Isabella: Yonsei Winter School (December 2020)

I took part in the Yonsei Winter School programme which ran from late December to mid-January. I took part in a course which focused on the COVID-19 pandemic. Each lecture was brought by an expert in a particular field, from learning about AI and COVID-19 to the English literature which had featured themes of pandemics in the past. I thoroughly enjoyed considering COVID-19 from so many different lenses. The inter-disciplinary nature of this course kept me intrigued, as they say variety is certainly the spice of life! I learnt so much about the different challenges COVID-19 presents and the different methods by which the global community can recover.

As a law and commerce student, learning about the medical nature of the COVID-19 virus opened my eyes as to what the medical profession are grappling with, and made me had a new-found respect for the front-line workers saving lives. Additionally, I really enjoyed learning more about Korea’s response to COVID-19, especially how their policy differed to New Zealand’s. In New Zealand, we had stricter lockdown measures but less strict social distancing and personal hygiene measures (e.g. mask wearing). Whereas Korea had minimal lockdowns but more strict social distancing and personal hygiene measures. Korea and New Zealand are two of the best countries in terms of COVID-19 response, so it was interesting to consider the different policies which could be implemented to stop the spread. Given COVID-19 will have a profound impact in shaping the world, I feel this course has given be a head-start in having a deep understanding of COVID-19 and the role it will play in our futures. Whilst this course was conducted online, with the majority of lectures pre-recorded, I still really got to get a feel for the Yonsei University’s culture.

It certainly was the closest think I could get to an international experience in the current COVID environment. Although it may not be quite as immersive as an in-person exchange, it was an excellent taste as to what overseas university experiences can over, not only academically but also in terms of broadening my awareness of the world and off-shore opportunities. I would recommend to anyone wanting to expand their knowledge of the world to take part in a virtual exchange opportunity. I really enjoyed that I got to learn about an intrinsically global problem (COVID) alongside a cohort of students from all around the world. Learning from differing perspectives on issues was an invaluable experience. Also, watching lectures on the beach was an extra-bonus that only a virtual programme can provide! Thank you to the 360-international team for allowing me to take part in such a great opportunity.

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