Studying abroad is not an easy step to make. Many questions arise at the moment of making this decision: "Will I like my studies?", "Am I ready to live away from my parents?", "Will I be able to adapt?" and many others.

Coming from Latin America, my biggest concern was if I would be able to socialize with people from different cultures. Moreover, I was scared of not being able to adapt to the lifestyle of a country a whole ocean away from my home. However, all these fears faded away in the first month after moving here. I made friends from different parts of the world right away and found myself quite comfortable with living away from home. But not everybody experienced moving to the Netherlands the same way as I did. If I have learned something as an international student, it's that people from different cultures tend to handle situations differently. Therefore, I decided to interview people from different countries about their experience of studying in the Netherlands.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m Dahae Kim and I come from South Korea. I'm 21 years old, well, in Korea I am 22 actually. I'm in the third year of my studies and I am currently an exchange student in the Netherlands.

Why did you decide to come to the Netherlands?

The reason why I decided to come here is that when I was in high school I was thinking of going to a university in another country. I searched on internet and found that the Dutch embassy's blog was promoting studying in the Netherlands. After that I read about the culture and I was fascinated, so I decided to study here.

What was the hardest thing to do when you decided to move from Korea?

The language and the cultural change. When you live somewhere you are used to all the rules, culture and basic things. But when you move to another country you find out that even the basic things are different.

What do you miss the most about South Korea?

Absolutely my parents and sister. Also sometimes my friends.

What do you like the most about studying in the Netherlands?

Maybe it is because I'm an exchange student, I don’t know about the regular programs, but I really enjoy how much free time I have. Because in Korea I have classes every day, for example Mondays from 10am to 7pm, and here I have less class hours.

If you could bring something from South Korea to the Netherlands, what would it be?

I would really like to bring the student clubs, because I grew up used to them. In Korean universities there are a lot of student clubs going on. In the first year I was in the orchestra, the second I joined the tennis club and in the third one - I joined the student association club.

If you could take something from the Netherlands to South Korea, what would it be?

I would take the people’s mentality. Because in Korea everyone is very busy and having pressure about doing something and it's a more competitive society. Whereas here people are very relaxed, working hours are more flexible. For example, my father sometimes has to work from 8am to 9pm or stay all night in the company. I can't imagine this happening here.

If you meet a prospective student from South Korea, what advice would you give them?

Learn how to ride a bike. It is very important, because in Korea is not used as much as here.

Is there anything you would like to say to the prospective students?

One of the things is that when I was in Korea I never considered speaking in English, even if I met international students. But now that I'm here I realized that speaking in my own language can be rude sometimes, even to my colleague students from Korea. Because if there are more people in the conversation then you are the only ones who understand, and you end up isolating yourself.

Next time we'll take a look at the Dutch perspective on studying in the Netherlands with Hedzer Spaans. See you on the next one!


Last modified on: 10-07-2024
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