The Fish Out of Water (For Freshers…May be Not)

15 Jan 2015   kisa

Author: Edrick Kwek

Imagine something out of its natural habitat; a fish out of water. Being in an entirely foreign land as is Korea to internationals form something that indeed is a close match to the analogy (although the existence of a slight difference distinguishes the two). Adaptability, an indispensable human trait is what makes us (current international students) survive if not notoriously too well, satisfactorily. The process of adaption however does not happen in a few hours nor does it happen in the span of several days. It takes weeks or even months of terrible homesickness and presumably, of skype. Time and most importantly, peers will eventually allow the advent of a well-adapted Korean life.

Instead of fitting in all the ‘to dos’ and ‘what nots’ in this small piece of writing; a technically impossible task, it is feasibly better for a set of condensed rules for adaptability from the (semi)-experienced.

Rule 1: Don’t be shy!! – An Australian proverb goes in saying: “Once bitten, twice shy”. But we haven’t bitten you (yet)!! Feeling lonely?? Got any questions or problems?? Just ask and we will be there for you. In fact, we are there for you!!

Rule 2: Be a socialite (say what??) – Now this might sound a little out of place but yes, be socially active!! Approach all sorts of people (including Koreans) because remember, this is going to be home for the following years and you certainly do not want it to crawl with strangers now do you?? Although seemingly fancy a word, the essence of being a socialite is again rule 1!! Trust us, no one is going to bite!

Rule 3: Don’t be picky (with food at least) – For some, Korean food may completely be an alien dish while for others it may not be so but regardless of whether its the latter or the former, “in Rome, live like the Romans do”. Try to get accustomed to the food in Korea for that is going to be KAIST (cafeteria) food! International substitutes are of course existent but are mostly off campus and tend to rip your wallet contents off <…a hyperbole>.

So there it is, the three golden rules (to be followed) for a smooth transition into KAIST (at least non-academically). Cheers in making it this far in life!!! A very warm welcome to KAIST and all the very best!!


Disclaimer: This article was submitted by Mr. Edrick Kwek 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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