Life at graduate school always becomes one the most precious moments of our lives. It is an experience full of happiness, challenges, tough schedules and tons of never-ending assignments. In all these moments, students try their best to stay focused and work hard to stay on top of their academic achievements and keep up with their personal lives. Along with the academic requirements, daily leisure activities are indispensable, as these are not only important in themselves but help students overcome pressure from school and enjoy their student life at KDI School more fully.
Five impressive women from different corners of the world – the Philippines, India, Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe and Russia – had a friendly talk about their various activities outside school, favorite classes, daily meals, unforgettable moments and all around feelings towards KDI School.
1- What do you do in your free time?
VILLAPANDO Heinriette Vienne, The Philippines, 2019 Spring MDP Student
“When I am not in class and not busy with school stuff, I do several things. I actually have an online job. I work an average of 4 hours a day, including on weekends. I also love traveling. During holidays, I try to discover new places. I love eating out and trying new dishes, and I love it even more when I do this with my friends. I also cook sometimes. From time to time, I take walks in Sejong City and around the vicinity of KDI. It is always a fun way to get a breather and take short breaks from my academic commitments and also to get some relief from the demands of my job. I talk to my family frequently. I also love being involved in volunteering activities of Pinoy Iskolars sa Korea (PIKO) – the Official Student Organization of Filipinos in Korea – and the Korean Red Cross. I don’t spend that much of my free time in the library. I try to find a balance in everything, to make the most out of my time here. These efforts keep me sane and bring me fulfilment.” – Heinriette
“To call it ‘free time’ would be an overstatement because we do not have free time at KDI. If we don’t have assignments or reading to do, we have friends to meet and our little stories to live at KDI, which I believe is as essential to our lives as other things. We are not only learning but also creating memories for a lifetime. So, yes, I spend time with my friends. Sometimes we even paint together! Also, writing takes up most of my time as I had planned to publish my third book before leaving Korea, but I don’t think this is possible anymore due to time constraints and my many other commitments. I am also busy with my Instagram profile, for which I write daily quotes to share with the world. You see, no free time.” – Somaya
“Whenever I have free time I try to travel and explore somewhere new. It may be foreign countries during school vacations or places in Korea on the weekends, or even a new part of Sejong that I have never been to yet.” – Nargiza
“I meet with my friends, watch movies and travel around Korea. I am also fond of hiking, so every weekend I climb a mountain nearby and sometimes I watch the sunset from the top.” – Maria
“I exercise outdoors (jogging, taking long walks), meditate at my rendezvous places around the school premises, chat with friends and visit new places.” – Ruwimbu
2- How is the food at the school cafeterias?
“Well, it’s just okay for me. Sometimes, I like the food being served, but sometimes I eat outside the school or cook.” – Heinriette
IQUBAL Somaya, India, 2019 Spring MPM Student
“The best thing about the cafeteria is that we have choices. On days I don’t wish to eat at one cafeteria I switch to the other one. The food is excellent as well as nutritious. I love Korean cuisine, so I prefer that over other types of food.” – Somaya
“I find both cafeterias’ food at KDIS delicious and tasty. Tasting different food while combining it with Korean kimchi makes the meals more delicious and unique.” – Nargiza
“The Korean cafeteria is super-delicious and cheap. Yesterday they had a dish in a stone pot (dolsot) and the staff literally played with fire before giving it to us.” – Maria
“I have only eaten at the cafeteria once since I came to KDIS because I love preparing my own food. However, I did enjoy the sea food dish I ate at the cafeteria. It was well prepared and the taste was very good.” – Ruwimbu
3- What is your favorite course?
“I believe there is always something valuable to learn from everything. Hence, I like all my courses since I think every course offered by KDIS is beneficial to me.” – Heinriette
“This is a difficult question because all the courses I have chosen this semester are subjects of my interest. However, if I had to choose one, then it would be my Global Health class as I am interested in public health, and I love to learn about new developments and technologies to address public health problems around the world.” – Somaya
KHAMIDOVA Nargiza, Uzbekistan, 2019 Spring MPP Student
“All the courses I have taken at KDIS discuss relevant and informative topics. However, my favorite one is the Gender and Development course that I took in the summer semester. My knowledge of gender issues has become richer and my understanding and views towards GAD have totally improved through different experiences.” – Nargiza
“I enjoy all of the courses I have chosen. Not only the professors but also my classmates provide examples for different policies, so the classes are very interesting and challenging.” – Maria
“I love all my courses, consequently, I don’t have a favorite one. I’m privileged to be under the care of knowledgeable, yet humble and friendly professors who are always willing to assist their students. Furthermore, they have a unique way of imparting their expertise.” – Ruwimbu
4- Tell us one thing that you cannot forget about KDI School?
“Some day I might forget specific lessons taught in class, but I will never forget those precious memories from outside the classroom with people from all over the world with whom I shared my journey at KDIS.” – Heinriette
“I can tell you hundreds of things that I can never forget from KDI. To sum up those, it is my learning. My learning in terms of academic knowledge plus my learning in my personal life, my interactions with people and diverse cultures, my relationships, my exposure to new things and everything that I did here, things which I believed I could never do, I count all those moments as my achievements. I have experienced a considerable development in my personal growth and perspective towards life and the world.” – Somaya
“I cannot forget stories my friends shared with me during friendly talks in daily life about their cultures and life in their countries. For me, nothing is more eye-opening and rewarding than interacting with others and listening to how they live. KDIS has given me the opportunity to experience the world while studying in Korea.” – Nargiza
UTIRWARA, Ruwimbo, from Zimbabwe, 2019 Fall MDP Students
“For me it is the dormitory environment. I’m afraid my experience has been stressful due to the dormitory remodeling.” – Ruwimbu
“I will never forget the new friends that I made here. Now I want to visit new countries and continue to learn about my friends’ cultures.” – Maria
5- How much do you love/enjoy your life at KDI School?
“I can say that this season of my life is one of the best times I will have. As of now, I cannot ask for more. I am very happy and loving my current life at KDIS.” – Heinriette
“Hahaha, that is a cute question and also with an obvious answer. My life at KDIS has been ‘love’.” – Somaya
“KDIS has become my home in Korea. It’s a place where I have my family from different parts of world. I love KDIS.” – Nargiza
“Enjoyment?…..I have only been here for a month and so far everything is overwhelming, particularly the workload. In other words, I’m yet to begin enjoying KDIS, and I hope this moment will come sooner than anticipated.” – Ruwimbu
DZYGA, Maria, From Russia, 2019 Fall MPM Students
“I like the area here very much since it is green and close to nature. (I saw a young elk jumping in the bushes earlier today!) Also, it is the perfect place for studying, with a modern library. So I enjoy my life here.” – Maria