So! What about me? Why did I choose to apply to a foreign scholarship? Why more specially South Korea?
I actually starting learning korean when I was in high school. At that time I regularly met a korean teacher and she was the one that introduced me to KGSP. I had many hopes once at the university. I really wanted to study abroad, in fact I have always wanted to do so. But then I realized that would not be possible because it was too expensive 😦
So I juste stayed in France, watching my friends going abroad and hoping that one day it would be my turn.
I graduated years after years without forgetting KGSP. To me, it was the only opportunity to study abroad so I kept it in mind. I almost applied for a master’s degree via KGSP but I changed my mind. I didn’t feel ready and I though it was better to have a french master degree before starting anything abroad (yeah I have no confidence on myself so it was a security).
I ended applying for a doctoral’s degree, approximatively 6/7 years after discovering KGSP. It means that during these years I get prepared. I knew exactly the prerequisites so I prepared my application. KGSP want good grades? I achieved that. They want language certification? I improved my korean and english skills.
Some people asked me how I was accepted in 3 top-universities (Yonsei, Hanyang and KAIST). My answer is quite easy: I was well prepared. It is the result of several years of preparation, there is no luck in it.
So, how was my application process?
1/ Starting january I started working on the universities list given by KGSP: University Information(English). For almost each university available by KGSP I went to the website to look for courses and so on. So I made a list of universities that offer interesting degrees.
2/ Once I had the universities list, I contacted korean teacher affiliated to these universities. As I applied to a doctoral degree in biotechnology, it means that I will need to do a thesis in a laboratory. I wanted to make sure to have a thesis topic I am interested in. So I sent approximatively 10 different emails. In each of them I provided university transcripts, my resume, several letters of recommendation, and a motivation letter to explain how work KGSP. Out of that I get 4 answers and there were all positives. I was so happy!!! I got 2 positive answer from KAIST laboratories and 2 from Hanyang laboratories. That is why I have chosen to apply to these 2 universities. As my third choice I picked Yonsei because there were several laboratories I was interested in (but none answered to my emails).
3/ I don’t know how many students applied to KGSP in France. They said that they have approximatively 10 applications each year. And I was selected by the french embassy to get the interview. It was a really short skype conversation. Something like 10 minutes. There were 4 people behind the screen, 2 french people and 2 koreans. They asked me to introduce myself in korean (but it was not mandatory). Then all the questions they asked were based on my motivation letter and they wanted to make sure that I knew well the KGSP process. For me, there was no difficult question. Most of time I repeat what I wrote. I guess it depends on the study field. In my case, I don’t think they had a lot to ask about biotechnology or bioengineering. I heard that people applying for political, historical or literature degree may have harder questions. Warning! One of the contestant had to make the full interview in korean as she wrote her motivation letter in korean. They were actually disappointed by her speaking skill and in the end she did not make it. So be careful, do not try to be perfect or to lie to them.
4/ Then, I successfully passed the NIIED selection (nothing to do beside waiting XD).
5/ After that, my application was sent to the 3 universities. I was scared to get an interview….but I didn’t not get one. Very quickly Hanyang and Yonsei sent their results and for both I was accepted! I was so happy! I mean, being accepted by at least one mean that you basically have the scholarship. Once the deadline, we have something like 1 week to send our final university choice to NIIED. In my case, I did not receive any answer from KAIST while other contestants get theirs. I sent several emails to the university….I finally get something from NIIED the day before the final choice. I have been chosen by KAIST as their successful applicants.
SO…..what is my final choice?
Everyone around me advised me to accept either Yonsei or KAIST because they are better ranked than Hanyang. For instance KAIST is the best science university in South Korea. But I ended choosing Hanyang^^
From the beginning I was not interested by Yonsei as I did not get any answer from any researchers there. And as for KAIST, despite being the better university in korean, it is not located in Seoul so that annoys me a little. Beside that, it was really hard for me to contact the administration. Compared to that, I already had several conversations with Hanyang researchers and its administration always answered to my emails in less than 24 hours. Even better, at KAIST I would have registered for a natural sciences degree. In Hanyang, I registered for a bioengineering degree : new topics and news courses. And even more interesting I had the confirmation that most of Hanyang courses would be in english.
6/ Once I have chosen Hanyang Uni, I had to take the medical examination. That is not the best part of the application but it is still mandatory. I advise you not to lose time on that: some analysis may take some time.
7/ And here is the final result:
I would have like to be assigned in Busan for the Language Institution but I get Chosun University at Gwangju. It was on my top-list so I was still happy. I heard that for instance Konyang Uni is terrible and I avoided it 🙂 In my motivation letter I wrote down the cities I visited during my trip in Korea and Gwangju was not part of them so that may be one of the reason explaining this attribution.
8/ Then you need to apply for the VISA: D4 if you start with the language year or D2 if you directly start your degree. It can take a lot of time depending on the country and the period of application. I personnaly got it in only 1 week but some were worried to not receive it before the departure.
9/ At the end of july we received our flight ticket by NIIED. I personnaly choose to let NIIED handle the plane ticket. Some decided to buy their plane ticket themselves, that is a good idea to consider. For instance, some have chosen to take airlines companies that allow 2 checked baggages. As for NIIED they will give you plane ticket from Asiana Airlines or Korean Air. Depending on the reservation you may have a 32kg checked baggage instead of 23kg but you need to call the company to have this information.
10/ During july, the coordinator of Chosun University contacted us several times to organize the pick-up at the airport, to choose our dormitory and so on.
And here I am D-1 before the departure!