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Master Mária Minichová, UCT Prague, ročník 5

Faculty Faculty of Chemical Engineering
Field of study Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering
Field of internship Chemistry, Material Science, and Chemical Engineering
Specialization of InternshipChemical Engineering
Internship period (from - to) 1.10.2018 - 31.7.2019
Internship duration (weeks) 44
Transport (means, price) Flight,12000 Kc
Insurance/Insurance company Allianz
Visa/Work permit (yes/no) yes
Price of Visa 1500 Kc
City of Internship Zobrazit místo na mapě  South Korea, Daejeon
Internship reference number KR-2018-KIER-C1

About the country

Location of the place

Daejeon is located in the middle of South Korea with a good connection to Seoul, Daegu and other korean cities.

City

Daejeon is green and small city in sense of Korean cities. It has approx. 1.5 million people, but I felt I can recognize 'every foreigner' in the city. It is mostly flat so riding a bike is possible and sometimes even faster than taking public transport. There is only one subway line, which is not sufficient and buses go less frequently than in Prague. However, public transport system is very clever. T-money card (transportation card) works for public transport in all korean cities.

Surroundings (possible trips, ...)

There are Gyeryongsan and Songnisan national parks accessible by bus. Cities like Seoul, Busan, Daegu etc. are fine to visit during the weekend, taking slow train or KTX train is very convenient. It is also possible to rent a car if you want to visit places which are further. We went to Sokco and Boseong by car. :) If you think of flying out of Korea too, international airport in Daegu is good, offering usually cheaper flights than Seoul. We could take 1 day off per month and public holidays. It was clever to save these days and then group them with public holidays for a longer trip.

Employer

Employer

I worked at Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) in a team called Biomass and Wastes to Energy Laboratory. Hierarchy was very similar than in any other research groups. There was a group leader but I worked closely with younger researchers. My colleagues were mix of junior researchers, postdocs, PhD students, master students and other interns.

Work description

I was involved in many activities and current needs of the research project. When I arrived I operated continuous catalytic reactor to upgrade a heating value of bio-crude oil obtained from fast pyrolysis. I was dealing with problems arisen during the process and participating on regular discussions. I did also some reviews of articles, when we needed to find something in literature. You can basically imagine activities which are done in every research group. :) Then later, when there was a need to change our catalyst I mainly focused on preparing it.

Salary (sufficient for local conditions?)

My monthly wage was approx. 1650000 ₩, which was enough for my living and free time activities.

Language requirements

KIER required excellent level of English. However, only other foreigners and one korean researcher in my group had that level. It was okay but sometimes I needed to use google translator or korean Papago :D

Accommodation (price, who provided it)

I lived at the dorm offered by institute. There are shared rooms with a reasonable comfort and very close to work. (it is part of the campus). It costs probably 40000 ₩ per month and It was taken from my salary automatically before I received it.

Social life

Meeting IAESTE members (pick-up at the airport, organised events...)

IAESTE offered to pick me up at the airport but I arrived very early in the morning so I did not insist on it. There was not any trips organised by IAESTE so I did not meet anyone. However, I did not feel lonely because of that cause I met so many people later on and we spent time together.

Meeting other foreign students

Yes, there was 6 other interns from Europe arriving almost the same time and staying 6-12 months so we became friends and hanged out together basically all the time (also trips). I knew about some of them thanks to IAESTE meeting in Prague, 2 out of 6 were from UCT Prague too.

Sport and culture

I was doing Yoga at KIER when I dicovered there is a paid class for koreans (it was in korean) and also tried Taekwondo at KAIST (famous university very nearby). It is possibe to enroll to KAIST sport classes when you pay little bit more even if you are not student there. There were more sport options. KIER also has a free gym, basketball and tennis courts and also a room with table tennis. In addition you can hike on weekends or go for a run. I am not a museum fan but I guess there are also some. If you want to try learning Korean you can do it for free in the city center or enroll to some classes at KAIST or UST (other university nearby). Daejeon has a cinema with limited options of English movies and definitely many shopping centers, so if you like shopping you will like Korea. :D

Food, local specialties

soooo many local specialties and food everywhere. I cannot even write it as I do not remember the names but very famous is Korean barbecue, bibimbap (mixed rice), korean pancakes... You will discover all very easily once you arrive. :)

Other information

Possibilites to communicate with the Czech Republic

There was always a chance to write a mail, I do not think I has some problem I would need to contact IAESTE. Everything went well in my case.

Recommendations for students who will go to the same place

There was not any waiting list for dorms so no way to book it in advance. You will probably not know if you get the accommodation before your arrival. Do not stress out, in case you are not lucky you can find some studio literally in one day. Itt is helpful to know some local Korean who could help you arrange the real estate agent. If you wonder if you have some insurance offered by institute, you have it. It is taken every month from your salary also automatically. It is very convenient to see doctor, you do not need any appointment and it is very near KIER

What not to forget with you

Balsam for lips! Winter is very dry so it is good to have some 'Jeleni luj' with you.
International driving licence if you want to hire a car.
Some food and drinks you will miss the most.

Benefits of the internship

This internship was very beneficial for me and I can definitely recommend it. It was very interesting to work with so many Koreans. They are culturally very different and I often thought we think in totally different way. I will never forget our basic daily conversations or situations which did not me sense to me, therefore they were funny. :) Professionally, I also see only positive things. I would like to continue working in energy sector especially in renewable energy.

Cooperation with IAESTE in the foreign country

We did not stay in touch after my arrival to Korea but they helped me a lot before I came. Cooperation was great.

Overall experience with IAESTE

Great!

Student's website

there was a FB group of IAESTE KOREA, they will let you know about it. However, it was not very active. I recommend to mail the korean coordinator directly with any questions.

Employer's webiste

https://www.kier.re.kr/eng/

Other useful links

I do not recall anything special.

Other comments

Download Kakao maps or Naver maps because google maps will not work properly there.

Photo gallery


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