Thursday, November 22, 2012

On The Side...

This week so far has been filled with evening events. On Tuesday, my school had another hweshik. Near the end of the dinner, people began changing tables as usual, moving to exchange drinks and chat. At some point, one lady who works at my school (I'm not quite sure what her title is, but she works with the principal and vice prinicpal often) came to sit at my table. Her English isn't very good and so with the help of other teachers she asked me questions about universities in the U.S.  Which universities were the best for a major in chemical biology?  Well, of course, I had no idea. I told her so, but I also told her I'd look it up for her. Her son wanted to study in the U.S., she said. Chemical genius, another teacher said. There was a moment where the the translating teachers were trying to figure out how to translate the Korean word for chemical biology.

At school the next day, I had time to spare, so I set to work researching. It began with looking up the meaning of chemical biology. Was it it's own major, or was it part of a bigger subject? I'd never really heard of a chemical biology major before, but it seemed completely possible to exist. Turns out, the phrase "chemical biology" is still relatively new in the U.S. There are several schools and research facilities that offer special courses in chemical biology today, but most schools only offer it as a single class (if at all).  As my research went on I became uneasy. I compiled a list of every university that offered undergraduate and graduate degrees in chemical biology. The list of names featured top tier universities (Harvard, Yale, etc.) Sure, they called him a genius at dinner last night, but was he looking to go to the most expensive schools in the U.S.? Still, I continued making the list.

Before leaving school, I printed out the list and went to go give it to her. There wasn't time (or any translators nearby) to go explain the list to her, however, and besides, she wasn't at her desk. I settled for writing my thoughts and an explanation of the list at home that night.

I went out to pay bills that evening and paid a visit to the phone shop. I asked my Korean friend, if I wrote a short explanation down on paper, could he translate it for me. He agreed, so I explained the situation (as well as my concerns) to him. We worked together on the translation, and I soon had a nicely written, printed note to give the lady at work.

Today is the day I give her the note. She is busy ... teaching... or something, right now, so I'll have to wait. I hope that my efforts will be helpful.

'Til next time,

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