Korea Trade Investment Agency, Nairobi

What does KOTRA do?

 코트라는 Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency의 약자로서, 한국 기업들이 세계 각지에 진출하여 수출을 장려하고, 성공적인 투자를 할 수 있도록 돕고, 반대로 세계 각지에서 한국에 수출을 돕고 투자를 장려하는 정부 기관입니다. 코트라는 1962년부터 한국 산업통상부 산하에서 설립되어 현재 세계 각지 123개국에 해외 무역관을 운영하고 있습니다. 1950년 한국전쟁으로 폐허 뿐인 한국을 세계 6위의 수출대국으로 견인하는 역할을 해왔습니다.

 KOTRA stands for Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency. It is a government agency that helps Korean companies enter the world to export, make successful investments, and encourage investments into Korea from all over the world. KOTRA was established in 1962 under the Republic of Korea’s ministry of Industry and Trade and currently operates overseas, with trade centers in 123 countries around the world. This has contributed to Korea’s great economic transition from the old Korea that suffered the 1950 Korean War into the sixth largest exporter in the world.

 

2. How has KOTRA impacted the trade and investment relations between Kenya and Korea so far?

 코트라가 케냐와 한국사이에 교역, 투자에 어떤 점에서 영향을 미쳣냐

코트라 나이로비는 기본적으로 교역과 투자를 돕는 회사이다. 다시말해, 매치메이킹을 전문적으로 하는 기업인 것이다. 대기업 진출을 돕기도 하지만, 우리 무역관은 좀더 한국의 중소기업들의 케냐 진출에 집중하고 있다. 코트라 나이로비는 아프리카 해외무역관을 통틀어서 가장 실적이 좋은 무역관이다. 구체적인 실적을 공개하기는 어렵지만, 해외시장조사, 해외사절단, 해외출장지원, 수출상담회 등 2015년에는 100건 이상의 실적을 올렸고, 2016년에는 200건 이상의 실적을 달성하였다.

 KOTRA Nairobi is basically a trading and investment agency. In other words, it is a company that specializes in matchmaking. While helping to advance large corporations, we are focusing more on Korean SMEs’ entry into Kenya. KOTRA Nairobi is the best performing trade center in Africa. Although it is difficult to disclose specific results, it achieved more than 100 sales in 2015 and more than 200 in 2016, including overseas market research, overseas delegation, overseas business trip support and export consultation.

 

3. Of what significance did the Korean President’s visit to Kenya have on the bilateral trade & investment relations between Kenya & S. Korea? What role did  you play as an organization?

박근혜가 왔을 때 어떤 일들이 케냐간의 교역에 어떤 영향을 미쳤는가? 그리고 그사이 코트라는 어떤 일을 하였는가

2016년 5월에 박근혜 전대통령과 함께 우리나라 무역사절단 40개 기업이 케냐를 방문하였다. 우리는 이 기업이 케냐 시장에 진출하고, 케냐 기업들이 한국으로부터 좋은 제품과 정보를 얻어갈 수 있도록 코트라가 200여건에 달하는 수출 상담회를 주선하였다. 이 때 온 사절단의 성과가 상당히 좋아서 한번에 그치지 않고 후속 상담회를 위해 ‘아프리카민관합동사절단’23개 기업들이 한국에서 케냐로 2016년 11월에 한번 더 왔었다. 이 때도 100여건이 넘는 수출상담회를 코트라가 주선하였다.

 In May 2016, the former President Ms. Park GeunHye together with 40 Korean trade delegations came to Kenya. So far we have organized over 200 export consultations for those companies to enter the Kenyan market and allowed Kenya companies to get good products and information from Korea. At this time, the success rate of the delegations has been remarkable. In November 2016, twenty three Korean companies from the ‘African Private-Public Joint Delegation’ came to Kenya for a follow-up meeting. More than 100 export consultations were organized by KOTRA.

 

4. In helping Korean companies and SMEs to set shop in Kenya, what exactly does KOTRA do? Does it help investors to obtain licenses, anything along those lines?

케냐에 한국기업이 지사를 낼 때 코트라가 정확하게 어떤 절차들을 돕는가? 라이선스라도 취득할 수 있게 도움을 주는 것인가?

케냐 내에서 기업을 운영하기 위해 필요한 라이선스가 여러가지 있는데, 그것은 케냐 정부에서 하는 것이지 코트라가 직접 관여할 수는 없다. 우리는 한국 기업이 이 과정에서 필요한 정보와 노하우를 제공할 뿐이다. 우리가 중점적으로 돕는 절차는 한국과 케냐 사이에서 수출 및 수입이 일어 날 수 있도록 바이어와 셀러를 연결해주는 역할을 하는 것이다. 물론 코트라는 케냐에서는 대사관 상무부 소속이기 때문에, 케냐 바이어가 한국 들어가서 교역을 하기 위해 필요한 비자업무나 행정절차는 코트라가 진행하고 있다.

 There are a number of licenses required to run a business in Kenya which are issued by the Kenyan government, not KOTRA. We only provide information and know-how that the companies would need in this process. The process we chiefly focus on is to connect buyers and sellers so that the exportation and import can take place between Korea and Kenya. Also, since KOTRA belongs to the Korean Embassy’s Department of Commerce in Kenya, KOTRA proceeds with visa matters and administrative procedures necessary for Kenya buyers to enter and trade in Korea.

Korea’s Ex-President visit to Kenya in 2016

 

5. Revisiting the Korean President’s visit to Kenya last year, a number of MoUs were signed. About 20 in total. These included pacts on Nuclear energy and electricity generation, building of an industrial complex, E-government cooperation, KAIST, Korea-Kenya Government cooperation center (for 3 years), a commitment to KONZA city and a few more.

박근혜가 작년에 재방문 하였을 때, 20개기업이 양해각서를 체결하고 돌아갔다. 거기엔 핵개발, 산업단지 조성, E-govern 만들기, 카이스트, 콘자 시티 등이 있다

-Where are we at now?

