My South Korean journey To Incheon with Science
written By: Christine Jewel C. Uy
Research and Teaching Assistant, Ghent University Global Campus
My first WOWs
I arrived in South Korea last August 2012, and the first thing that amazed me was the airport. It is so large, clean, and very accommodating. No wonder it was awarded as the world's best airport. The transportation is just excellent! I can travel for many kilometers without spending so much time and money. The kindness of the Korean people is something that I admire the most. I was lost in the subway, and an old lady guided me until I could find my way home.
My sweet home, Songdo
I currently live in Songdo, which they call an International Business District. This is also Korea's first Free Economic Zone. As a foreigner, this city is really the place to live in. There are 15 international organizations, including the World Bank and the Green Climate Fund Secretariat. The beautiful Central Park, Arts Center Incheon, large shopping malls, international schools, and foreigner support centers make it very convenient for foreigners.
The Incheon Global Campus (IGC), which celebrated its tenth-anniversary last year, is the cradle for international students, especially Ghent University. It creates many more future leaders, most especially in the scientific world.
My scientific journey
There are many scholarships for students here in South Korea. I was fortunate to receive one, so I could study here until I received my doctorate from Korea University. South Korea is very supportive when it comes to research. They offer many different fundings, so it is very accommodating to constantly explore and study.
I am an entomologist, and the insect species I study is called "caddisflies" or "날도래" in Korean. This species of insect lives in rivers and streams when they are larval stage and become terrestrial as they become adults. To study these insect species, I did many collections in the rivers in South Korea, primarily the Hangang River, and many other parts of the world, such as my country, the Philippines. The insect species of South Korea are very much different from the Philippines, and I learned many other interesting things in this country.
Korean culture is vibrant. One word that I can use to describe it is "beauty." Everything is beautiful, from the hanboks to the temples, villages, and even the food. I have seen many different rice cakes with very detailed designs. One thing I also learned and want to adapt to Korean culture is how thoroughly they prepare for an event. Everything should be planned and look very decent, from the event posters, event set-up, the clothes they wear, and how they should greet everyone to show their respect. There is the beauty of respect in it.