First, students expect themselves to build adequate capacity in public administration and public policy, and hope to acquire the requisite knowledge, skills and capabilities to formulate sustainable policies to address the various challenges in their respective countries. Such views stemmed from their belief that each of them could be an agent of positive change in their various countries, and they could make a significant impact in their respective countries with the right skillsets. For example, Tehmina from Pakistan said that the interpretation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in public policy making is a challenge for her country and expressed her intention to learn from Korea’s experience during the program.
Second, given the diverse mix of students who are highly qualified public officials back in their respective countries, the 2023 GMPA cohort expressed their desire to establish an excellent network among themselves and leverage this network to exchange best policy practices, its formulation, implementation and sustainability through offline discussions in other to replicate or adapt the same in their countries. For example, Derrick from Ghana expressed that he came to South Korea with an open mind to build quality networks and learn best practices in South Korea, while Sangmin Park from South Korea expressed his intention to better understand other cultures through his interaction with other students.
Third, the 2023 GMPA cohort expressed their desire to enjoy themselves thoroughly in the program and saw their studies as a break from their work that would facilitate them to recharge and refresh their perspectives. For example, Hong Wei Low from Singapore said that many of them have worked very hard for several years and consider his study period as a well-deserved break before he goes back to serve in higher positions and responsibilities in his country. Hogun Kang from Korea echoed his sentiments.
Additionally, a KOICA scholarship fellow from Uzbekistan, Dmitriy Neudachin, shared an anecdote of the Director for international relations at Korea Exchange he met in Tashkent, whose family loved living in Tashkent because it reminded them of Korea in the past, essentially making them feel like traveling back in time. Being in Seoul now, Dmitriy hopes that he is traveling time to the future of what Uzbekistan will become.
Following the sharing by the 2023 cohort, the President of the 2022 GMPA cohort briefly highlighted that academics was only one aspect, and urged students to make full use of the exciting opportunities, excellent infrastructure, beautiful landscape and fun provided by GSPA/SNU and South Korea.
In closing, Professor. Ko encouraged students to learn from their professors and enjoy their stay in one of the best universities in South Korea. He added that the faculty has many activities planned for students throughout the program and encouraged students to participate actively. He also shared that GMPA is continuously aiming to improve itself, and that students could contribute to the improvement, such as by helping to redevelop the GMPA website and plan additional extracurricular activities. To that end, he called for active participation for the activities and volunteers to partake in the improvement of GMPA.
The orientation was then brought to a closure with a group photograph and a networking dinner.