V. Sayel Cortes Berrueta, Maxico
(국제학대학원 재학, 멕시코)
Being a grad student in South Korea means you will expend a lot of time studying and reading books for your research. Whether you choose to do it at home, in a coffee shop or anywhere else depends on your style, but libraries are definitely the ideal place for that. In the 14 months I’ve been in Korea as a Yonsei student I’ve spend a considerable amount of time both in Yonsei’s Main Library and in our own Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS) Library. Both are great facilities that help you focus on studying, team working, or just enjoying a good book.
My first impression at Yonsei’s Main Library was surprise and a bit of fear. it can be a bit scary especially if you don´t know Korean. With two buildings, Main Library is huge and has a lot of different areas. It´s not only the areas depending on the topic, there´s also areas for using laptop, silent rooms for studying, a rooftop cafe that it´s great for reading, and small rooms for team work. The technology all over the library can be confusing at the beginning, but once you find out how it works, it allows you to find and reserve a spot anywhere in the library easily. Despite it being impressive, once you get to know it, Main Library can definitely feel like a second home.
The library at GSIS is smaller, but also more focused in International Studies. It focus on topics related to international finance, international cooperation, and east asian studies, so it has a lot of publications in international relations, economy and related fields.. The reading/working areas are both at the right and left side of the library where the people who regularly attend the library can easily recognize themselves and feel more comfortable studying even for the whole day. The independent study desk allows you to isolate from the world to focus, but I personally enjoy sitting by the window where I can rest my eyes from time to time with the great view.
GSIS Library also has a more “graduate students” feel compared to Yonsei Main Library. It has an austere, but relaxed environment. With great views from its big windows to inspire you in your search for new ideas for your research. GSIS library also has much less people, so while getting a seat in the Main Library during midterms or finals can be hard even with the electronic registration system, at GSIS Library you can always find a spot. Whether you want to print something quick between classes, check your e-mail, or find some electronic articles for a research, it´s always easy to get a computer without any registration system so it´s very convenient. Furthermore, the newspapers are right at your hand to check the news daily and there´s always someone willing to help you if you have any problem finding a book or using the equipment.
Don´t get me wrong, Main Library is amazing and has all the equipment that you could need, however it can be a bit overwhelming for me. Even with the lovely Main Library rooftop garden, if I need to just sit, relax, and get inspiration for a new paper I like to be able to look through the window and feel the calm of the distance buildings to get some ideas. I also like how I always find a classmate nearby in the GSIS library, whether you need to ask them something or just to feel that you´re not alone through the long study hours, GSIS library feels more friendly to me.