With Korea seeking to broaden its global appeal, there are a variety of areas aimed at sharing knowledge with people from abroad. One such option is through scholarships.
Student Frank Tokam from Douala, Cameroon, has been a part of the Korea Development Institute (KDI) School of Public Policy and Management, a think tank that was created in the 1970s to provide the government with policy recommendations and guidance based on in-depth analyzes of international and domestic economic conditions.
Having grown up in the West African country with "summer all the time," studied in the Ukraine and worked in trade in China, Tokam spoke with The Korea Times about his studies in Korea and the role of the KDI.
Q: What are you studying?
A: I study public policy and my area of specialization is private sector development.
Q: Why did you choose Korea?
A: I heard about Korea and KDI through two of my friends who themselves studied in Korea. I was granted a scholarship by the KDI School.
Q: How is this working out?
A: KDI decided to share the Korean experience with the developing world and that's how the KDI School came to exist. So they give scholarships to government officials, students, from all over the world, well the developing world mainly.
Q: How is life as a foreign student in Seoul?
A: As a foreign student in general, and a student of KDI it's an amazing journey, although very demanding. There's a lot of pressure so much to do in a very small period of time. But the experience is worth it. I get to meet people from places I never would have imagined.
Q: How do your Korean peers treat you?
A: So far I haven't really had the time to experience life with Koreans, being surrounded by mostly foreigners like myself. But broadly speaking everything is fine.
Q: What was your first experience of being a foreigner in Korea?
A: The food is definitely different, I'm still trying to get used to kimchi. I'm not new to Asia so I had a certain idea of what it will look like and my own misconceptions as well, but being here definitely proved me wrong. Seoul itself is great I mean just take a random walk by night.
Q: What advice would you give to other foreigners wanting to study in Korea?
A: To any foreigner I'll just say come, the place is safe, beautiful, charming, welcoming. Yeah, especially to my fellow Africans who want to come study it will be such a contribution to developing the African continent, to have more Africans. Learn about the place before coming to avoid big cultural shock, but come.