I am just an ordinary girl that ever dreamed and is still dreaming to gain more experiences in this one country famous for its K-POP or K-DRAMA. Though the more I get to know this country, I’m getting interested more to its culture and custom. My name is Tazkiyyah Nafs El Hawwa, batch 2014 of IPIEF, and this is a bit of my story.

My interest in South Korea has begun since I was in junior high school. It’s even still hard to believe that some years since then, I’m able to make it comes true. I’m so grateful that Allah gave me precious opportunity through my department, International Program for Islamic Economics and Finance (IPIEF) Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta, to study in Sun Moon University, South Korea, for the period of August until December 2016.

This exchange program to Sun Moon University, South Korea, allowed me to study both regular subjects and culture. In a day, I was given an opportunity to study Korean language in the morning then continued with regular economic related subjects. I met great lecturers who taught me in regular class and received new knowledge from them. We were able to share our knowledge and had discussion together with Korean and foreign friends. Also, I will never forget my Korean language teachers, who taught me Korean language with patient and fun way of learning. I want to deliver a lot of gratitude to my teachers, so that I could learn and am able to have conversation in Korean language. In Korean language class, all students come from outside South Korea to learn Korean language, either for study purpose, work, or other reasons. One thing that I found it interesting was, even though we came from different countries and we have English as international language, but in Korean language class we were told to have conversation in Korean language. It did not matter if we could not speak fluently yet, but we must practice in order to improve our skill.

One of my favorite things about this exchange program is, we as exchange students, were given a lot of opportunities to learn about Korean culture. I still remember clearly when I joined the celebration of Korean Thanksgiving Day, which is one of the big days in South Korea. We were invited to know more about Korean people tradition on that day, such as making traditional food, wearing traditional clothes which is called Hanbok, and playing traditional games. There was also Cultural Trip special for exchange students to Seoul, which is the capital city of South Korea, where we visited one famous icon of Korea, Gyeongbokgung Palace. There were two events held for autumn season special, which were sport day and cooking class. Both of the events allowed us to get closer with our friends and learn about teamwork.

This is also my other favorite thing. Being in a non-Muslim country, make us as Muslims become minority people and make us wonder how people there may treat us. But, surprisingly, I didn’t feel any inconvenience for being a Muslim in South Korea, especially in Sun Moon University. By having Mushola in their campus, Sun Moon University showed more than enough respect to Muslim. Even, there were some students interested to learn about Islam and Muslim, and they made kind of a club called Arabian Night which always invited Muslim in their activities. In one of big days for Muslim, Eid al-Adha, they held special BBQ party for Muslim students and they made sure that all of the foods were Halal. In this event, together with my Indonesian friends there, we were told to cook and serve Indonesian food, so we together made Opor Ayam. Arabian Night Club also held welcoming party, holiday trip, and farewell party special for Muslim students. I, as a Muslim and minority in Sun Moon University, had received much respect as a Muslim that I did not imagine before.

Talking about my days being an exchange student in Sun Moon University might be a really long story to tell. I experienced and learnt a lot of things than I expected, and I believe that I would not obtain those experiences in Indonesia. I’m always grateful that Allah gave me such a tremendous opportunity to join exchange student program there. I even might not realize how happy I was for being there. Despite of what I should sacrifice on my study in Indonesia to get me into this exchange program, I do not have any regret about it because I have gained such a great experience that I even cannot tell how great it is. One of great things for me was I got to see the first snow that I have waited for. Any kind of things I experienced there is precious and those time is unforgettable.

네 꿈을 믿어라, 그 꿈은 결코 너를 배신하지 않을 거야.

Believe in your dream, and it will never betray you.

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