I came to Seoul over a year ago to finish my last semester of courses at Yonsei University’s Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS). The experience was excellent and it helped me shaped and narrowed down my research prospects for what was coming next: the dissertation. I highly recommend to complete part of your courses abroad in some other Asia-Pacific country, as NCCU offers various possibilities for to do so.
Thanks to my supervisor in IDAS, our IPE professor Dr. Poong from the IR Institute affiliated to NCCU, and her good connections with Yonsei University and Korean academia, I’ve made good contacts here in Seoul and so the possibility of me coming back this year to carry out my research here became a reality, as my dissertation took a South Korean focus to its regional leadership role in regards to the institutionalization processes occurring in the region.
I have been back and forth between Taipei and Seoul every couple of months for the last semester, (fortunately the two are not too far apart) which I think is necessary to keep closer touch with IDAS and NCCU, as well as with my supervisor there, who also comes to Seoul often for academic purposes. Here in Seoul while I prepare my qualifying exam I also work closely with professors from Yonsei University, who are giving me advice on my research proposal and design. One professor in particular has become my co-advisor and will be part of my dissertation committee.
I think all this is bringing valuable assets to my dissertation experience. To be sure, every case is different and unique, but to me it didn’t make much sense to stay in Taipei after the completion of all my required credits. I would recommend students to try to go away and carry out their research wherever that may take them. Because I came to Korea to finish my courses a year ago, that for sure was determinant in my case, but I think the IDAS program and school can do more to support and allow students go somewhere within the Asia-Pacific region and do their research. Funding is obviously the main issue to take into consideration. NCCU offers different forms of scholarships to which IDAS students can apply, as I did several times. The truth is resources are not enough, and more is needed to make this option available to other students that want to take their field research somewhere in Asia-Pacific that is attractive and exciting for them, like it happened to me with Korea.
In my view that would be the ideal for having a real international PhD experience, which is what many of us are looking for, by combining the IDAS program learning experience in Taipei with doing research in another country in the region, as long as it fits your research objectives.
- Jose Guerra Vio