지금 이 산업들이 어떻게 진행되어가는가

2017년 4월부터 위의 사업에 전담 직원이 새로 배치되어 후속조치를 하고있다. 아직까지 뚜렷할 만한 성과는 내보이지 못한 것은 사실이나, 대한민국 정부가 주두한 사업인 만큼 KOTRA 한국 본사에서도 상당히 관심을 가지고 팔로우 업을 하고 있다. 특히 케냐 정부는 산업단지 조성에 관심을 보이고 있는데, KOTRA는 지식 공유 프로그램인 KSP(Knowledge Sharing Program) 사업을 통해서 이를 체계적으로 지원하고 있다. 얼마전에 한국에서 연구진들이 케냐를 방문하여 2016/17년 산업 단지 조성을 위한 KSP 사업이 성공적으로 마무리 되었다. KOTRA는 2017/18년도 KSP 사업을 통해서 케냐의 경제 발전을 위해 긴밀하게 계속 협력해나갈 계획이다

From April 2017, a dedicated staff was assigned to do a follow up on the above projects. It is true that we have not seen clear results yet because it has been a short time since the signing happened. KOTRA HQ  has a great interest in following-up businesses as those businesses are centered by the Korean government. In particular, the Kenyan government is interested in creating an industrial complex and KOTRA systematically supports it through the Knowledge Sharing Program (KSP). Recently, the Korean researchers and delegates visited Kenya, and the KSP project for the industrial complex development in 2016/17 was completed successfully. KOTRA plans to continue closely cooperating with KSP in 2017/18 for the economic development of Kenya

6. Mention some of the annual business delegations that are held by KOTRA in a year both in Kenya and Korea

한해동안 케냐와 한국에서 진행되고 있고 있는 코트라 사절단 연간 사업에 대해서 말해달라

일단 한국 대구 경북 사절단, 전라도 사절단, 방산보안 사절단이 다녀갔다. 케냐-한국 화상 수출 상담회 1회를 진행하였다.

일단 2017년 하반기에는 선거기간 정치적 불안정성 때문에 더 이상의 사절단 방문은 계획되어있는 것은 없다.

 The projects, Kenya-Korea Export Conference and consultations for ‘Daegu Gyeongbuk Province Delegation’, ‘Jeolla Province Delegation’, ‘Defense Security Delegation’ have just been completed successfully. In the second half of 2017, there will not be any more delegation visits and projects due to the political instability in the election period.

 

7. Any challenges that KOTRA is facing in its line of work.

코트라가 일을 진행할 때 가장 힘들었던 점은 무엇인가요

코트라는 정부 산하 조직이다. 그렇기 때문에 다른 사기업들과 달리 우리 회사의 서비스를 받는 고객은 한국 국민 전체를 대상으로 한다. 그렇기 때문에 모든 상담에 친절하게 응대해야할 의무가 있다. 이것이 성과 평가에 상당한 영향을 미치기 때문에 자의반 타의반 친절을 다한다. 코트라의 많은 업무들보다 고객들을 친절하고 낮은 자세에서 응대하는 것이 사실 가장 어렵다.

 KOTRA is a government affiliate. Therefore, unlike other private companies, customers who receive our services comprise of the entire Korean people. Therefore, there is an obligation to respond kindly to all consultations. Since this has a considerable effect on the performance evaluation, we are expected to be the most  kindest of people. It is more difficult to give special attention to each customer, in a more friendly and fitting attitude because of the many tasks that we do.

 

Interview by Bhavisha Patel

Interviewee: Mr. Jang Jaewon- Rep. KOTRA Nairobi.

 

Korean Film Festival

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Cultural Exchange

For three years running the Embassy of the Republic of Korea has run an annual film festival in Nairobi. This is a four day event focused on screening Korean Movies to the Kenyan public to help promote Korean culture.This year the event took place at Alliance Francaise Nairobi from the 6th of June 2017 to 9th. On 6th at around 5.00 p.m. , a throng of movie goers and film enthusiasts gathered in droves to witness the launch. They were treated to snacks and drinks. Of these decadent treats a number were of Korean origin. Alongside dining, hugs, handshakes and bows took over as people from all walks of life introduced each other.

Some minutes into this we headed into the theatre. The first Secretary of the Embassy got on stage and gave an acknowledgement for the continued growth of Korea and Kenya relations. She then invited the Ambassador Hon. Kwon Young Dae to give his speech and launch the festival officially. He would later come on stage, emphasize the importance of cultural exchange and how pleased they were as an Embassy to share their culture with the Kenyan people.

Fast forward, the festival started with a Zombie blockbuster, the famous ‘Train to Busan’ and followed with ‘Love 911′ before closing the day. The second day (June 7th) we were ushered into comedy and family melodrama in the movie ‘Miracle in Cell no 7’. The day ended with ‘The World of Us’. The third day (June 8th) we started with the survival drama ‘The Tunnel’ and then switched to ‘Terror Live.’ The final day begun with a romantic comedy named ‘My Sister, the Pig lady’ that left many ribs aching because of  laughter. The curtains were closed after the screening of ‘A violent Prosecutor.’

Gathering views from those that had the chance to attend, the four day experience was great. The movies did justice to depict the daily Korean life and culture from its basics to the sophisticate. From bows that came in form of greetings, the language that was interpreted by use of sub-titles, the old Joseon structures and the mystical cultural garbs, all this was portrayed. In the end the Embassy managed to draw a number of Kenyans to Korean culture.

“The Embassy hopes to promote closeness between Korean and Kenyan people,” echoed the Political & Research officer at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea Mr. Andronicus Sikula. The event, a form of cultural diplomacy commenced in 2015. To expand the outreach the Embassy extended the screening to two more cities. Last year, the festival was also run in Mombasa and Kisumu. The decision to expand the outreach was triggered by Korea ex- premier’s visit to Kenya, whose presence made the Kenyan people a tad more curious about Korea.

