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Pandemic Learnings and Hopes

  • Date 2022-03-25 05:31
  • CategoryStory
  • Hit356

Three years into the pandemic, students at KDI School have had to build resilience and fortitude to adapt their learning to the New Normal. Some students share with us their highs, lows, and experiences and what they look forward to in the hopefully not so distant future.

MDP Candidate Sang Eun Lee (Spring 2021 from South Korea) shares her highs and lows of being a student during these unprecedented times.



Sang Eun Lee, 2021 MDP, Korea


While being on Zoom has helped me in being able to participate more in class, equally the biggest challenge has been the missed opportunities to communicate in person outside the classroom. Zoom does not really allow for one to build authentic connections and interactions as we all log off when the class is over, and we can’t meet to have chats and initiate small chats that allow relationships to form. The first semester was particularly difficult as I did not know anyone prior to coming to KDIS, and there was no opportunity to meet people through offline activities, so the experience was isolating at the beginning. When things subside, I look forward to enjoying cultural food sharing events, meeting with students, and exploring South Korea with international students.

PhD Candidate Lusekelo George Mwandondwa (Spring 2021 from Tanzania) shares his insights in learning and his hopes for when things open up in South Korea. He is currently in his second year of the three-year full-time program.



Lusekelo George Mwandondwa, 2021 DP, Tanzania


When I came, we primarily did classes online and had very little experience with offline classes for safety precautions and we used several online tools to facilitate our learning. However, this has not impacted my learning experience as there is a lot of opportunity to interact with staff, faculty, and students outside the classroom. Because there are a handful of students doing their PhD, there is comradery and collaborative learning with ample opportunity to share knowledge especially when doing the more challenging economics courses. It has been easier to manage as we have been working together since the beginning.

However, I’m looking forward to being able to travel because the pandemic has limited my experience of enjoying Korean culture because you are constricted in a sense. Being a PhD student, a lot of my work focuses on research and independent study. I would have loved to spend some weeks working and researching in different parts of Korea as I have always enjoyed exploring and traveling to new places while I work.

MDP Candidate Kemal Rasyad (Fall 2021 from Indonesia) shares how he has adapted learning and his bucket list.



Kemal Rasyad, 2021 MPP, Indonesia


While learning online has been an adjustment, it has not been as difficult as I thought as it has allowed me to be an active learner. Zoom classes allow me to interact with the material more intentionally as I can work, question, and engage with material in real time on my laptop. I look forward to being able to do the same thing once we return to the classroom as I have never enjoyed learning where I''m not actively engaging and applying my skills. I also look forward to being able to consult with professors in person instead of being remote. Consultation is important considering that I''m at the beginning stages of writing my thesis and being able to engage with people, see their reactions, and body language helps in building relationships. Online learning works but only to a point; I’m looking forward to finally having physical interactions with my professors and supervisors.

MDP Candidate Kevin Oluch Ochieng (Spring 2022 from Kenya) shares how the transition has been and his hopes for his time in South Korea as a student.



Kevin Oluoch Ochieng, 2022 MDP, Kenya


I have arrived right amid online learning, and this has definitely felt like being on the short end of the stick considering the arduous process of coming to South Korea only to be online for most of my first semester. As we are working online, it has been difficult to manage with the onslaught of emails and work we do online as I would describe myself as more geared towards social interactions. So, I am most looking forward to finally enjoying uninhibited interactions and learning about all the people, diversity, and cultures in KDI School. I am also looking to take my first train ride in South Korea on the KTX, eating Korean food, and exploring and learning about Korean culture through travel.

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