability.
There are also some keywords I want to pinpoint for a better experience of studying in Yonsei University.
Primarily, language proficiency. Due to full-Korean teaching system for courses here, it is of great conveniency if you have mastered at lease basic level of Korean before departure. I suggest to a mastering of at least TOPIK level 3.
Secondly, academic independency. Professors and students here are busy with courses and projects, sometimes they may be too busy to help us with some questions. Therefore, it’s important to solve problems and become academically independent on our own.Lastly but not the least, stay positive and persistent. Probably, we may experience some problems fitting in, but please don’t hesitate to seek help and be persistent with your goal!