To boost the level of cultural diplomacy, the Embassy runs other events as well. They include the Korean food festival, the Taekwondo festival and the Korean foundation day, which are spread across the year. With the teaching of Korean culture and language in local institutions such as the University of Nairobi, Mahanaim College and Kenyatta University, Korea hopes to widen the learning scope of Korean culture and language to the Kenyan people.

The Korean corner at the University of Nairobi, a cultural auditorium launched last year by the Korean Embassy, is another area open to people who would want to know more about Korean culture.

KNOWLEDGE SHARING

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Uncategorized

Korea project on International Agriculture (KOPIA) is one of the projects that the Republic of Korea is using to share its development experience and knowledge across the globe. It is run by Korea’s Rural Development Administration (RDA). In 2009 they begun their work in Africa by launching their working centers in Kenya and Ethiopia. To date, they have reached 10 countries across the continent and are doing a lot to improve the Agricultural performance of the countries they are working in.

The Kenyan chapter is run by an ebullient Director, Dr. Kim Choong-Hoe who has led his team to achieve much more for the 8 years that they have been running. They work in partnership with the Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) in meeting a select number of needs that face the Kenyan agriculture. Their projects center around poultry production, maize, rice, potato and vegetable production.

They are located in Kiambu, at KALRO  headquarters. There projects run in Nyandarua,  Kikuyu and Machakos county. For the other regions in need of their know-how and equipment such as the Western part of the country, the respective county Governors have made an effort to visit their center and learn a number of things

A tour at KOPIA centre provides a glimpse into their psyche, evidenced by the farm demonstrations that fill up the compound. There are several demo fields exhibiting  a range of  crops such as maize, potato, cabbage and tomato. There are crops with over 23 species of herbs such as lavender and rosemary, and others that have cucumber, paprika and strawberry. The most ambitious could be the 3rd demo field, which is a furnished poultry raising facility. In this facility they have been raising poultry that they later distribute to farmers in the quest to promote local poultry farming. They give it to local farming groups with each group receiving 5 chicken to start them off. To be able to get this donation, a group must comprise a minimum of 20 farmers

KOPIA is more hands on and practical than you would find a typical project office. In fact, the Director does not look the part. On a normal day he will be dressed like a farmer and so will his members of staff. The demo fields are spread out, an assemblage of green houses, tilled lands and poultry houses.

In addition to these outstanding demo fields, the work they have done outside is equally great. They have run four projects which have been rolled out in 2 phases. Part of this has been disseminating technologies in the production of rice, potato and the vegetables. To function in an efficient manner, they have worked along researchers to develop localized technologies that are in sync with the Kenyan farmers. They have constructed demonstration plots at major production areas, advised farmers on using the correct certified seeds, maintaining the soils and making manure.

One of its outstanding projects is building the school farm of Kadeng’wa primary. They have equipped the farm with poultry, maize, potato, sweet potato, cabbage and tomatoes. The farm products have gone into feeding the children most of who come from poor families. The Director, Dr. Kim Choong Hoe went lengths to use his own personal money to buy them food, textbooks and stationery. He also  requested for a large scale donation from the Rural Development Authority (RDA) Korea that heed his call. The centre is looking forward to do much more that will improve Kenya’s agriculture and establish Korea as a true partner in the country’s general development.

Image Credits: Joshua Nyantika

 

A 10 DAY EXPERIENCE IN S.KOREA.

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Travel

The Journey begun at 5 pm on the 10th of July. Being my first journey by air to a far off continent, albeit to a country I had long longed to visit, it was a dream come true. I was thrilled. After 14 hours of air travel, I arrived at Incheon International Airport on Tuesday evening where I was met by a team from Duksung University. Shortly afterwards, we departed for Duksung University.

On the 12th of July, we had two educational trips to Korea’s National Assembly and Seoul National University’s Kyujanggak Institute for Korean studies which had an archive for the documented heritage of Joseon dynasty. Being a Korean history fanatic, I quickly understood the explanations given by the guide. It felt like the Korean Drama series I usually watch come to life. Later on, we proceeded to the National Institute for International Education, Korea (NIIED) center to spend the night.

The 3rd day was particularly exciting for me because we got round to practice and experience Taekwondo. It happened at Arirang Taekwondo centre for the greater part of our morning. My friends and I learnt some self-defense moves and then Kyukpa, the art of wood breaking. Afterwards we set off to the National Museum of Korea and Chandeokgung palace. The places made Korean culture and history come to life. As we travelled from place to place I interacted with other Korean Government Invitation program (KGIP) participants, allowing me to learn different cultures the world over.

Over the weekend, we watched a thrilling Nanta performance. Nanta is a famous Korean non-verbal comedy show that incorporates traditional salmunori rhythm. I really loved the combination of live music and comedy drama in this particular performance. At some point, I felt like leaving my seat to go join them.

Later on my friend and I ventured the Kyeongbok palace that was only a walking distance from where the Nanta was being staged. It was drizzling but that could not stop us. From Kyeongbok’kung, we then left for the popular Namsan Seoul Tower. Absorbing the length of this lush and tall structure, then glancing down at Seoul from this high point was too much fun.

The next day, we had a 3 hour road trip to Naksan in Gangwon-do province where we visited the Unification Observatory. There, we were able to see the border between North and South Korea from an elevated position by use of binoculars. Despite the presence of heavy military personnel everything looked calm. As I looked over the area, there were so many posters and sculptures preaching peace. Deep in my heart, I could not help but pray to God for the prevalence of peace, and that war would never break out again between the North and South.

Later on we went to Naksan temple. I did not participate in some of the Buddhist activities due to my strong Christian faith but then I got to discover that the religion had significantly impacted Korea’s history. I also enjoyed the breathtaking view of the ocean, beach and the different sceneries in this area.

The following day we travelled from Gangwon-Do to Suwon, then set off for Samsung Digital City. The city is where Samsung develops and tests the first designs of its electronic products. The guides were able to take us through Samsung’s evolution over the years from a mere rice shop to a world leading electronic brand. We got to see most of Samsung’s first electronic gadgets dating back to the 80’s to their latest models of mobile phones, tablets, laptops, fridges, curved UHD,LCD and LED screens just to mention but a few.

