Well what can I say? I didn’t think that I’d be writing this entry in April considering how brilliant my plans had all looked from the shiny perspective of hope at the top of a new year. But I guess everything happens for a reason, and the reason for this happening is still unknown to me, but I’m sure will reveal itself in due course.
You’re probably asking ‘what the hell is he going on about now?’ Well to be honest rather than having to repeat myself over and over again to everyone who asks, I’m just gonna post it on here now and leave it. If anyone asks me again, I’m going to refer them to my blog dated April 11th 2012.
Yes I made a big fuss about coming to a foreign country like Korea, settling down, establishing myself, setting up an academic future here. Yes, I went to Seoul National University for a semester and carved up, but no, I will not be graduating from here. And no, it’s not because I couldn’t handle the academic rigour of an Asian institution. The reason is rather innocuous and quite boring actually. I ran out of money.
At the beginning of my studies I had a plan all worked out. I would work, save and pay as I went. However a couple of things didn’t fall my way. The first was the timing of my corneal transplant. I am extremely grateful and will forever be indebted to the donor for their amazingly selfless contribution, and to all the wonderful staff at Seoul National University Hospital for the top notch medical care. But the three operations that I had to have during Winter set me back financially severely. I knew it would be tight, but I thought that considering how stupendously high my first semester grades were (I scored a GPA of 4.22 out of 4.30) I thought that I would at least get some amount of support from the University. With this help and some tight budgeting, I thought I could do it.
But that was the second thing that didn’t fall my way. I didn’t receive any support from the University. As a foreign student, I was locked out of most of the scholarships as I am a New Zealand citizen. They only had three scholarships available to students in my grad school in my predicament. And they allocated the scholarships on a quota basis, one per major. I received the second highest grades in the entire school. Only one person scored higher than me, and that person was in the same major as me. So the other two scholarships went to two people in other majors who had lower grades.
I was devastated by this news originally, and a friend and I went to talk to the assistant Dean about the situation. This friend was also relying heavily on getting a scholarship, so he too was in a tough situation. The Dean said he would see what he could do. A week later, that friend got an email from the school saying they had found a scholarship for him. I didn’t receive any correspondence whatsoever.
Despite scoring higher grades than him, and despite having a corneal transplant, and having severe medical issues over the break, the University judged that he had more financial need than me. They based this on the fact that he had submitted more documents than I had. And apparently they only received one scholarship at the last minute. Why they didn’t think to split the scholarship was beyond me. My friend who received the scholarship tried to offer me half. I was insulted, and later on I was insulted when he lied to me and said that he didn’t receive the money. He was trying to make me feel better, (unbeknown to him he had already messaged me the day he received the email and said that the money was in his account)
This time I was enraged and had a huge go at the University about it. The assistant Dean and I had a meeting and he promised to see what he could do to find me help. In the meantime I would apply to have my fees split up over four installment rounds. I was able to borrow money from a friend to pay for the first round, but the next round is coming up next week, and well unfortunately, I don’t have enough to cover it. And that’s the end. I haven’t heard back from the assistant Dean, and to be honest, I’m sick of all the fighting and the stress this whole situation has caused.
I’m so disappointed at how the University went about the whole process, I was given so much incorrect information and there were so many inconsistencies in their explanations. I felt like there was no real desire to help me. The assistant Dean said that he was keen to keep me at the institution because of how well I did last semester, but the actions the University took (or lack thereof) has led me to the conclusion that this was mere lip service.
But the dream was never just to go to Seoul National University like every Korean dreams and busts their balls over, mine has always been to continue my Post-graduate studies. It just means that it was not meant to be here. This situation coupled with the rough experiences I have been having lately with the entire Korean population and society it seems; has shown me that it is time to move on. And I have a new plan set in motion.
After talking to my Mother yesterday, it has been decided that I will move back to New Zealand in February next year and recommence my studies at a University there. I’m hoping the University of Auckland will take me again And to be honest, the dream isn’t over, it’s just taken a new direction. One that will take me full circle. To the place where it all began. So I’m excited about the opportunity to come home. I’m going to work full time till then, save as much money as I can so I don’t have to take out a student loan when I get back, put my head down and study like theres no tomorrow.
So there you have it. That’s how my Korean love affair come to a crashing end after nearly four years of living here. To be honest I’m sad that it’s happened like this, but I’ve come to accept that my days in Korea are well and truly numbered.