So.. approximately three weeks after my formal acceptance from Yonsei University, I received a surprising email from Yonsei University’s Student Exchange Coordinator.
We are happy to inform that you have been selected among our 600+ incoming exchanges students to apply for the GKS Incoming Exchange Student Scholarship offered by the National Institute for International Education(http://studyinkorea.go.kr).
To be honest, I was (pleasantly) shocked when I received the email because:
1. My school has a list of scholarships that students can apply to for each partner university and Yonsei did not have anything on the list except for our own NUS Awards for Study Abroad (NASA) Scholarship (More information about this scholarship on another post!).
2. I have done my own research about exchange in Yonsei and no one ever told me that there was such a thing so I did not expect that there would be such an opportunity.
No complains though.
Anyway, I asked my friends who were going to go to Yonsei University with me and none of them received the email. I’m not very sure how the initial selection process is like but it looks like there are only very few people who got the invitation to apply for it and perhaps that is why there is not much information about the scholarship online.
According to the email I received, there are 4 evaluation criteria for the scholarship:
- Academic achievement – Measured by your CAP (GPA)
- Must possess above 80% (out of 100%)
- Must have completed at least two semesters
- Language proficiency in a foreign language other than your Mother Tongue – Measured by an official certificate verifying proficiency level (eg TOPIK for Korean and TOEFL for English, SAT scores are not considered )
- Motivation – Measured through a 2 page letter of motivation that outlines:
- Why you chose Korea as your study abroad destination
- Your motivation to study in a Korean University
- and Details of your current study in your home country
- Personal statement (2 pages detailing plans after exchange and extra-curricular involvement in your home university)
After reading all these, the main reason (most probably) why they selected me was my ability to speak more than 1 language: Bahasa Indonesia, English and some Korean. My CAP was probably a factor too, although I would think that language was the main reason.
The scholarship looks pretty good. It covers the following:
- Settlement Support: 200,000 KRW
- Stipend: 500,000 KRW per month for up to 4 months
- Flight Fare: Round-trip ticket (There is a maximum rate for your reimbursement and according to the coordinator, for Singapore, it is around 950,000 KRW.)
Application Timeline and Submission
I was given around 2 weeks to prepare all relevant documents and send it via email to the coordinator who will then submit all the documents to the scholarship administrator.
I did not need to do anything for the Academic Achievement portion because they already have my official transcript. As for the language proficiency proof, I did not have any official language certification and it is impossible to get one in 2 weeks so I decided to show my language abilities through my personal statement instead.
I used English to right my essay, emphasising that I am Indonesian and that I used to go to an Indonesian school, with Bahasa Indonesia as the main instruction language, before moving to Singapore. I also used my Korean language ability by introducing myself in Korean for the opening paragraph of the personal statement.
The important thing is that I was not allowed to mention Yonsei University anywhere in the application. They said its for an unbiased review of the application – so anyone going for exchange in any university in Korea could be invited to apply for this!
Another thing to note is that: although the essay is typed on your computer, you can’t directly send a pdf copy of the essay to submit. You need to print it, sign every page and submit the scanned copy of the printed document. Not sure why, but I just did it anyway!
The results came out three weeks after the submission deadline and yay I’m so happy to be the recipient of the scholarship!
I will post on more details about how the reimbursement of flights and payment of living allowance works once I get more information, stay tune! 🙂