What is ESID? Some wonderful new scholarship? Some random government agency?


ESID is (or was) the mantra of the JET Programme in Japan. It stands for “Every Situation is Different.” And I think it applies quite well to KGSP as well. It’s something everyone should keep in mind both when applying and when participating in KGSP.

ESID basically means that you should not expect to have exactly the same experience as others, and what applies to some people doesn’t necessarily apply to you.

It all starts when you apply. First, each country has that darned quota. Each country’s quota is different. Each embassy has a different process for choosing people. Each country will end up with a different standard of applicants. You may be a very strong candidate from a very competitive country and not get the scholarship, while others you think are weaker do get it. Your country’s embassy may only accept people who have studied Korean, while other countries accept even people who haven’t studied Korean.

Unfortunately, that’s just the way the scholarship works. Every situation is different.

Then you are accepted.  You have to spend a lot of money to get a medical exam, while people in other countries can do it very simply. You have turn in extra forms for your visa that people in other countries don’t need. Every situation is different.

Then you arrive in Korea. Your dormitory fee is very expensive, while a different university has cheaper dorms. Your dorm doesn’t have kitchen facilities, but your friend’s dorm does. Your curfew is very early, while another university doesn’t have a curfew. Your language course spends a week learning hangeul, while another just spends two days.

Every situation is different.

If you look for them, you will be able to find any number of things that seem unfair to complain about. But with 800+ participants from all over the world, it is impossible to provide every single person with exactly the same experience. Even if you could, they would come with such different expectations that some people would be satisfied, and some people would not.

I’m not necessarily saying that there will never be a legitimate reason to complain, or that you will never encounter something that is unnecessarily unfair. I’m just saying that the less you try to compare your situation to other people’s, the happier you’ll be in the long run.

Try to make the best of the situation you have been given. In the end, if you have gotten the scholarship, you already have a big advantage over people who are not selected, so try not to worry about the differences between you and other scholarship grantees.