Hyemin Jin visited us from Hongik University, Seoul in the 2020 autumn semester. She took part in our applied animation module (working for Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and a Science Fiction Festival). We interviewed her after her stay with us was over to find out:
What surprised her?
Why did she choose us?
And… what is “motivation ice cream”???

Dear Hyemin, how would you summarise your time at HSLU using only 3 words?

Blue. Healthy. Peeceful flush.

Why did you choose HSLU for your exchange semester?

I’ve dreamed of studying abroad since I was a high school student. At that time, I had a rough plan to study in Europe for no reason. But there were so many schools for an exchange semester in Europe, I had to decide where I would go first. My senior recommended Switzerland to me. She told me it would be good to learn a different major (since I’d like to study a different major than product design, which I study in Korea) and it would go well with my style. That inspired me. I searched about schools in Switzerland and the Lucerne School of Art & Design immediately jumped out at me. I liked how the departments of art and design are subdivided in very various ways. And also the whole atmosphere of Lucerne fascinates me. ( I really like water and the colour blue – even though I can’t swim 🥲 ). Everything looks so different from Seoul, where it is always busy, full of people and high buildings. I was curious how life is over there? Which artworks will come out there? And how are the students in Lucerne?

How did you prepare for coming here?

I had to prepare some documents including language certification and a portfolio for applying. For me, studying for the IELTS and making a portfolio took the most time. 

After I got the acceptance mail from Lucerne, I started to study German. I thought it’s important to know basic German even though the courses are mainly in English. Of course, I only learned super basic skills since there were only 1-2 months before departure. But that helped me to adjust to the new language environment. 

Besides that, I prepared things for my life in Switzerland, like accommodation, pre-start program, and my Visa… etc.

At last, I contacted the other student who was selected as a HSLU exchange student with me and we prepared our journey to Switzerland together. That really helped me since I was quite nervous for my very first flight to Europe. 

What surprised you most about studying here?

I didn’t expect that I could make lots of friends….!!
Since I’m introverted and shy, it takes a lot of energy to talk with new people. That’s the biggest thing I worried about for my exchange semester. I heard a story that some students went back to their home country because they were lonely. Thankfully, I met really good friends and spending time with them was so much fun. They came to me with goodwill, and I also tried to be more outgoing. With other exchange students, we relied on and supported each other. Animation classmates helped me a lot and were always nice to me. I know it’s not easy to get in touch with a new student. So every moment with them was so precious. 

And the second thing is, my daily life became full of activities! I usually just stayed at home and my life was quite static. But with inspiring friends, I made some unique memories. I never imagined myself sleeping on the side of the Pilatus mountain, watching thousands of stars with a lullaby from cows’ bells. 

Your best memory from this semester?

I would like to say ‘Motivation ice cream’. 

Sometimes I went out and had dinner with classmates for motivation. One day, while working on an applied animation project with my teammates (Joanna Lang and Manfei Li), we went to the McDonald’s near school and bought a Mcflurry. We then went back to school and enjoyed ice cream watching an animation film to get inspiration for our project. Ice cream and animation…that was a perfect match since I fell in love with ice cream in Switzerland. And it gave me a special feeling to hang out together while working on a project 😃 . Small happiness in daily school life. And thanks to the ice cream, we got more energy to work on the project. That’s why it’s called ‘Motivation ice cream’!

What are your next steps when you are back home?

Currently, I’m focusing on my university life in Korea. Unfortunately, right after I came back home, I faced the reality of graduation, job, etc, and became very busy. So sometimes I feel like my year in Switzerland was like a dream. But the experiences I had there keep supporting me whenever I feel bad or tired. I still have some semesters until my graduation. I plan to get a bachelor’s degree in Korea, and if there is a chance, I’d like to go abroad and study for a master’s degree again. For that day, I keep studying English and German. 

Thank you Hyemin for being such a great exchange student!
We wish you best of luck in your future studies and hope you come back to visit us soon ­čÖé

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