The following day my friends and I had the chance to prepare Bulgogi and Kimbap, Korea’s popular dishes. With the ingredients prepared beforehand and with a chef to help us, the process got on well.

On the second last day of our program, we travelled to Incheon Port located  at the mid-western coast of the Korean Peninsula. It is the third largest port in the world. At Incheon, we particularly visited the Incheon Free Economic Zone and Songdo International City. I learned the key details on Songdo’s efforts and progress towards becoming a global business hub. Later on we made our way to Lotte World Tower, the 5th tallest building in the world, and Lotte World (amusement park) where we visited various facilities.

We spent our final day in a hand craft activity, guided on how to create our own compact containers from hanji paper. Later on in the day, we donned the traditional Korean attire, the Hanbok.

Sharing the last moments and parting was really difficult. The strangers I knew had turned into friends and now we were family. While sharing our experiences, those final moments proved emotional. But we promised each other to work hard and possibly meet again in future. The Korean Government Invitation Program was really a great experience. I made many friends and together we made unforgettable memories. As an individual I developed a sense of accomplishment, improved my communication skills both in Korean and English and became more confident to face the world. At the end of it all I was grateful to God and everyone else who had made the program possible.

Story By Marvin Ji Won

 

A SEMESTER IN JEJU

By Sophie Wambua.

It is the dream of most, if not all students who study Korean language to visit South Korea and get  to experience the country’s  unique and authentic heritage, an experience that speaks to the mind and soul of those who study it. I was lucky enough to get a TOPIK scholarship to study for one semester at Jeju National University located in the beautiful Island of Jeju. This was a dream come true. I prepared all my travel documents and when the 25th of February 2017 got by, I bid my country farewell and left for S.korea. The flight was long and exhausting but I finally got to Jeju Island. The director of the Foreign Students’ department picked me up from the airport and gave me a well organized schedule with all the program requirements.

My first night was a blacked-out blur due to the exhaustion. After I was well rested, my roommate showed me around campus. I was immediately captured by the beauty of the place.  The architecture of the buildings was majestic and the standard of hygiene was rather high. Our hostels looked like some ‘5 star hotels.’ Well, everything surpassed my expectations.

I have to admit that it was not easy for me at first. This is because I am not really good at meeting new people or making friends. My Korean by then was not so good and so the thought enhanced the hibbie jibbies . I could only speak little Korean despite having studied it in UoN. All in all the Korean people that I came across  were so impressed that even people from Africa are aware of their language let alone speak it.

With no time to waste, we were set to sit for a level test at the beginning of the week to determine our  level of proficiency in the Korean language. Thereafter I began my language course. Our class was oozing with diversity; two students from Japan, two from Mexico, one from Colombia, one from Brazil, one from Russia, one from France, ten from China and  I from Kenya. Before we started learning, the teacher taught us a fun game that helped us to know each other’s names, nationality, favorite food and hobbies.  Suffice it to say, I had already made friends by the end of the first class. Our classes were conducted in a very organized manner. The teacher was very kind and patient with all of us. She taught at a perfect pace that enabled us to grasp the language even better. We managed to polish our conversational skills, which  made it easier for us to communicate with other students in the campus and Korean people at large. Occasionally, the teacher could bring us treats like sweets, cookies and nuts, and this went way to  lift our spirits.

From the schedule that I was given, we had three cultural trips that  were organized and funded by the school. They provided an opportunity for foreign students to tour the Island and get a feel of what Korean culture entails. For the first trip we were given a tour of Yakchusa temple stay located on Daepo-dong, Seogipo-si in Jeju. It is the largest temple in  East Asia.  The view was breathtaking. The rocks and the surrounding wild growing tangerine trees created a beautiful and a peaceful scenery. The temple was very ancient yet it looked maintained. It consisted of high ceilings, beautiful decorative Chinese and Korean characters, and a big golden like statue of Buddha that rested in the middle of the room.  We all gathered  and a  Buddhist monk gave us a brief description of the temple. For lunch we ate temple food, then went ahead and learned more about Buddhism, and later made Buddhist bracelets.

Come the second trip (a different day), we visited Jeju Stone Park and watched a newly released movie “fast and furious”. For the last cultural trip we visited Udo island. To get there, we boarded a ship. Udo island is located on the north eastern of Seongsan-ni, 3.5 km off the coast of Jeju. Udo, literally ‘cow island” in Chinese, has the name because it looks like a cow lying down. Udo is famously known for its delicious ice creams. I tried and  confidently  testified it to be  the best Ice cream that I had ever tasted. Over the weekend I got to travel the island and visited other well known tourist attractions like the Hallasan, Loveland, Jeongbang waterfall, the hots prings of Seowgipo, a human maze park, the teddy bear museum and Manjangull cave. The island was very  beautiful and its black sandy  beaches were a sight to behold.

I can’t fail to talk about the food, my favourite part in the entire trip. I got a chance to try out all the Korean cuisines I had  dreamt  about.  The most bizarre food that I ate was raw octopus,sannakji. It was  unexpectedly delicious . I also tried Beongdegi which is steamed silkworm larvae(complete with the juices that come out during steaming process), soondae-blood sausages, and  jjajangmyeum.

To mark the beginning of spring, the school invited some well known Kpop musicians like Crush, Dynamic duo and girlfriends  to perform at our campus. It was so much fun as we got to groove along  our favorite jams. The blooming of the cherry blossom flowers is one of most the beautiful scenery I have ever seen.

Life in Korea is extremely convenient and comfortable. The developed infrastructure  and elaborate transport made it easier for us foreigners to navigate the area. The Korean people were warm hearted, kind and more than willing to help in any way that they could. Every time, the locals wanted to interact with me and would often stop in the streets just to say hi. All in all the experience was an eye opener. It made me appreciate my African heritage because it was shocking to realize how other people admired it.

