“My future dreams haven’t changed much but I have come to believe that maybe they can come true!”
Hey Workshift-ers! How are you doing? My name is Nicole Rydz! I am a Polish citizen, currently living in Korea. I am also a retired professional sailor! I have been sailing since I was 7 years old and stopped when I was 18 years old after having won many regattas on the national and international level. Unfortunately, now in Chuncheon where I am studying, I can only sail in the small pond on my univeristy’s campus!
- What was your most memorable sailing experience?
My most memorable experience as a sailor was finishing 13th at my first European Championships in the Optimist class at the age of 15, which were held in Piran/Slovenia in 2009. At that competition I received a medal and was on the podium with all top 15 sailors! As a team we also finished 2nd in Nations Cup!
My last event, the Polish Championship in Warsaw 2012 was also unforgettable, as I won a gold medal in the Junior Female competition and silver medal in the Senior Female category. I was in the top 3 each year, but it was my first time ending with Gold!
All in all, if I were to choose the #1 most unforgettable event, it would be the one in the photo above which was taken at the Nord Cup 2012 held in Gdansk, Poland. At that event I won 6 out of 9 races and prizes! I still use them today!
- What led you to pursue your studies in Korea?
My first time to Korea was in 2014 when I participated in a “International Summer Session in Korean and East Asian Studies 2014” at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. But I have to admit, that Summer Session (photo below) was a piece of cake compared with the life of a real exchange student that I later experienced and finished over a year ago. For reference, in the photo below I am third from the right!
After that Internatonal Summer Session I got accepted to Korean Studies at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. The University is ranked #2 in Poland and offers the best Linguistics studies department in the country. Then, after two years of sleepless nights I finally went to Korea as an exchange student to pursue my “Korean dream”. I was awarded a “K-pies Scholarship” by Adam Mickiewicz University, which is given to the best student within the Korean Major and allows the lucky winner to study at Kangwon National University in Chuncheon, South Korea for one semester free of charge! Besides tuition fees it covers dormitory and cafeteria expenses as well!
（The photo above is from the InternationaI Sports Fetival at Kangwon University.）
- What is your major field of study?
I began my exchange student life at Kangwon University in the Linguistics Department but eventually I applied to the Global Business department because I realised that studying business fits me more than studying linguistics. Also, where else can I learn Korean better than in Korea. However, I am still planning to obtain my degree in Korean Language as soon as I graduate from Kangwon National University. Thanks to my high score on the Test of Proficiency in Korean Language I received a 50% discount for my first semester and I am still receiving great discounts and scholarship money from my lovely hometown of Gdynia. All thanks to my high GPA, above 3.9! I just hope it stays this high forever!
- What have you learned from studying abroad?
Even though studying abroad is way harder than studying in your home country it’s worth it! It teaches you how to be responsible, hard-working and how to make decisions fast and with a clear head in very stressful situations!
I currently live in Chuncheon, Gangwon-do Province, South Korea. Chuncheon is where the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games will be held. It’s located 1.5 ~ 2.0 hours east of Seoul, so it’s not that hard to get to and many Chuncheon dwellers commute to Seoul on a daily basis.
Chuncheon is also the coldest city in Korea in winter and the hottest in the summer. That’s why they call it Chunberia (Chuncheon+Siberia) in the winter and Chunfrica = (Chuncheon+Africa) in the summer!
Since arriving to Korea I have not had much time to travel, but this summer I managed to spend few days with my fiancee on Jeju Island, the biggest island in Korea, and I fell in love with it’s beautiful sandy beaches and delicious fresh sea food. The nature on Jeju-do is irreplaceable and I have never ever seen anything even slightly similar. If you ever go to Jeju don’t forget to use a lot of sun screen as you may get severely sunburned there (as I did)!
Aside from Korea the two other places I have visited in Asia are Macau and Hong Kong. In the near future I am hoping to visit other parts of Asia! The top destinations on my wish list are Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam and Japan!
- How did you hear about Workshift?
Around May of this year my fiancee bumped into Workshift when scrolling through one of the SNS sites on the internet! He then encouraged me to create an account and take a chance to gain some work experience in the real world before graduating! This became an obsession for me and I quickly registered!
- How does freelancing fit with your daily life?
Freelancing has many benefits. It allows you to get work experience regardless of whether you have a 9 to 5 job or a full academic day of studies. You can match your jobs with your daily schedule and apply for only those projects which you are sure you can give a 100% effort and complete. It fits my lifestyle perfectly as I am a bit busy in daily life. Also, as a European I am a perfectionist, so it is important for me to choose jobs on Workshift with outcomes that can be satisfactory both for me and the client. It is a big milestone for me in terms of building my self-confidence!
- Have your future plans changed because of Workshift?
Thanks to the friendly staff at Workshift I have realised that not all bosses are scary and that adult life can be nice! Workshift gave me a lot of confidence and has motivated me to work harder! My future dreams haven’t changed much because of Workshift, but I have come to believe that maybe they can come true!
My future plans include graduating with a Masters degree in both Korean and Global Business and open my own company or a B&B in some “remote, but spotlessly beautiful place”!
- What are you impressions of Workshift?
Workshift stands out in many ways. In comparison with other websites of this kind I would say:
Workshift staff are way more friendly and helpful, they care about their freelancers.
One does not feel any pressure when having to inquire about something!
It gives you a remarkable chance to work with Japanese companies, which is hard to achieve via any other channel.
These are some of the things that made me like Workshift so much and made me feel like I am a part of it.
- What advice would you give to new freelancers?
Don’t be scared! Be bold! Take a chance to be a part of Workshift! Open your account and apply for some job that suits your abilities! Even if you fail once, you will get it next time! I had to fail myself a few times before I could get my first job! Good luck Everyone!