From Kalimantan to South Korea An Incredible Story of GKS Awardee during COVID-19 outbreak


An extraordinary story comes from an Universitas Islam Indonesia (UII) English Language Education alumni in 2020. His name is Rahmad Saputra, a recipient of the Global Korea Scholarship (GKS) organized by the South Korean government in 2021. GKS aims to provide opportunities for international students to obtain an education at higher education institutions in South Korea to enhance international educational exchange and strengthen relations between countries.


Rahmad got the opportunity to continue his master’s education at Kongju National University for two years. Nevertheless, he needs to complete a one-year Korean language course at Daegu University. This language course is mandatory in the first year for every GKS awardee, hoping it can make them easier in daily life and lectures that use Korean.


At the initial phase in Korea, Rahmad felt a cultural shock. It was because the weather drastically changed to minus temperatures, the learning environment and friendship, and the difficulty of finding halal food. In order to get halal food, he and his friends need to walk a kilometer to reach a halal restaurant. Additionally, during the first two weeks, Rahmad found it challenging to communicate with society. For instance, he often used body language and online translator applications when he wanted to buy an item or food.


On the other hand, he was delighted to be a GKS awardee. He once said that the tradition of studying in Korea is perfect, highly enthusiastic for learning, diligent, and disciplined. Therefore, he thought this tradition was suitable for him – a person with high education exposure. His main daily activity is studying Korean at Daegu University. He had a hard time during the first month in Korea, and he was unable to catch the speech of his language teacher. Further, he asked friends for help to interpret the meaning of the teacher’s order. Besides, when he was in the second month, he began to get used to the Korean language.


Regardless of studying the language on campus, he spends the time studying with friends from Indonesia and several other countries. He also cooked Indonesian food to treat homesickness for local cuisine, weekly shopping, and taking walks around. In addition, he also independently learns Korean through YouTube, apps, and e-books that he collects himself from the internet.


Finally, Rahmad hoped to become a better person, inspire, and be valuable to others. Furthermore, he advised that people must prepare everything in advance to get a scholarship. Please seek knowledge in lectures seriously, be an active student both in the academic field and in mobility activities outside of academics. Keep working hard, passionate, and fighting with all your heart.

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