On the 21st of September, KDI School held its 2020 Spring Admissions Open House. Open House is a quarterly event that seeks to inform the public about the school, its thematic areas of academic interest, its activities and how one can enroll.
At around 10.00 am, the school’s auditorium was buzzing with life and activity as members of the public made their way in. The lobby was nicely laid out with sign-up stations, banners and an organized group of staff and students who were excited to receive visitors. Stations showcased various student clubs and other KDIS administrative bodies including the ASEAN forum, the African Development Forum, KDI Developedia & Development Research, just to name a few. They served to inform the visitors of the myriad activities and resources that KDIS has to offer.
By 10.30 a.m. the auditorium had filled up. The forum was livestreamed as well and was therefore able to reach people in different parts of the world. The event kicked off with a display of the school’s PR video before the Dean, Prof. You, Jong-II graced the stage to give his opening remarks. With an aura of optimism, he reiterated that KDIS is the heart of Sejong city which is now Korea’s center of policy research and government activity. With a diverse student body, a pool of industrious professors and quality graduate programs (all accredited by NASPAA), it was the place to be for anyone interested in shaping policy and contributing to research.
The Associate Dean of Academic & Student Affairs, Prof. Jung Kwon then took over and introduced the school in detail. He narrated the school’s history, its academic and social activities, and partnering institutions before discussing the faculty team.
Perhaps Prof. Han Baran’s story later on was the stimulus that the audience needed at that point in time. One of the reasons why so many people had showed up was to really assess whether they wanted to enroll in a graduate program or not and how this decision would eventually shape their futures. Prof. Han having a background in physics, it was particularly interesting to learn how she had ended up as a professor in the sphere of development and economics. Enrolling at KDI School for Masters of Public Policy some years back had been a great decision. Her days as a graduate student, her office hours as a professor, endless discussions in the hallway, the knowledge exchange in and outside the classrooms, all these have had a significant impact on her, she said. These experiences have shaped her into a better person.
Two students took over the stage later on to give us a glimpse on how exhilarating and eventful life can be at KDI School. Mr. Olabanji Samuel Ogunjobi took us through his student life; the roles he has juggled and how they have molded him. He said that serving as a student reporter, an editor at the writing center and a dormitory assistant has expanded his confidence, made him time-conscious, and imparted in him many other invaluable attributes. The field trips and KDI school events, he said, have offered him an opportunity to bond and have fun with other students. Ms. Yoonjei Michell Dong, a PhD candidate, shared her experience on impact evaluation projects in Myanmar and Cambodia. The hands-on experience she’s had so far with her research has greatly reinforced her understanding of her area of discipline.
Later, the audience dispersed to different rooms for further consultation. At lunch-time, I was able to catch up with one participant Mr. Nan Yoo Kim, a senior year student, at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies majoring in History & International Studies. He was grateful that the forum had offered answers to all the questions he had about KDIS. As a result, he had a more concrete idea of what to do upon admission. After his graduation, he hopes to join KDIS and pursue his MDP.
By LUSEKA, Socrates John (2019 MDP, Kenya)