Study @ South Korea – Farzana Sidek

1. Briefly introduce yourself (your name, current uni and course, scholarship etc)

I am Nurul Farzana Binti Sidek, currently based in Seoul, South Korea. I am a second-year student of Biological and Chemical Engineering at Dongyang Mirae University under the scholarship of Public Service Department (JPA) .

2. What made you choose to study at South Korea or your current university more specifically?

I chose to study in South Korea for several reasons. Firstly, I fell in love with the uniqueness of the Korean language itself. I am impressed with how the non English speaking country can grow to be one of the most developed countries in the world especially in the STEM field. This scenario can be proven through the importance of Samsung Company in the digital technology world. Besides, I want to challenge myself to pursue my tertiary studies in non-English language. 

Moreover, I chose to pursue my diploma studies at Dongyang Mirae University for its expertise in the engineering field. Dongyang Mirae University is a university that emphasizes the importance of hand skills of their students other than the theories of the syllabus. To be specific, for my course, we can apply for a one-month internship during the short semester. Foreign students of the university are mostly Malaysian students other than Vietnamese students, and every year the university has been welcoming the students with such great welfare services. Thus, student welfare services such as accommodation and foreign students visa guidance from the administration have been a huge help to the students.

3. Briefly explain your preparatory college.

In Malaysia, I went to INTEC Shah Alam for 9 months and we learnt the basic Korean Language and Sciences subjects such as Biology, Chemistry and Pre-Calculus. Then, I continued my Korean Language and Science subjects studies at Seoul National University Language Education Institute (SNU) for 1 year. At SNU, the students not only received formal education about Korean Language but also received various cultural education. Some of the lecturers are those who have been teaching Malaysian students back in Malaysia so they know the Malaysian culture well. Those science subjects in Korean were taught by experienced Korean lecturers. During this period, the lecturers also guided the students on how to apply for the universities.

4. How to apply to your university? What are the requirements? Are there any special requirements (admissions test, personal statement etc.)

One of the requirements that need to be fulfilled is we need to sit for the Test of Proficiency in Korean Examination (TOPIK) which is compulsory for non-native speakers of Korean or the Korean Language Test that is provided by respective applied university. The TOPIK score is valid only for two years. There is another option that can be considered by foreign students where they can apply for the universities by using their TOEIC score. 

Every university has a different requirement of TOPIK score. In my case, my current university does not put any requirement on TOPIK score as long as the students have received Korean Language education at any university in South Korea before. 

In my transfer university application, I have applied to Korea University Sejong Campus where the applicants need to score Level 4 or higher in the TOPIK examination or they need to sit for the Korean Language Examination that is provided by Korea University.

5. What did you include in your admission essay/personal statement (if any)?

In my diploma university admission essay, I mentioned my hope of having an internship during my diploma studies which I had completed last winter semester. It is a new experience for me as I could learn the Korean work culture specifically in laboratories. Other than that, I mentioned that I hope that I could experience university life by making new friends, especially with Korean students. I could learn the Korean culture and history from them which is my interest other than Science subjects. This is because history and culture is something I think I should learn directly with the right people.

6. What do you think contributed to your success of application?

I think my interest in studying Biological and Chemical engineering has motivated me to apply for this university. My interest has developed from high school days which Biology and Chemistry were my favourite subjects. Besides, I have received formal education in the Korean Language for almost 2 years and my TOPIK score is on the intermediate level (Level 4) for foreigners. Thus, the score shows my Korean language proficiency will be a huge contribution to me in studying the subjects in the Korean Language. This is because most of the subjects are taught in Korean Language and it is a challenge as I will learn all the engineering terms in the Korean Language too. 

7. What advice will you give to future applicants?

Just be yourself. Writing your applications is like presenting yourself to strangers who have no idea at all who you are. But, the presentation is in the form of papers. Do believe in your strengths and the good things about yourself. This is because only you yourself know how far have you come to be the present you.


Nurul Farzana binti Sidek is a second year Biological and Chemical Engineering at Dongyang Mirae University. She is an active member of ISMA Korea, one of the Muslim Student Associations that’s established there.

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