Inga Olari – a Moldavian girl in South Korea

When she arrived for the first time in South Korea, she believed that she had arrived on another planet. Now, she is less skeptical and admits that she would like to have her family there. For several years, Inga is established in Seoul. She studies law and she is scientific researcher.

Have you chosen Korea or this country have chosen you, how did you get there?

I can’t say if I or Korea has chosen me, but one thing is certain: in life nothing happens by chance and if I got the chance to live in the far East, right in the "country of quiet mornings ", then this had to be.  I came here from a mere curiosity for exotic travel, and unknown, which had any connection with what I was aiming to realize in future.  I was in the final year of studies at the Faculty of Law, ULIM, then I left with an exchange program for a half year in the Republic of Korea, where I would study at a small University, but friendly, with a compact campus, located at the foot of the mountains.

During the studies I experienced the modern education system in the Republic of Korea, Korean culture, I have made many Korean and international friends of following, who just like me arrived on Korean realms from different corners of the world.  This life experience of living in a so distant country helped me to broaden my horizons and to take an important decision for the future.

Now I live in Seoul and I study for my master and PhD degree at the Chung-Ang University, which translated from Korean means "Central University of the Republic of Korea". I'm at the Law Faculty, specialization International Economic Law, and at the same time I'm working on a Governmental project as a scientific researcher.

Which was the strongest cultural shock you have experienced since you are in Korea?

When I have arrived in Korea, I had the feeling that I am on a other planet, because everything, even the humid air, with spice aroma, made me feel the difference, not to mention the culture, traditions and specific environment of this country. I cannot say it was namely a shock, rather a long process of adaptation I had to pass through in order to be in harmony with myself and with everything that was surrounding me at that time.

I suppose that you have colleagues from different European countries, how did they integrate themselves, is there anybody that gave up for the Korean life style?

Now, the Republic of Korea is an international country where many foreigners are living – working or just like me, are studding at a University or doing their PhD. Concerning the integration process in the Korean society I can say that it is necessary to be open and smile to natives. As well, to be patient and to have a strength of mind to start realizing your dream, because everyone need to begin all over again.

How big is the difference between the Moldavian education system and Korean one?

In comparison to Moldavian educational system, the South Korean one is very Americanized and well adapted to the new study requirements, being recognized at international level. It is well -known that in South Korea, as well as in other Far East countries, diligent students are spending a lot of time at school, and after classes they used to take private lessons at courses at which they need to obtain a better training, in order to take higher grades at graduating exams and respectively to pass the admission exams at the University. South Korea is a country with a high economic development and both the state and big corporations can invest in higher education system, to create better study conditions and to stimulate the competitiveness among students in order to enhance the interest in studying. While in Moldova the education system requires a lot of reforms and investment to be brought at the appropriate level.

What Korean laws would be beneficial for Moldova?

As any state on the map of international politics, South Korea has a juridical framework adjusted to the needs and cultural specific of this country, that’s why it is difficult for me to give an example of Korean law that would be beneficial for Moldova.


You combine the work with your studies, how you succeed to do this?

It is possible due to the fact that I am working as a scientific researcher in a Government project that is directly related to what I study and which is headed by a professor from the University at which I make my post-graduate studies.  That's why I save time, and the effort is not too big to carry out the tasks of my job.

 How often you are coming home?

I manage to come home whenever I have free time to make commuting Korea-Moldova, otherwise I fail because I am too busy with my courses, homework, scientific articles and my PhD thesis.

What do you miss most of what is/was your home?

Of course that I miss my parents, who I need in the most difficult moments.  And last but not least, I miss the traditional Moldavian dishes that cannot be found in Seoul.  However, I feel glad to live here because I realize something very important for my career, and this compensates for absolutely everything.

That women's magazines are read in Korea?

To speak the truth, I am not a great reader of women's magazines, so I wouldn't be able to give a clear overview of the most popular magazines like this here, but I believe that among them are Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Elle, InStyle, Esquire, etc.

Have you been at a PSY concert?

I'm not a fan of this Korean singer, so I never had the opportunity to go at any of his concert.

Would you like to live there, to have family, and rise your children in Korea?

I think each person should have a career and be happy on the personal level, and I'm not an exception.  Despite the cultural differences, I'd like to have a family and to have kids in South Korea, which is a country suitable bringing up your children.