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A Bittersweet Memoir at KDI School

21 Nov, 2019 KDIS News Center 2,952

KDI School offers fully-funded scholarships to almost all students from government, enterprise, and civic organizations around the world. The worldwide alumni network has extended to 5,600 alumni from 137 countries.

The 2019 student body is drawn from 72 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, America, and Oceania.

HUO Naihean, Cambodia, 2019 MPM

Among hundreds of international students, HUO Naihean from Cambodia, a student of MPM 2019 Spring semester, came from thousand miles away to KDI School in pursuit of a global platform and quality education to become a future potential leader and develop professionally. Having been exposed to the rich exchange of knowledge and perspectives in the class, she also has built a worldwide network outside the school.

“I want to make my time spent in Korea as my most valuable experience of eleven months.”


“Alone not Lonely”

As the only Cambodian student in Spring 2019, Naihean first found herself struggled, isolated, and sometimes lonely. However, as time passed, she has made friends and adapted herself like an independent woman. She says, “On the first day, I knew no one here. Everything was literally new; the weather, culture, and school system. However, I always said ‘Hello’ to anyone I bumped into at school and dormitory.” Besides active social participation and friendliness, she also makes a lot of friends through her ordinary interests: photography and traveling. “Other best ways to get to know each other more are taking beautiful pictures, traveling together, and connecting people on social media,” says Naihean. Indeed, social media links her daily communication with family and friends around the world.

“Now or Never”

Naihean has always been interested in exploring something new. She actively participates in almost all school activities such as workshops, seminars, and other field trips. Besides her busy academic schedule, Naihean has been working as a KDI School supporter, a dormitory assistant, and a class assistant as well as a member of other student clubs. “Within my scholarship period, I do not have many chances to participate in school activities,” she says. “If I do not participate now, I will never have these chances again since the time passes by without repetition and it does fly so fast,” she continues. Therefore, she always seeks for all possibilities to be as active as possible to have various experiences during her stay in Korea, exchanging learning with other international students. She says, “Academic things are important, yet we should not underestimate other extra-curricular activities that enable us to learn more about life with beautiful experiences.”

“Continue or Cancel”

The tons of assignments including the sense of homesickness and loneliness are big challenges that international students have confronted with. “Once I remember, during the national holiday in my country, it was my final exam period. My family sent a family reunion photo to me and I burst into tears because that was my first time being away from home during that happy time,” she emotionally narrates.

Her scholarship requirement is to complete 39 credits within 4 semesters, but she is required to stay only eleven months at KDI School. Like other students, she has to spend time days and nights at the library to do her assignments and research papers. “It was so struggling to adapt to the new school system. In Cambodia, the night class finishes at 8:30 PM, but in Korea, it finishes at 10:30 PM. Sometimes, we have a group discussion between mid-night to 4 o’clock in the morning and sometimes we stay awake overnight at the library,” she says.

Many people keep asking her, “How do you manage your time?”

“Eventually, I am multitasking. Because the deadlines of distinct subjects are running on, I have to simultaneously do the work,” she says. “The most important thing is a ‘to do’ list. Listing down all the tasks with the specific deadlines and descriptions helps me prioritize the most focused ones,” she emphasizes.

Having overcome these challenges, she is finally able to complete the course requirements and will be having her completion ceremony on December 06, 2019.

“Challenge and Change”

“Inside the challenges, there are opportunities,” says Naihean. She believes that the hard work we are doing today will bring good results tomorrow. “The challenges I have tackled have taught me to become stronger and more independent,” she says.

“You are the busiest girl,” the phrase that her friends use to keep teasing her. She admits that she likes keeping herself busy, not only here but also when she was at undergraduate schools. She says, “During my bachelor’s, I voluntarily worked for many organizations, universities, and youth teams. Those social activities have provided me with multiple experiences, multi-cultural understanding, and other soft skills that turned out to be helpful in my professional life.”

She would not have passed through hardships without other physical and mental supports.

“I would like to express my profound gratitude to KDI School for providing me with this golden opportunity, my family for always supporting me from the distance, and my KDI School friends for always being there for me – creating bittersweet memories together,” she thankfully says.

This is her first time pursuing a higher degree abroad and it is extremely fruitful for her ongoing academic and professional journeys. She proudly says, “The quality education at KDI School has changed my life to become more professional and insightful with global perspectives and worldwide networks.” She is confident that after KDI School, she will be more competent to become a professional educator who can contribute to the improvement of the education system worldwide, especially in Cambodia.