A New and Exciting Adventure on a New Continent
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- Registration Date : 2013-01-21
After obtaining my degree in BSC, I joined Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) to work on a project involving grid computing. I left my hometown to relocate to southern Europe, and I am used to living apart from family.
I’ve been here since 2009, and of course I miss my family a lot. I have two elder sisters and one little sister, and I miss them the most. Thanks to the internet, however, I call my family every weekend and keep in touch with them. My mother always asks me “When will you come back to Italy?”
I first came to Korea on a business trip back in 2008. I was to give a lecture on how to use grids for grid users. I met Prof. Hwang Sun-wuk, who is my current supervisor, at the lecture. We have kept in touch ever since. Then, in 2009, Prof. Hwang came to Italy to attend a conference and told me about UST. He said I could obtain a master’s degree in Korea. It was not an easy decision to leave my hometown. At the time, I had just ed a new job with excellent benefits at a European research institute located near my hometown. But I wanted to embark on a new adventure in a different country on a different continent rather than choosing to stay near my hometown. I was a little scared but my desire for adventure was stronger.
My research at KISTI involves distributed computing systems, or more specifically grid computer infrastructure. At the same time, I study general high speed processing amount and high-performance computing. My supervisor is engaged in a number of international collaborative efforts (whose main subject involves distributed computing), and he involves me in some of the projects.
I have long been interested in high-performance computing systems. My bachelor’s degree thesis was also on a grid system. These days, almost all research fields require computing power. Our challenge and mission is to provide the most reliable and powerful computing infrastructure to users (those who already use it or other researchers). It is quite rewarding to provide computing power to other research fields that require it, ranging from high energy physics to bioinformatics.
Most of the time, I read books and academic papers related to my studies. Sometimes I do some supporting work as a system administrator for a number of computing systems at KISTI. Also, I help users of the infrastructure and join some collaborative research projects with other researchers. When I have time to spare, I often ride my bike along the riverside in Daejeon. I also go to the gym, read books, and listen to music.
I am really happy that I am studying at UST. I think I am a little old to be studying for a master’s degree, but UST is giving me full support. I am really happy to be here and I will do my best in my research.
What I realized instantly after my arrival in Korea is that the educational environment for science and technology in Korea is so much better than that in Italy. Sadly, the situations at Italian universities are worsening due to some reasons. Despite having many excellent faculty members and researchers, the research environment there unfortunately is very poor, even with research support from the government and private organizations. And that is why each year, many researchers leave my country for opportunities overseas. Here in Korea, research activities are being carried out based on great interest and support. Also, the average expertise of professors and researchers is quite high.
I am lucky to have a fantastic Korean girlfriend, so I am not lonely anymore. Although she lives in another city and we only get to meet on weekends most of the time, she really makes me happy and the time I spend with her means so much to me that it is priceless. I do sometimes miss Italian food. I miss having my own kitchen and making authentic Italian food.
They are understanding those who need help, and studying as much as I can to be able to help them. The goal I remind myself of everyday is “to learn how to solve existing problems and do not create any new problems.” I think how much money you have does not necessarily show how successful you are. I think a successful person is one who does something helpful for his or her community and society.
My team members and friends at UST are really kind and they have been very helpful from the day I arrived in Korea. Let me put it this way: my Korean is really poor, but I don’t feel any difficulties in daily living. I remember when I had to get a health checkup arranged by the school. I had a bit of a problem, but fortunately UST students who were there at the same hospital helped me. I had to pay a follow-up visit to the hospital afterwards, and a student in a doctoral degree program at KISTI kindly helped me. I will never forget their help. Also, my special thanks go to my team member who hooked me up with my girlfriend!
I think my girlfriend is the greatest person and I spend a lot of time with her, but besides her, I was deeply impressed by the country and the Korean people. Korea has reached the highest position in terms of science and technology within a few decades despite having very unfavorable conditions. An achievement like that would have been impossible had it not been for outstanding talent and dedication by the Korean public as a whole. Also, my supervisor, Prof. Hwang, comes to my mind. Without him, none of the experiments I carried out would have been successful. I will be indebted and thankful to him for the rest of my life.
I like Korean food. I like almost all Korean food, from pork belly, bibimbap, gimbab to cold noodles. Although Korean food is a little spicy, I am getting more used to it day by day. I like Korean movies and Korean traditional percussion as well. I want to listen to Korean music more. And I want to practice Korean language in order to better understand Korean movies and music. I really appreciate my Korean girlfriend and her family for their help. Thanks to them, I could learn more about Korean culture despite being a foreigner. I think I am really lucky.
“I am happy here, working and studying hard for a master’s degree program. If ever I need your help, I will not hesitate to ask you. So please don’t worry about me and take care.”
I hope to find a job in Korea after graduation. However, I never thought about not pursuing a doctoral program. My dream is to achieve both. Of course I want to a family, here in Korea, if circumstances allow.