Maurits van Mook
1st of February 2016 till 16th of May 2016
My internship started with a visit to Gerrit Peters to discuss what the possibilities were for going abroad. I had expected some known projects and destinations, but instead I was presented with the question what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. I was not fully prepared for this question, but I knew that I did not want to go to a western country. Korea seemed to be a good option for it is a pretty advanced economy while still having it's own culture.
Through Patrick Anderson I ended up in the group of Professor Ahn at Seoul National University, along with about 20 Korean students and PhD's. I was going to be working on a project involving nano-composites and housing would be arranged by one of the students in the group. When I arrived in Seoul I was shown my room by 3 students after having lunch and the first introductions. The room was a small studio, located withing walking distance from the campus. I was going to stay there from February 1st till May 16th, 2016. Unfortunately the mixer in the lab turned out to be out of order and repairing it kept on taking longer. Eventually I settled on doing a simple project with iPP, because there was not enough time left to do a proper project.
The project is the only regret I have, but I would do it all over again if I had to. I enjoyed my stay in Korea very much. I arrived in early February just in time for Korean New Year, for which I was invited to join the family of the girlfriend of one of my fellow students. They were a more traditional family and this was really a crash course in Korean culture and tradition for me and the lack of English made it a challenge. Hiking in the mountain is a apparently a national sport in Korea which I enjoyed in the weekends and on the weekdays I sometimes visited Starcraft II matches, because eSports are also a big thing in South-Korea. The Korean food I also really liked, because it ranged from Korean BBQ to fresh baby octopus. Even the food at SNU was nice and I still miss those lunches.
South Korea is a country I really enjoyed exploring and I'm sure I'm not finished yet.