This summer, Sarah Massabni and I had the privilege of traveling to South Korea for the Global Entrepreneurship Camp, a 10-day program organized at the Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejon. Taking place within the Institute of Startup, this camp aims at bringing entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial-minded people from different universities together.
Upon arrival at KAIST, we were placed into 6 different international and interdisciplinary teams. The program was set up as a competition - each team got the same challenge to work on. Our main task for the next 10 days was to find a solution to a particular problem on campus. At the end of the camp, the team’s prototype solution was to be pitched in front of a panel of experts.
In order to support us in the search of a solution, the days contained some educative modules. We learned about working with the business model canvas and about lean thinking/the lean startup model. During specific master classes focused on particular aspects of the startup world, we learned among others about patent laws, venture capitalists, and the growth of the South Korean economy in the past 50 years. However, as it is often the case with start-ups, most of the lessons cannot be taught, but have to be experienced. Skills such as teamwork and intercultural understanding are in my opinion the most valuable learning effects that such a camp has on its participants.
In the process of creating a start-up, many things can not be planned nor anticipated.Signe Lin Vehusheia
A very similar experience occurred to me during my stay in South Korea. Parallel to the difficulties that we faced while prototyping our solution, I managed to injured my leg early on in the camp, and had to spend the rest of it in crutches. Being dependent on people around me that I had barely gotten the time to know, and in a country I was not familiar with, was quite the challenge in the beginning. Despite the many challenges and difficulties, our team won the first prize of the competition.
Leisure Time in Korea - Eating, Cruising, Hiking and Culture
Besides the camp, Sarah and I had some time to travel around in Seoul. We lived in the Bukchon Hanok village, went up the Namsan Seoul Tower, visited some of the many different palaces, did a Han River cruise, experienced a temple stay, tried Jimjilbang, and most importantly; ate all the food we laid our eyes on. We were able to experience some of the vibrant culture and amazing cuisine South Korea has to offer.
Even though 10 days might sound short, when we left for Incheon airport, both Sarah and I felt like we had been on an exchange to South Korea. We had made bonds with both locals and other international students all over the globe, and experienced the wonderful hospitality of the South Korean people. At the end, we vowed to go back and experience more of the beautiful country and amazing food.
Signe Lin Vehusheia is a Master Student at the Department of Materials.