Ghent University

Program Grows

You Into a Scientist


KIM So-eun

GUGC graduate

A Magna Cum Laude graduate, KIM looks back upon 
her undergraduate days at GUGC as an irreplaceable time
in her life. Currently, she is building a dream that will springboard 
her into a better future while completing a master's degree in Chemical 
Bioengineering at the EPFL in Switzerland.

Ghent University has reputation for its hard-to-pass curriculum. Wasn't it difficult for you to study?

It was. I did assignments in the evening after finishing lectures and training every day because I had to take 30 credits per semester. Still, the higher the grade, the more know-how I developed with my study skills and time management methods. My physical strength also increased. My undergraduate life was a process in which hard study was becoming more and more interesting. It has become a valuable asset that cannot be exchanged for anything else.

What made you apply for GUGC? Do you have any tips to give to prospective students on 

how to prepare for admissions?

Thanks to my home schooling for three years after graduating from elementary school, I was especially able to spend more time studying math and science during this period than my friends in middle and high schools. When I was preparing for college, I was 16 years old, so I had not thought much about my interests and related studies. Then, I came to know about Ghent University through my father. At first, my interest was focused on its title as "the best university in Belgium, and the first prestigious European university in South Korea." But, I wanted to enter GUGC as I learned through the admissions fair that it is was a science-focused university with a large proportion of practical training as well as theory classes. I devoted myself to studying math and science, and tried to adjust myself to English classes in advance by listening to Khan Academy and MOOC lectures. I submitted my TOEFL score as an official English grade.

How is your life at the EPFL? Is your life in Ghent serving as any foundation?

I am very satisfied overall although our face-to-face lectures and external activities have been affected by COVID-19. In Ghent, students must complete common subjects regardless of their major in the first and second years. This allowed me to learn the basics as an engineer. I also realized what my strengths and weaknesses were and my research field was narrowed while studying my major subjects in the third and fourth years. In addition, I built my research and data analysis abilities, while taking the school internship. Thanks to the extensive learning obtained in Ghent, I was able to make a great achievement of studying at the EPFL.

What are your future study and research plans?

My graduate school curriculum consists of classes for one year, and internships at external companies, as well as research and a graduation thesis for the remaining one year. In college, I had an internship opportunity under Professor Hendrik NOLLET and Teaching Assistant Noor ALJAMMAL in the Department of Environmental Technology to research into metal organic frameworks catalysts. I also wrote my graduate thesis about catalysts under the same subject

Lastly, could you say something to enrolled and prospective students?

Professor KWON: In college, you can learn your major in-depth, but it is also a place where you can broaden your horizons with various direct and indirect experiences. When I look back at my college student days, I had been so absorbed in only computer-related work from when I joined a robotics club. Although this experience was very helpful for me in going on to a graduate school or getting a job later, it seems that I lacked thought about something worthwhile in my life or what kind of life I should live as I failed to put things in perspective due to my singleminded lifestyle. Younger students these days are faced with a very different reality from the college life that they have been expecting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as the saying goes, one should “Turn a crisis into an opportunity,” by trying to access good books in your own time and space that will be rarely available, and find new means of achieving a more meaningful and enriched life. I look forward to seeing you on campus like before as soon as possible.