I came from Azerbaijan as a national scholarship student two years and eight months ago. The Korean Embassy in Azerbaijan is in charge of the student scholarship program and selects one student every year. I chose Hanyang University because it is situated in Seoul, which is the capital of Korea and is famous for its College of Engineering. There was no reasonable place I could learn Korean in my country so I came to Korea and learned Korean in Keimyung University which is located in Daegu.
When I arrived in Seoul, I achieved a lot by participating in activities that welcomed foreign students. For example, through classes offered by the Korea Foundation East Asia Institute, I learned about Korea’s politics, education, society, history and so on. Also, through the Cross Cultural Awareness Program provided by the Korean National Federation of UNESCO Clubs & Associations, I was able to introduce Azerbaijan to Korean students. Thanks to the programs that I joined, it was possible for me to make friends with Korean students as well as foreign students.
I am currently participating in the Global Student Mentoring Forum, which is a program one of the professors at Hanyang University introduced to me. It is aimed at foreign students and I was chosen as the representative of Hanyang University. I was promised employment information about various companies such as Lotte, AhnLab, Samsung, and so on.
I learned a lot about Korea through different kinds of programs and based on these experiences, I am now working as the only-foreign mentor in Hanmille at Hanyang University, a program where mentors introduce Korea to foreign students who came to Korea. I have some friends who believe the joke that I am really a Korean.
All my friends ask me how I learned Korean so fast. I think it is because of the part-time jobs that I did. As a foreigner, there are not many opportunities to do part-time jobs. In my case, however, I was lucky and found a good opportunity to sell Turkish ice cream and kebab. I had to keep speaking in Korean with the customers while working and my Korean improved rapidly during this time.
What I think is special about studying at Hanyang University is that everybody does all the work together. When I was in Azerbaijan, I mostly studied by myself, not with other students. However, I found out that working together as a team is an important part of the academic studies at Hanyang University. Now I know how fun it is to study with other students through team activities and I try to enjoy doing assignments with my friends although it is sometimes challenging.
In the future, I want to establish a company that contributes to positive interactions between Korea and Azerbaijan. I heard that ocean vessels made in Korea are the world’s number one. On the contrary, even though Azerbaijan is adjacent to the Caspian Sea, the shipbuilding technology is insufficient. I want to learn about the Korean shipbuilding industry and introduce it to Azerbaijan.