 

Exploring Korea And Kenya

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Travel

Masai Mara

The Masai Mara is a Game Reserve located in Narok County. It is one of the best vacation sites in Kenya. From the abundance of nature and wildlife to the magnificent camps all over the reserve, the Masai Mara is definitely a fun-filled experience for all its visitors’.  It is especially famous for the Great Migration of Wildebeest, Zebra and Thomson’s gazelle from the Serengeti across the Mara River. Visitors can enjoy residency in one of the reserve’s camp sites all the while enjoying a variety of cuisine from the Isokon Restaurant. There is a range of activities one can participate in while at the Masai Mara; sightseeing tours on the hot air balloons, wildlife safaris and visiting the Masai village and market. While here one can experience the exciting Masai culture. This is definitely a place to visit.

Mombasa

This is a town on the coast of Kenya which is well known for its warm and palm-lined sandy beaches and clear waters. For animal lovers, Haller Park is the place to visit. With over 160 species of birds and a variety of wildlife it is a great hit. One can also visit some pre-historic sites like the Fort Jesus and the Gedi Ruins for an exciting cultural experience. Mamba Village, a crocodile farm is a popular spot with tourists. The Marine National Park is the place to visit. With activities like diving and snorkeling, one can get the full marine experience. You can also view the marine life from the glass-bottom boat if you don’t want to get into the water. Honestly there is really no limit to the places you can visit in Mombasa.

The Rift Valley

The Rift Valley extends through Kenya through from the north to south. As you travel up there are so many sites to behold. You could hike your way up Mt. Longonot or simply enjoy the view of the mountain from the view point along the highway. There are also numerous curio shops where one can buy authentic Kenyan antiques. While in Naivasha, Lake Naivasha and Hell’s Gate are just a few of the places you should visit. Along the highway you can observe Zebras, Baboons and gazelles on the sides of the road. A tour of Lake Nakuru national Park is also a must-do. The view of the pink flamingos and the beautiful wildlife is a breathtaking scenery. From Black Rhinos, Hippos, Horned Baboons, Leopards and more you will definitely have the experience of a lifetime.

Mt. Kenya

Mt.Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya located in Nyeri County. It is one of the major tourist attractions in Kenya. The Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club at the foot of the mountain is a beautiful and a serene place to kick back and relax. Mountain climbing, rock climbing, hiking, camping; one is spoilt for choice. Up the mountain there are beautiful glacier lakes with pure and fresh water. Further up the mountain you’ll find the magnificent peaks Batian, Nelion and Lenana. At the peaks one can go glacier snow-boarding, with the right supervision of course.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

It was the main palace during the Joseon Dynasty. It served as both the homes of the kings of the Joseon Dynasty and the government of Joseon. It was previously destroyed during the Japanese Invasion but over the years it has slowly been restored to its original state. Tourists flock at the palace to experience Korea’s history and cultural heritage as it houses the National Palace Museum of Korea. The scenery is spectacular and the staff are very kind and dedicated to make your visit a memorable one.

Everland

This is South Korea’s largest theme park located at the Everland Resort in Yongin. There is definitely something for people of all ages. Known for its beautiful scenery, tourists visit the park to experience nature at the garden which has so many different types of flowers and trees. Zootopia is also a must-see with over 2000 animals of 201 species. One can also see the giant Pandas that were given to Korea by the Chinese President Xi Jinping to symbolize the friendship between Korea and China. One can also enjoy rides like the T-Express (the first wooden roller coaster) which is especially popular with young kids. There are festivals all year round which are a great way of experiencing the Korean culture and cuisine. Good food, rides, wildlife and nature, what more do you need!

Busan

Busan is South Korea’s second largest city. There is so much adventure to experience in Busan. It is well known for its beautiful beaches where one can visit the aquarium or play traditional games like tug of war at the Folk Square. Hiking up the mountains is a good way to keep fit while exploring the beautiful country of Korea. Have a feel of Korea’s religion when you visit the Buddhist temples like Beomeosa Temple. Busan also houses museums and historical buildings. Animal lovers can visit Dongbaek Island and take part in bird-watching at the Nakdong River estuary. It is simply amazing.

Jeju Island

Also known as Jejudo. It houses the Hallasan National Park where people go hiking up the Hallasan Mountain. Beautiful beaches, waterfalls, museums, theme parks, caverns and caves are just a few of the places you can visit while in Jeju Island, an experience that is bound to leave you mesmerized.

By Virginia Chege

 

Tales From Graduate School

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Education

South Korea’s distinctive blend of age-old traditions and modernity  makes it a vibrant choice for those wishing to study abroad. The country hosts a number of internationally renowned universities that offer competitive, high quality and well respected education. Young people from developing countries have opted to study there. Many have enrolled, and continue to enroll for graduate studies, thanks to the availability of foreign scholarships. Kenyans have not been left behind. Their enrollment  has steadily been rising. The bridge sought to find out how it is to study and live in S. Korea from  some of these Kenyans. We reached out to four graduate students from KyungPook National  University, Daegu.

 Mutuku Stella Musyawa:

Master of Science (Msc) in Economics

Stella Upon her graduation in July 2017

The  interest of my research concentrates on development economics, focusing on newly industrialized and developing countries. Living outside the comfort of my country’s family and culture has shaped my life, and made me more independent and responsible. This environment has exposed me to people from across the globe, an experience that has shaped my attitude and knowledge on diverse cultures the world over.

Full of passion for studying and the desire for a new experience beyond, was and has remained my motivation for my 3 year study and stay in South Korea. Well, it has been challenging taking all my courses in Korean language but the support of my professors, fellow students, well-equipped resource centers and the dedicated effort  enabled me to overcome the barriers. As a Korean Government Scholarship Program (KGSP) beneficiary, I had to study Korean language for one year in Busan. Although the pressure from school work would get overwhelming, the experience was way amazing. School is well balanced with frequent field trips that are organized by the language institute. Moreover, because I attended my language school in Busan, which hosts most of the best recreation facilities in South Korea, I had diverse joints to unwind when school work got overwhelming.

