UNAIR Students Undertake Exchange Program Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic does not appear to dampen the enthusiasm of Universitas Airlangga’s students to study abroad. Yusuf Ari Saktianto and Farah Reginda, two English Language and Literature students at UNAIR Faculty of Humanities, are currently undergoing an exchange program in South Korea.

Ari and Reginda are parts of the Spring 2020 Exchange Program of Catholic University of Korea . The program duration is 16 March 2020 to 26 June 2020 and is attended by various international students.

“As a Humanities student, I think it is really necessary to participate in the exchange program because it is a step forward to getting to know and understanding other cultures. But, unfortunately, because of this pandemic, international exposure has been limited,” said Reginda.

“However, the South Korean government is very responsive and serious in handling this pandemic. As a result, students do not feel constrained and can still do their activities without feeling worried.”

Meanwhile, Ari explained that the selection process from Catholic University of Korea was very exciting, because applicants were asked to prepare motivation letters and study plans thoroughly during the exchange. It certainly made him even more excited because his peers were from Asian and European countries.

“I was initially not encouraged by my parents and faculty, because of COVID-19 situation. However, thanks to my determination and consistent good health, they finally allowed me to leave, because the host university also didn’t cancel, “he explained.

According to Ari, during the exchange, the number of credits required was only 9 credits, but because he was taking Korean language classes, only 6 credits were allowed. Ari took A Short Introduction to Korean History and Its Culture and Global Consumer Trend course.

The Korean Language class at the Korean Language Education Center is just like a Language Center at UNAIR,” he added.

“In addition to making an interesting CV, the exchange provides valuable network, while conducting research and successfully expanding connections with Korean history and culture lecturers, at Seoul National University,” he explained.

During the exchange, Ari and Reginda did not forget to introduce Indonesian culture, for example, the art of batik and eating with rice. The cultural experiences of each country provided a memorable experience.

“We should have arrived in South Korea at the end of February and the program was to be completed by mid-June. However, because of the pandemic, the program was postponed. So, we departed mid-March and the program is expected to be completed by the end of June 2020, “said the student from Madiun.