Seoul National University

Registration for May 24th Meeting Open!!!!

It’s been a while since we have had a regular MMPK meeting, and we are hankering to find something new.  Ask Naver, and you shall receive!  We found this bar […]

Studying in Seoul: An Opportunity of a Lifetime

With a rich and diverse history that stretches back in excess of 2,000 years, the ancient capital city of Seoul lies along the majestic Han River. A dramatic mountainous backdrop, beautiful national parks, and four UNESCO World Heritage Sites contrast beautifully against shimmering skyscrapers, dazzling nightlife areas, and thoroughly modern landmarks. It’s little wonder that so many international students opt to complete at least part of their studies in this vibrant metropolitan area.

Korea: A Low Trust Society?

An interesting article in the Korea Herald recently caught my eye (HT to ROKDrop and William on KBC for posting about it previously). The article featured a lot of mixed themes between trust, lying, legal and cultural points but wading through it does make for an interesting societal discussion. The listed facts and figures can’t really tell the whole story in this situation and while raw numbers have increased, I would present it as evidence of Korea becoming a more litigious society with expanding impersonal ties leading to more accusations.

These Days, at SNU

Life at SNU continues in a moderately good to remarkably good fashion. Since transferring my program in May this year, I've been overall quite satisfied with the work environment.
Recently we passed the dreaded Annual Review (of Doom), handed out each year by our lovely friends at MEST. An entourage of suited males came to inspect our documents, records, and underpant hygiene last month. We passed with flying colours.

And embroidered nylon images of Superman.

Indian Student Community in Korea

Students of Seoul National University have formed a community named Indian Student Association @ Seoul National University – ISA@SNU.

The ISA@SNU is a non-profit organization that aims to create a social network amongst the Indian students community in SNU and to provide them with an opportunity for enjoying typically Indian customs and traditions here in Korea. The association also aims to actively involve in arranging and participating in various cultural activities and events on or off campus through out the year.

A portion of their efforts are directed towards extending a helping hand to new students who are coming from India to pursue their studies in Korea. The purpose of the ISA@SNU is to preserve and increase awareness of Indian and Indo-Korean heritage through cultural, social, and community activities.

WCU Biomodulation GSR Symposium: Part I

Nice surprises might be the conduit through which the mathematical laws of nature remind you that life isn't so bad after all. They also say that luck is where preparation meets opportunity, and so I guess the best philosophy is to always be ready for everything.

Not long ago, I was abruptly asked by my professor "How would you like to go to a science conference in Jeju tomorrow?"
Prior to this disorientating question, it was supposed to be a Friday afternoon in winding-down mode. The conference was due to begin on Saturday.

A New Start

I've been here since January 2009, putting in 70+ hour working weeks while still trying to maintain some semblance of a normal life with Heather. Since joining the lab here, I haven't posted a whole lot of details of the working environment, partly because life here is really tough. I try to keep this little blog as positive as possible, for various reasons, but here will be one exception.
Today I quit my PhD program and packed up all my belongings. Next week I'm beginning a brand new PhD in ovarian cancer research. I've spent a year and 3 months working in the plant bacteriology lab, but it hasn't entirely been a wasted effort.

Se-Kyung's Graduation from SNU

In the title header for this blog it says that I'm 'currently in the midst' of a PhD. Sooner or later I think I'm going to have to update that statement to 'currently somewhere in the mists'. While I realised that it wasn't going to be a walk in the park, the difficulty of studying here has surpassed a lot of my expectations.
Some difficulties arise from the logistical quagmire of modern molecular biology, but most are related to the eccentricities of particular joyless lab colleagues who have perhaps spent too much time inhaling volatile chemicals. My project interests me greatly, but life continues in a surreal kind of personal stalemate, where half of me wants to escape the difficulties and the other half won't let me.

Another Year and What We're Eating

The new year came and went without much ado. I heard a guy on TV recently say "On New Year's Eve, no one really knows what to do apart from stay up late." And for our case at least, I'd have to agree. Heather and I felt like doing something special, but it was really cold and we had to wake up early. So we were fast asleep by 11:30pm, which was the first time I'd slept through the countdown in probably 20 years.

Is this the dawn of our middle-age?


6 Months in Seoul

Six months have passed since I left the familiar surrounds of Busan. The Korean university system is fairly good, but lags noticeably behind the west in a number of ways. As a summary, those ways would be social conservatism, class quality and student freedom. But to make up for these shortcomings, Korean students work incredibly hard. This puts them on par with the quality of research churned out by their western counterparts.
If I were better informed of the conditions here before I came, I may have made a different choice. But I've started now, and quitting is not one of my usual habits.

Perhaps, someday in the distant future, I can be in a position to influence some changes here. For now though, I'll just count my lucky stars and think of myself as fortunate to have even received this opportunity in the first place.

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