Welcome to the blog PKNU PEEPs – Incredible India!… specifically Kerala. These 4 are some of the first people I met here have quickly become a part of the strong friendship group that I have been fortunate enough to participate in during my time here at PKNU. It’s really no secret how much I am drawn to this spectacular and vibrant country and these people have made that draw all the more strong. I look forward to seeing them all in the years to come as I travel around this dynamic country and ultimately head to Kerala.
I remember the day I met them all, it was the orientation day for International Students Albin and Prince were standing together and Lisa was chatting with others in our group… and Justus was standing around taking photos of everyone… So naturally I took one of him in action.
I was introduced to these four brilliant and proud people on that day but it wasn’t until we began hanging out that I really got to know them. There is such a sense of fun about them and the way we banter with each other as a group.
This PEEPS interview is a bit longer obviously because it has 4 people but it still follows the format. I will introduce each of them separately throughout the questions. I hope you enjoy this long, but entertaining blogpost.
We went to the local Indian restaurant Otsal which is a small taste from home for the guys. The cuisine is not quite the same but we’re not in India and apparently it is pretty close. Singing along to the traditional music in the restaurant was how we set the tone and it was a colourful and fantastic day where we reflected on our own experiences, the cultural shifts we’re noticing and our dependence on technology.
- What university do you attend?
Albin: “Raja Giri Business School Raja means King, Giri means mountain”
What about you Lisa, where do you study?
Prince: “All the same…”
Lisa: “All from the same University, same college, same batch, same class *laughs*. [Albin] sits in the front row.. yeah it’s alphabetical”
Albin: “I hate the front row” *laughs*
- What is your major & what year are you?
Albin: “My major is Business Administration, Masters, 1st year”
Lisa: “All of us”
And what does that entail, I know you’re ALL postgraduate yeah?
Albin: “Yes, Doing Masters”.. “[Prince & I] we finished our Engineering, I’m a Mechanical Engineer and [Prince] is an Electronics Engineer”
Ahh, So Prince, you’re the one I need to talk to about my laptop? *laughs*
What about you Justus, what was your first specialisation?
Justus: “Bachelors of Commerce”
Lisa: “I did, Bachelors of Science, but in Hospitality and Hotel Management”
- What is your country/culture like?
Note: I missed this question with these guys, the food was just that good. In the coming days I will probably edit this post with an update… but we have exams coming at the moment so there is no rush.
- How long will you be/have you been on exchange?
Albin: “One semester, we all go back at the end of June, June 24th”
- Why did you choose Korea?
Justus: “We had three options, Germany, Italy and then Korea. Something happened in the decision making process and I got Korea”
Right, so it wasn’t your first choice?
Justus: “No. I wasn’t sure, I had doubts, I didn’t have any mind of going to Korea so I wasn’t prepared. But I asked my seniors who said it was very good and a cheap place to live & study” … “I feel happy now being here, meeting different people… it is totally different”
Was that the same for all of you?
Albin: “No, I had chosen Germany and then if I didn’t get that I was going to stay in Kerala and do my semester there. But [Prince] spoke to me…”
Prince: “…I wanted to go to Thailand…”
Albin: “… yes and he came to me one day and spoke to me about it”
Prince: “I took him to one of my seniors, who had come here last year, and after hearing from him for some time…”
Albin: “… so I chose to come here and I am very happy”
Lisa, what about you?
Lisa: “I was fixed, our seniors had presented about this thing here and after they came back from Korea they had this presentation so I had my eyes on Korea from that time on. I wanted to go out, I wanted to see the world outside. And they said that Pukyong would be the best.”
So PKNU was given to you as the best option?
Prince: “Yes, our seniors said you will meet more international students here and it will be very good because it is a national university”
- How is Korea different to your home country?
Lisa: “Oh very different”
Prince: “…We cannot kiss in public but we can piss in public.. it’s not my own quote…” *so much laughing*
NB: Prince references the interwebs for that quote
Lisa: “Even for girls who get out at night it’s not possible in India. I’m so happy I’m here because I can actually have a social life. I can go out anytime, come back anytime, no restriction. But in India, I can’t do that”
Prince: “After 8’oclock you can’t find a girl [in India]”
Albin: “They just stay in the house”
Why is that?
