KAIST Chronicles: PART 1

14 Apr 2016   kisa

Author: Mr. Fahim Masum

Story of a Saudi Arabian-born Bangladeshi who lives in Korea and is surrounded by more Internationals (a very, very diverse background)

My name is Fahim Masum. As a South Asian guy who grew up in the Middle East and had a diverse pool of friends, one would think coming to Korea would be a (relative) walk in the park for me. One would be mistaken. As was I. People eat healthy here. Everyone’s in shape. K-POP is the mainstream. People are shy. So to all you hopefuls and newcomers, and maybe even some oldies looking for some enlightenment, I’m going to write a series of articles that I hope may help you relate, and thus find inner peace in the land of Kimchi.

In my first three hours here, I was already missing everybody, and had a mind to book the next ticket home. It is a normal feeling to have, and it takes some getting used to (especially for the more emotionally-invested ones). However, I met some warm, welcoming compatriots, who showed me around and took me out for lunch. These same countrymen would later go on to become some of my closest friends, but that’s a story for another day.

This meeting of people depends completely upon you. You may have fellow countrymen, you may not. They may be friendly, they may not. But my take on the matter is, if you want to adjust to a country, you need to have friends. So even if you’re shy, get out of your comfort zone and try to make as many friends as possible, as soon as possible. People say orientation is the best time to make new friends. While this may be true, you would be wrong to assume that orientation is the ONLY time to make new friends. Friends can emerge from the most obvious of places (like at orientation) or at the strangest of situations (ended up on the same taxi- yeah, that happened to me once). Join clubs, chat people up, get out more, etc. Remember, almost everyone here is looking for a friend to make, so you are not alone in this.

That’s about it for my initial chapter. To sum up, if you’re upset or feeling lonely, don’t be surprised. We’ve all been through that, and that fact will help you connect to other people. If you want to find happiness in Korea (or any new place actually), you’ll need other people to share that happiness with, living in the moment with you. So get out there and make some pals!

End of PART 1. Next time, I’ll probably write about the culinary habits and tastes of Korea. Keep smiling!


Disclaimer: This article was submitted by Mr. Fahim Masum for Write for KISA programme. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of KAIST International Students Association (KISA).  For more details visit the Write for KISA page.

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