1. Can you introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is Haewook Kang who loves traveling and reading books. As a student in the class of 16, I am majoring in international relations in KAC (Keimyung Adams College). Currently, I am studying in Bogazici University of Istanbul, Turkey as exchange student.
2. Why did you decide to go abroad as an exchange student? What do you want to acquire from the experience?
I thought the exchange student program is an absolutely beneficial program. I could travel abroad, but I thought it would be a more valuable experience to live in another culture and study as a student in that country, so I decided to go as an exchange student. I needed motivation for my career, and I wanted to get out of the box and get a wider new perspective. Therefore, a new environment was needed. That is why I felt exchange student program is an attractive opportunity. I am convinced the experience of an exchange student will definitely give me a lot of thoughts and lessons. Finally, based on the new culture of unfamiliar environment, it will be possible to understand myself by looking at me with a sense of unfamiliarity and to understand people with very different values.
3. Is there any special reason you chose the Bogazici University? And what is the strength of the university and Istanbul?
As Bogazici University is the most prestigious university in Turkey, it provides a high-quality education and the students' enthusiasm for studying is great. Istanbul has many wonderful tourist attractions, but the campus’s beautiful view is the best attraction for me. Also, what surprised me here was the school cafeteria. The price of all menus is measured at 200 to 300 won per meal. There are also a variety of items, so I'm very satisfied with it. To introduce Istanbul culture, first of all, when it comes to food, people drink tea called chai every day! Also, yogurt is used so much that it can fit anywhere in the food. And Turkey has so many dogs and cats that it is said to be a country of dogs and cats.
4. Have you felt cultural differences?
To tell you a few things about cultural differences, most of Turkey's population is Muslim. Therefore, there is an inconvenience of having to follow the lifestyle of Muslims to some extent. For example, Muslims pray five times a day as "Ajan," which starts at 6 a.m. and sounds resonate throughout the village. Thanks to that, I wake up at 6 a.m. every morning. Another Muslim lifestyle aspect is they do not eat pork. There is an adversity of not being able to eat Korean-style pork belly because I cannot buy pork at restaurants or butcher shops.
5. What did you learn the most while staying in Turkey?
I think there are things you can only see when you leave. Since I lived in Korea for so long, there were things I took for granted. However, when I left and looked at Korea from the outside, I can see many things more objectively. Culture is said to be closely related to one’s thinking system. Living in a certain culture means living in that culture's system of thinking, so I feel that thinking is limited to that culture. Therefore, living in a different culture is a very precious experience. Experiencing a variety of cultures means expanding the system of thinking, and in the end, it will help me broaden my horizons and accept the differences.
6. Do you have bucket list that you want to go or do?
I want to make a lot of Turkish friends during my time in Turkey. I hope the process of communicating with Turkish friends will be a good opportunity for me to understand cultural differences. Turkey has a dynamic and interesting history so I want to study Turkish history little by little and travel to many historical sites. Especially on the bucket list, I would like to make a pilgrimage not only to the Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon, but also to the underground cities and seven churches in Asia Minor!
7. What do you want to do after graduation? And what are your career goals?
Although I have not yet decided on my career path specifically, I hope that if I have the opportunity to work on internationally or work with people from other countries in the future, I will use this exchange student experience to overcome cultural and linguistic barriers and communicate with people.
8. Can you give some advice to people who want to go to Bogazici University as an exchange student?
I think the quality of education in Bogazici University is quite high! I think it would be nice if you could prepare listening and reading before you come, and if possible, I'm sure it'll be a more enjoyable school life if you prepare some speaking skills!