Lisa: “My parents won’t let me go out… it’s a little risky”
So Korea is safer?
Lisa: “Yes, it’s safer in Korea. But in our hometown it’s not really that bad, it’s very good for girls, it is other parts of India”
What about you Justus?
Justus: “Same reasons. Also, when you compare India with Korea, Korea is obviously a more developed country. In India, we are still developing…[India] only just starting to promote our own companies now and moving forward with Digital India and Make in India” … “the other thing, they have these open gyms all around… fitness.”
Yeah, What do you think about all of that? Do you see it as a promotion of keeping yourself agile so you can be ‘agile’?
Justus: “Yes, I think it’s the best idea you could implement in a country like this. Back in India, after 50-60, people tend to stay at home, they don’t go anywhere else and work” … “here they seem to work longer. It’s all about the culture, they are very hardworking and driven”
Prince: “We don’t have pubs and clubs in India and the ones we do have aren’t like this, Ghetto was my first club here…”
Albin: “…me too”
Prince: “…I’m going to be very sad when I have to go home, I love dancing in the clubs, and in Busan this was the best Holi I’ve had”
- What do you miss from home?
Lisa: “OOH… OOOOOH”
Albin: “My mums food..”
Lisa: “Same here, traditional dishes of India”
Prince: “I miss everything… not so much the food, just miss India”
Justus: “I just miss the food”
- What is your favourite thing about Korea?
Prince: “The people, The attitude of the people…”
Albin: “…The people, I love the people here. The way the help us, really!… they don’t hesitate to help you, they’re really kind”
Lisa: “I still remember my first day when I came here. I didn’t know where to go. I was waiting for these people *gestures around the table*. There was this one girl, who didn’t speak English, and another guy who was just walking, he saw me and he came to me and said “Is there anything I can do to help” and I felt so WOW”
Justus: “They are so respectful”
- How has Korea changed you (if at all)?
Prince: “I’m thinking”
Albin: “I’m learning so much, learning to talk to other people. Lots of foreigners here to interact with that I’ve learned so much. But I haven’t really changed… I’m still the same”
Prince: “…and a few table etiquette ideas, we have been asking others like the Moroccans and French about this… and I went bungee jumping… It was amazing!”
Justus: “I think it has… Manners and showing respect”
It’s not just implied respect or manners now you say it?
Justus: “Yes, more emotionally aware”
Lisa: “For me, personally, it has been a great self discovery. Before I came I was just existing, but now it’s a more meaningful journey. I know who is important to me and who isn’t I have had time to reflect on things” … “and realising that no matter what happens, we are acting as ambassadors for India here”
- What challenges have you experienced?
Albin: “The language, I still can’t manage the language, I find it quite tough”
Lisa: “Getting up early in the morning, morning doesn’t feel like morning here. Not so much the language”
Albin: “Ah yeah… sleeping” *laugh* “that’s a challenge for me”
Prince: “This might sound weird, but keeping in touch with my girlfriend… long distance relationship, time difference is hard but it’s been good”
Justus: “dealing with the prejudice that I have faced, here they see colour, (Justus has had a couple of experiences here that have made him aware of his difference to the locals and it has been awkward) and getting around the language barrier was a bit hard but is ok”
- What advice would you give to Foreign Students thinking of studying in Korea?
Albin: “I’m planning on telling them specific things about adapters, don’t skip classes and places to go but they have to experience it themselves”
Lisa: “I was never interested in learning the language but came here anyway… and bring things like a sari with them too”
Prince: “we are going to tell them to bring cultural things with them, and bring coins or notes to trade with people”
Justus: “get cash from home and enjoy your life over here, do Korean class back in India before you come”
It’s been such a pleasure and I cannot wait to go to Kerala and visit the beautiful place where you all live. Thank you guys for a wonderful semester.
I’ll finish this post with a reflection from Albin that the world is becoming a much smaller place and while each country has their own differences culturally, with this generation (around the world) it is almost becoming one big culture.. a global culture.