Living outside the environs of one’s home implies starting life afresh and it comes with the fear of the unknown. But the world is full of great people and one is able to meet new people, whom with time become friends and then family. I must admit that that life abroad is not a bed of roses but neither is it back at home and each environment comes with its own challenges. A positive attitude to the unknown life beyond home enables one to cope up with the inevitable challenges.  For example, living beyond one’s continent implies that the diet would be totally different and it is in learning how to appreciate different cultures that one enables one to get out of the comfort of their home country meals.

I would recommend students with a desire to study in South Korea to put effort in learning basic Korean via K-Drama, K-Pop, Apps (KoreanLite) and YouTube tutors. Being conversant with the basic Korean implies that you can easily integrate into their society

2. Bernard Ouma Alunda

Ph. D (Doctoral Degree) Department of Mechanical Engineering

My research area looks at the development of a versatile high-speed and hybrid atomic force microscope (AFM) for structural characterization and dynamic observation of samples at nano-/ pico-scale. I have lived in Korea for more than four (4) years. I heard about Kyungpook National University while taking my Masters degree  at Yeungnam University (2010-2012). As a Ph. D student much is expected of me in terms of research. This calls for massive sacrifice that needs one to stay  in the lab for hours. It is a tad draining but what motivates me the most is the passion and the enthusiasm that I have for what I do and the support from my advisor. He is an amazing  and talented individual who believes that we can ace it. To that effect , the amount of time I spend in the laboratory matters less. I get propelled by achievements that I make periodically. Interestingly, I have resorted to labeling the days I  spend sleepless nights, “nightless sleeps” to carry on the grind and make sure the concepts work no matter what. In fact I call my lab a ‘home’ because I spend lots of time in there.

My lab working hours range between 9 a.m. to roughly 2 a.m. Most of the times I get so much absorbed in my work  that I even lose track of time. The experience and the build up of determination, has transformed me into an individual that can handle any sort of engineering task that I am faced with. Basically, Korea is a ‘palipali’ (in Swahili  ‘chap chap’) society where people believe that things ought to be done fast and efficiently. The culture’s inbred  slogan i.e. ‘fighting’ springs from every corner to encourage you whenever things get tough. I would say that South Korea has achieved a lot in terms of technology (IT and Engineering) and several universities as well as research institutes (www.ust.ac.kr) are equipped with the latest facilities to aid in nurturing cutting-edge technology. It would therefore be an interesting place to do your post-graduate studies.

  1. Joseph N. Tinega

Master of Science, (Msc) Environmental and Energy Engineering

Joseph (7th from the Right) during the launch of Kenya Corner at Kyungpook University

Being humans we tend to slip into comfort quite easily. Traveling/studying in a foreign country is an exemplary way to step out of this comfort zone. I did my fair share of that in 2014 when I came to the Republic of Korea. Since then, the experiences and challenges that I have met  have  helped in rediscovering my passion and capabilities. They have shaped and built my character too. For instance, upon admission for my MSc I came across some part time Korean post graduate students, probably in their 30s, most of who were industrialists.

 

These students introduced me to their industries which resonated well with my studies, summing up the uniqueness of my study experience and its form of practicality. The visits had a lasting impression on me. I was more immersed  and practical into Korea’s industry, which is mostly heavy and chemical, factors  that have been the backbone of their great economic growth. To add, their work ethos and ethic, just-do-it spirit, and emphasis on efficiency by using the latest forms of technology (an example could be the use of robots in the production  systems) was such a great observation. With my life-long dream of being an industrialist, this was  an eye opener. Nevertheless, because the country is not a resource rich nation, their greatest resource has been  the human capital. Industrialists here have a drive or cultural desire to catch up with the West or being at the fore front of innovation/ invention.

Although Korean people have an intense work lifestyle and less social, one could choose to adopt some of the best values, skills and technological know-how, and then replicate them back at home. That could inspire and invigorate our economy. I have learnt, still learning and look forward to displaying the same once I am back in Kenya.

  1. Agumba Dickens Owino

Masters of Science (Msc), Advanced Mechanical Engineering

Studying abroad has become the dream of many students seeking to pursue their academic careers outside the confines of their home. Well, such an opportunity gives one the added advantage of exploring the world. Thus, it provides  a unique way of enriching our education, general knowledge and outlook on life. South Korea is a great option if you would opt to study abroad.

The academic environment here is highly competitive. This keeps you on toes. A wide variety of courses are on offer and therefore an international student  will easily find an area to tap into. To crown it all, the Korean government and the individual universities offer far much better scholarship opportunities for top performing international students. For those seeking to study abroad, I highly recommend the Republic of  Korea.

 

 

 

Joy Mworia: Chairing the Kenya Community in Korea

  1. Kindly introduce yourself.

“My name is Joy Clara Mworia, and I’m the current Chairperson of the Kenya Community in Korea. I have been in Korea for three years, two and a half as a graduate student at Pukyong National University and currently an English tutor. I am an outgoing person who enjoys meeting new people of different cultures and finding ways to help my fellow Kenyans in Korea feel at home far away from home.

  1. You replaced Dr. Benson Kamary as the new Kenya Community in Korea Chairperson. Tell us about that and what it meant to you (the fact that Kenyans in Korea had trust in you to pick you as their new leader).

I must confess that Kamary left some big shoes to fill. I was privileged to have known Kamary personally and worked with him in several occasions even before joining KCK as active members. We both went to Daystar University and happened to have resided in the same city, Busan, in Korea.

  1. What inspired you to vie for this position and what do you hope to achieve.

As an active member of Busan KCK chapter and later a member of the regional executive, I was able to find inspiration and also a calling to be part of KCK leadership. I must say that it is the togetherness of Kenyans in Korea that was a motivating factor. Kamary’s team transformed KCK with structures that enables leadership function even more smoothly.

