Coming home is always a come down. Even after two weeks I had gotten into a nice routine with my fellow CSU Global buddies. Get up, find breakfast, meet with lab buddy, walk to uni (a one-hour walk, but much needed as our days were spent sitting in a lab), head to lab.
Day in the life of a PhD candidate
Each day we did something different in the lab. I am sure for a lot of other students, the work I got to witness was quite basic, but our PhD mentor really took the time to break down what they were doing so that we could truly understand. Whilst I have done a lot of reading research papers for uni, this was the first time I got to understand what the day in the life of the researcher is like. Long hours, testing and re-testing, tedious repetition of one task. I have grown a serious respect for PhD students and researchers alike!
When I look back on it, I realised we managed to cram a whole lot of Korea into a very short trip. Tours of the DMZ, which made me pause and reflect on the state of unrest within our world, and Geunjeongjeon. Getting lost in Namsan Park and somehow managing to climb up to the top twice! An overnight temple stay at the UNESCO World Heritage listed Haeinsa Temple to see the Triptikaka Koreana. Eating my body weight in Kimchi! Taking in a theatre show that combines comedy with traditional martial arts. Spending the evenings wandering market places for the perfect mungbean pancake. Somehow, we managed to fit it all in, and still complete the tasks required to satisfy the subjects we were covering for uni.
I am grateful that I got to undertake a CSU Global experience. I certainly got out of it what I was initially hoping to get. I created and strengthened relationships with fellow students and with a subject lecturer. I gained insight into postgraduate expectations, and questioned my own academic pathway. I got to experience another culture; as a practitioner, this was about understanding food and nutrition, the roles of lifestyle and stress, and exploring the juxtaposition of traditions and moving forward in the modern world. As a global citizen, this opened my eyes to the role that media has on our understanding of current events, and how little we truly know of another culture until you get to be in it.
Would I do it all again? Absolutely. Not only that, but I highly recommend others to do the same. Make 2018 your year to gain some amazing skills, level up your CV, smash an extra course unit, and solidify yourself as a truly globally aware citizen. There are so many opportunities to suit a wide range of interests, depress, time-commitments and financial factors. At this point I would like to take a moment to thank both CSU Global and Dr. Sokcheon Pak for their efforts in getting this program up and running.
My only regret regarding undertaking a CSU Global experience is I wish that I had done it sooner!