마스트리흐트대학교

OTS 2012-2013 장학생 김보현

Maastricht University에서 MSc. European Studies 과정을 공부하고 있는 김보현님의 이야기 입니다.

Q1. How did you get to know about OTS?

I got to know the Orange Tulip Scholarship program while searching for a proper Master’s study program in European Studies. I found out that Maastricht University has a great reputation for European Studies in all over Europe. Finally, I concluded to apply to the Maastricht-Cologne Double Degree program in order to get as various opportunities as possible while studying in the two different European cities, Maastricht in the Netherlands and Cologne in Germany. At that time, I also got informed from the university webpage that Maastricht University is joining the Orange Tulip Scholarship for South Korean students and decided to apply to OTS program as well. After hard preparation, I gained both the study place at Maastricht University and the scholarship. Moreover, Maastricht University decided exceptionally for me to offer scholarship for the whole two years of my study if I continue my second year of study at Maastricht University. Even though I decided to go to Cologne for the second year, I was really thankful for the decision of Maastricht University scholarship committee.

Q2. Why do you think you were successful in gaining the scholarship?

I suppose the most crucial element of mine to win the OTS scholarship was my passion toward European Studies. My previous experiences related to Europe stimulated my academic interest in European integration, such as one-year exchange student program in Germany and an internship program of the Delegation of the European Union to Republic of Korea. I have always dreamed of becoming European specialist who can contribute to closer linkage of Europe and Korea in the future. With such earnest interest, I have always been opened to learn the European way of thinking and living, which can be explained as independent, individual, and at the same time totally different from that of Asian including Korean. In the sense that having the two different perspectives is really demanding, I think my passion and open-mind to learn European politics would be evaluated high for gaining the OTS scholarship.

Q3. Why would you advise other students to study in Holland?

I would like to recommend to study in the Netherlands especially to who wants to learn independence and tolerance of Europe which are necessary to live in the global world these days. Situated in the heart of Europe, the Netherlands emphasizes the two representative European values more than the other European countries. Moreover, independence and tolerance are not only the basic principles of individual EU citizens, but also the driving mottos of democracy and European integration. For example, in Dutch education system, students are the main agents during group discussion required to express and define their opinions on a certain topic in a very clear way. They conduct their academic papers from the beginning to the end totally independent on supervisors, although they are still Bachelor or Master students. Professors give just some fundamental guidelines and supervise the students at a basic level. Moreover, in particular at Maastricht University, its international background with lots of students from various countries provides them to cultivate tolerance for understanding other different opinions based on national, cultural backgrounds from others.

Q4. How is your experience of studying and living in the Netherlands?

To be frank, it is not easy to study in the Netherlands as a Korean especially when it comes to European Studies, the study field thoroughly originated from the European mind and perspectives. Sometimes, not only lingual but also cultural misunderstandings are very challenging for me to overcome in spite of my personal interests to the European culture. Nonetheless, I have never regretted my decision to come to the Netherlands for my study because I feel everyday broadening my perspectives and overcoming my own limitations, which I could not easily experience if I were in Korea. While spending spare time cooking and having fun together with my fellow students from Germany, Belgium, Bulgaria and the Netherlands, I get much more opportunities to overcome lingual and cultural barriers. This really helps to adjust myself to living in the Netherlands. I play a role to introduce Korean culture mostly with Korean style foods to other friends as the sole Korean student in my class. I feel glad when my fellow students accept my culture openly and really enjoy Korean foods.

Due to the unique geographical region of Maastricht situated closer to Germany on eastside and Belgium on westside than to other representative cities of Holland such as Amsterdam, students of Maastricht University can travel many different European cities very easily. Likewise, I personally go to Brussels very often for searching internships or many other official events related to my study field, since European institutions and important EU related organizations are situated in Brussels. Maastricht is a very special and attractive city of the Netherlands where you can experience not only in the Netherlands but also many other countries at the same time.

Q5. Do you have any episodes and anecdotes you like to share Korean students?

I cannot explain one certain episode during my study in Holland because most of them are trivial but related to the similar reason to happen. What I want to advise to Korean students is “be confident and express your opinions directly.” Korean itself is very indirect language and when we speak, we are familiar with mentioning conclusions at the end after considering others’ opinions for the reason of courtesy and modesty by nature. These cultural elements, however, cause sometimes serious misunderstanding while giving impression of Korean who does not have his or her own opinion and never knows what he or she really wants. For example, let’s say you are discussing with your fellow students whether to go travel together to London or not. If you would like to join, then say yes, if you not, then just say no without hesitation at the discussion. If you do not know whether you can go travel or not, then just say that you cannot decide it yet because of your personal reason. I realized recently that I sometimes disturbed other students when we made such decision together, hesitating to say something clearly as I did in Korea, which is just a form of politeness to others in my country.

last modified Nov 06, 2015 06:59 AM