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The Power of “Learning the Basics” and “Looking for a Challenge” That I Realized in Germany

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  • Registration Date : 2015-04-21


The Power of “Learning the Basics” and “Looking for a Challenge” That I Realized in Germany

The Second UST Overseas Training Program in 2014





CHOI Yeongjun

· KIT(Korea Institute of Toxicology) campus

· Major in Human Body and Ecotoxicology (Integrated program)





I still remember how I felt when I first heard that I was chosen for the “second UST Overseas Training Program in 2014.” On one hand, I was thrilled to participate, but on the other hand, I started to feel the pressure as I prepared for the program. However, soon enough, I took it to heart, reminding myself of the reason why I decided to apply for this program. I wanted to “learn something from this experience personally as well as contribute to this joint research and academic exchange project with a group of German researchers.”




Half-filled with worry and half-filled with anticipation this is what I assumed every student who joined the UST overseas training program must have felt. I was so nervous, half-worried and half-excited because I had no previous experience abroad except for a-week-long trip to Thailand. Whenever I felt nervous, I tried to remind myself of the reason why I decided to apply for this program. I had a clear goal and vision. I wanted to learn something from this experience personally as well as contribute to this joint research and academic exchange project with a group of German researchers. As getting ready for the program step by step, I figured out how to worrying and I got more excited, hoping that my life in Germany for 50 days would turn out to be great.








Hannover, an Eco-friendly City where the Traditions of Monarchy Continue to Exist

I went to study at Medizinische Hochschule Hannover (a.k.a. Hannover Medical School, MHH) located in Hannover, the capital of the federal state of Liedersachsen, Germany. When I first arrived at Hannover, I got the impression of a clean and an organized city.

Compared to the major cities in Korea, Honnover is neither busy nor fancy, but it is such a beautiful city where the traditions of the Hannover royal family where Queen Victoria came from continue to exist. It seems very eco-friendly as it is well equipped with parks, promenades, and especially bicycle paths. In fact, I could see rabbits jumping around in the park and a number of twinkling stars on a clear night.

Because this city is not well known for tourism, you might feel unfamiliar with it. However, I remembered it is the town where we had a soccer match with Switzerland during the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany. In general, Honnover is known for hosting industrial exhibitions.









Hannover Medical School (MHH), the Best Institution for Learning the Basics and Doing the Convergence Research

MHH is one of the top medical schools in Germany, and its campus, the biggest in Liedersachsen, is located in a quiet area a little away from the city center, Hannover Hauptbahnhof. It is one of the best institutions to study about stem cells. In addition, there have been various academic exchanges, including the officially selected Korea?Germany joint research project between the MHH’s Center for Pharmacology and Toxicology at MHH as well as the KIT’s Predictive Toxicology Center.

This training program was designed based on the previous joint research, “The occurrence of caner stem cells due to medication and its toxicology.” The major part of the study was to separate the cancer stem cells from the hepatoma cell lines by processing a medication that has been chosen in advance and to identify the differences in the occurrence of certain types of genes related to cancer stem cells. Fortunately, we had a relevant workshop at the early stage of the joint project, which helped us understand and get familiar with each other’s work.

There are a number of students from all over the world each with different goals and vision at MHH. I have learned a lot from being with other international students from Germany, Italy, India, Iran, etc. Their research style might be less sophisticated than the Korean research style. However, they have a profound basic knowledge and showed interests in other people’s works even if these are not directly related to theirs. I was very impressed that they are never shy to ask questions and give their opinions. They also actively collaborated with other teams and participated in free discussions with both professors and students.

I was also very impressed by how they manage and maintain school facilities and equipment. Upon requesting in advance, anyone can have an access to the common equipment systematically managed by the school. They never neglect the old equipment. Instead, they inspect and maintain the machines consistently so that they will work properly.









Training Program in Germany that Became a Significant Part of my Life

In Germany, because working hours can be flexible and one can make a living from a part-time job, people seem to have enough time to take care of their children and to enjoy their life. Because of the low cost of living, I could live with only my monthly allowance that I received from the school. Although I could not say that I know everything about how life is in Germany, I learned a lot from the advanced culture of the country.

When I look back, I wish I could have made more friends both at the research center and at the dormitory. Although people seemed rather intimidating and individualistic at first, they turned out to be very nice and friendly once I started to talk to them.

I have learned a lot from this 50-day-long overseas training program. Not only the training itself but also the preparation process and the day-to-day life in Germany have all have become a significant part of my life. These experiences still have a huge impact on me. That is why I feel so grateful about the UST overseas training program, and I am so glad I have participated on this.

I wish you could also take the challenge participating in the overseas training program. It might turn out to be a special opportunity that can have a huge impact not just in your studies and in your life as a whole.










If you have a chance to visit Hannover by any chance, I recommend you to go to the Herrenhausen Gardens and the Lake Maschsee. Only if the weather is good, you might feel as if you were a European, strolling the beautiful pathways in the garden and enjoying the scenery. If you are lucky enough to stay in Hannover during autumn, it would be great for you to participate in the Oktoberfest Hannover, having some German sausages with a cold bottle of beer.