  1. Please tell us a little about KCK .

Kenyan Community in Korea was founded in March 2007. Since then the community gradually transformed itself towards an organized association with leadership structure and a comprehensive constitution. It was until 2011 when new leadership transformed KCK into a professionally organized community by institutionalizing its various leadership and communication functions.

KCK is organized exclusively to provide a source for networking, promote success of members and advance the Kenyan values in Korea. The organization may undertake to publicize events and activities organized by its membership.

  1. Highlight some of the milestone achievements that KCK has so far achieved ever since it was started.

The list is endless, but just to mention;

  • Published “The Big Book”; a collection of academic papers by KCK members.
  • Strengthened the Regional Branches by recognizing leaders and their committees.
  • Created KCK brochures (downloadable from KCK website) to be sent to Korean Embassy in Nairobi etc.
  • Amended constitution to introduce Governing Council (KCK Exec, Regional Leaders; and Students Body and Professionals/Business as Ex-Officios)
  • Strengthened KCK-Embassy collaborations & Coordination (e.g. exhibitions, scholarships information, etc.)
  • Created a healthy financial status for KCK from an inherited debt to over 1 Million Won through out the leadership term.
  • Expanded registration by almost 100 new members
  • Facebook membership grew from 640 to over 1000
  • Record breaking numbers in all major KCK events (over 70 in Tujuane Fest in Cheonan, 200 in Busan Retreat, etc.)
  • For the first time branded KCK events with KCK T shirts (this will go on with customized regional color-codes e.g. Busan-Red, Daegu-Green, Seoul Blue etc)
  • Initiated establishment of Diaspora Alliance (Asia Chapter) with KIJA (Kenyans in Japan) and Kenyans in China. Ongoing process.
  • Built KCK profile and image as evidenced by growing interest to join KCK and also in leadership position. KCK is becoming competitive.
  • Initiated a process of appointing Honorary Ambassadors from outstanding Korean KCK members to strengthen KCK-Korea socio-cultural and organizational interactions.
  • Introduced “KCK Official Seal” as the official stamp for KCK documents/ recommendations and certificates.
  • Created and launched the KCK Official Website
  • Collected comprehensive data of Kenyans in Korea
  • Conducted leadership SWOT analysis to strengthen service delivery
  1. What are some of the challenges that you face (as KCK).

– The fact that KCK is not yet registered, we can’t take our conversation/engagement officially to the government of Kenya or Korea.

– Geographically, some places in Korea has only one or two Kenyans and so it is a challenge including everyone in the activities.

  1. I believe that most of the KCK members are scattered across the country. How are you able to maintain that closeness and sense of unity as a community, and most importantly as a family.

We have been active in our communication, which is one of the key pillars that Kamary’s team established. We have increased our presence in the social media, we have a website and a blog, as well as email and brochures. Beyond that, we believe that Kenyans are the primary ambassadors of KCK in terms of making the organization known to everyone. Our goal is to have any Kenyan coming to Korea to know we exist even before they take the flight here. By the way that has begun to happen.

  1. Most Kenyans I know based in Korea are into studies. Is there any other category of Kenyans engaged in something else other than studies?

Yes, we have Kenyans who are professionals and are working in various professions, lecturing, company, and business. We are also seeing a growing number of cross-cultural marriages between Kenyans and Koreans.

How do you relate with the Kenyan Embassy in Korea. Don’t your roles overlap? How supportive have they been?

We work closely. The relationship has grown to be very cordial and we see each other as working toward the same goal – seeking the best wellbeing and success for Kenyans in all areas they are involved in. We are blessed to have a great Ambassador and embassy staff who participate in KCK’s events and integrate with Kenyans at various levels.

What is your dream for the future of KCK.

That KCK be a model of Kenyan diaspora community. That we will be a voice of hope, patriotism, resilience and beacon of prosperity in all we do as international  students or professionals.

 

The Fun of Learning a Foreign Language

“Hallo”… It could be the simplest way to start conversations. It works for me. Always. There is fun in knowing new people. Talking to them makes it feel that my world has expanded a little. It is never the same.

Growing up I really marveled at the world. It started with the mundane of thoughts; how big it was, how many people were in and how many existing cultures were there for an individual to experience if he/she wanted to. Well, reflecting on this last thought it is basically inexhaustible in a lifetime. I mean 5 continents, 196 countries, 6500 languages, 7 billion people. It left me with a fascination at how much my world could grow.

Being the adventurous type, I took a liking for the Asian culture and started watching their documentaries, shows and music. It was fun but I couldn’t understand the languages. Therefore I took the plunge to learn an Asian language and that is how I got into learning Korean language, which is quite interesting.

Korean is quite different from English.It has its own alphabet and pronunciations. The first Korean class was more like going back to kindergarten to learn the basics. It was a funny and ridiculous one, because as our lecturer intoned,our prowess levels were close to that of 6 year olds back in Korea. We learnt how to pronounce and write the vowels and consonants, then progressed to simple vocabulary, to sentences and finally to paragraphs. This took us 4 months at the end of which speaking was still a challenge but manageable.

If you are into watching/reading, you know the satisfaction that comes with listening/noticing something from a movie or book and understanding the meaning. I like watching Korean Movies and I enjoy their sense of culture, so imagine my joy when I was watching and understood some word I had learnt without resorting to subtitles. It was amazing, magical. I felt like some kind of a genius.

Learning a new language helps in understanding the culture of a people. The world has many cultures, each unique and valuable. Cultures are portrayed in the cuisine, clothing, social habits, religion, music and art. All these are accessible from learning a language. Someone said, “Civilization isn’t a result of a single dominant culture but the product of mergers and interactions between diverse cultures, interacting enough to benefit from each other but not so much as to lose themselves in the other.” This is proven.A look at the best civilizations in the world shows that they derive their success from diversity. Americans have ties to almost all nations in the world either by ancestry or assimilation and were aware of their level of civilization. Down to my own experience, I learnt a lot from the Korean culture, my best being the unwavering work ethic. South Koreans really believe that hard work is worthy of reward and this says a lot given their claim of the 4th largest economy in Asia and the 11th largest in the world.

Additionally, learning a new language connects you to others that could be sharing the same interests. We all understand the feeling when you come across people who share your love for football or movies, or a theory you like. You can practically talk for hours. Such conversations are probably the most satisfying. It feels good to be understood. Which brings me to an experience I had with close friends, when I began learning Korean culture. I was surely an odd bird. They couldn’t understand why I did what I was doing. However, things changed when I walked into this class, with students excited to start learning Korean Studies. It has never been the same again. We are now a family. We challenge, teach and learn from one another. It is fun. We recently finished a 1000 piece puzzle that took us 10 days. We really treasure that puzzle and the memories it gave us. A year ago I never thought I could have friends who were fascinated with Korea as I am. Now I can say that if I travel to Seoul, I won’t be worried because my friends will be there to receive me. Or if I want to practice Korean I can just call a friend and chat hours on end. The possibilities are endless.

By Andreas Mutuku

Connect Coffee Roasters

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Featured

It is 10.00 a.m. Joshua and hop into the Riverfront building – off the riverside drive road, along Chiromo area Nairobi Kenya. The building houses a couple of other valuable companies. Uber-the taxi app is one of them. We are not here for them though. We are here for their neighbor, the opposite facing coffee house. As we amble along the marble pavement, the marvel that meets the eye is pleasantly surprising. It starts with the jutting plants that sway gently at the morning breeze right at the entrance, the café like set-up that opens up as you reach for a seat, the tempting glass cases with decadent treats and a lure of grey and white decor.

The transparent glass walls capture the idyllic; of waiters weaving between the tables, picking orders and serving accordingly. The music is soft. The calming painting and art on the wall is beautiful enough to hold your gaze, as well as the splendid combo of rustic artsy themes and the well curated dining space which is stuff of high art.

‘Welcome to Connect Coffee Roasters,’ says Mr. Duncan Busuru, the calm coffee shop Manager who is as warmly and friendly as are the resident baristas.

The sun is rising. Four ladies are seated at a table some few meters away engaged in a meeting. Adjacent, sits a Caucasian lad buried in a mac. Duncan notices my gaze and responds with clarity, ’we have flexible sockets and strong Wi-Fi. You can work from here as you nurse your favorite flavor.’  ‘There is room for corporate meetings, art events, exhibitions and business meetings,’ he adds. From this customer ensemble that bellies a mix of races, it bespeaks their target group; expatriates, middleclass and the upper, with the majority residing and working in the Westlands and Kileleshwa areas.

Three cups of coffee with milk are brought our way and I am instantly curious to know more about the menu. As I indulge Duncan, he tells me about the varied brewed coffees, the special brewed tea and the juices that range from orange grape fruits, apple carrot to strawberry latte. To crown a hot sunny afternoon one can snack  their palatable icecream, the Almond Affogato. As revealed from a number of top local restaurant critics, their waffle is the best in town. But with a disclaimer though; you can’t wolf it down in an instant. It is really huge. Perhaps the gist of this discussion comes to their in-house signature blends of Romeo and Juliet. Romeo, a dark roast with caramel and nutty flavors is a blend of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda coffee. On the other hand, Juliet the mild roast with fruit and flowery flavors is a blend of Kenyan and Ethiopian  coffee. There is retail coffee to boost for those who would want to take the experience home. The coffees on sale include the Romeo blend, Juliet blend, Kenyan, Ethiopian, Rwandese, the Romeo blend cold brew and the Juliet blend cold brew, with prices ranging from Kes 800 to Kes 3,200.

The uniqueness does not end at that. There is more.

You want your coffee fresh? Three brewing techniques are at disposal to give you this experience; Kalita, Chemex and Espro Press. Kalita is Japanese, bringing a balanced form of coffee. Chemex, a US way of preparation comes mouth filled. Espro-press, which comes close to its sister French Press, comes with a fine texture. It has a twin feel of rustic and modern, with a sort of sophisticated finish, oozing an urban vibe with plenty of white, grey and black hues.

The Start

About 11 months ago the proprietors Mr. Chris Hwang and his wife Ms. Sunny Park, Republic of Korea natives, braved it up and placed their eyes to Africa. The birth of this adventure gave way to a  coffee venture that has re-defined the everyday operations of a typical coffee house. It is premised on unique operating models: connecting with farmers, connecting with customers and eventually with people. The first model explains their partnership with farmers. They support the farmers by contributing farm inputs, facilitating cultivation training and monitoring and evaluation, then end up purchasing the harvested coffee at better market prices.  Through this they have  ensured that the coffee that reaches their restaurant is original and that customers get to have a much more fresh experience. ‘Through our direct sourcing and the onsite roasting , we strive to be as transparent as possible with our customers,’ says Duncan. Currently, their pilot farms are in Kiambu in Gatundu South.

To  fortify relationships with customers, the restaurant started coffee brewing classes at the beginning of this year. In these classes, customers are run through the basics of brewing. They are first taken through the farmer story (the cultivation, support, growth and harvest), then the seed to cup model that explains how Connect Coffee sources, process and finally extracts its coffee. Each session takes two hours and only six people are allowed to sign up. On average, the classes happen thrice in a month.

It might look rosy but then, like a normal business challenges are there too. First, finding the right mold of farmers is quite hard. The challenge lies in finding consistent passionate farmers. Another issue has to do with the changing climate patterns such as the increase in surface temperatures that affects the quality of coffee. However, with every waking challenge they have been quick to tackle and used them as a learning experience.

The Future

As far as Menu expansion is concerned, the restaurant is not keen on expanding much like other thriving coffee houses . “Our goal is to specialize in coffee and be the best. We want to be the one stop coffee shop for fresh coffee in the city,’’ says the Manager as the Director Mr. Chris Hwan looks on, and nods in tandem.  They intend to set up a coffee academy that offers the best training for baristas. This will help in posting competent baristas to the different upmarket franchises that they would have opened. They also intend to expand the number of small scale coffee farmers.

 

 

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