Academic experiences:
I was enrolled into the Korea University Business School(KUBS), and studied mostly marketing courses. In Korea University, classes are shorter & more to the point. They were conducted in Seminar style format, where both the Lectures & Tutorials are combined but held twice a week. All of the classes I enrolled into were in english, but It was not easy to get into the classes at first as all the english classes would be reflected as FULL. This is due to the fact that exchange students are not given the same enrollment schedule as local students. But eventually, after some emails, knocking on doors of professors, and much determination & persistence, I managed to get all the desired courses.

Personal experiences/What you got out of it:
Going to KU as an exchange student was the best decision I have ever made in my university life. KU has a excellent buddy system, Korea University Buddy Assistants(KUBA). From day one, I was assigned a KUBA group (10 in total) and a buddy, who will helped me settle down. This buddy is not just there for the first few days of university, he/she will be there all throughout.

The various KUBA groups organised many events throughout the semester(i.e. weekly or twice weekly) and some even organise short travels to Jeju Island or Busan together! The official events of KUBA like Welcoming Party, Koyon Jeon (Korea University vs Yonsei University Games), Field Day, International Students' Festival(ISF), and End-of-Semester Party are not to be missed!

Although I did not speak a word of Korean, the friendships I forged with Koreans and International Students was indescribable, we had an amazing time in fall semester 2012. I picked up Hanguul (or Korean Language) from the streets, & that was enough for me to get around.

Accommodation:
I was very lucky, as I was attending summer school in Paris (at the IESEG School of Management) just before this exchange, I did not really look much into the logistics of my Korea exchange. Hence, I literally arrived at the airport without an accommodation secured or booked (please don't try this if you don't feel comfortable, I have travelled relatively widely & also coming to Australia to study was very much of an experience in itself).

I made some very good Korean friends in Paris, & asked them where to stay in Korea, with some prerequisite criteria. I had a friend studying in Seoul National University(SNU), so we wanted a place in between KU & SNU, that was alive at night, and interesting area in itself. My friends recommended me two places, Hongdae (Hongik Univ) or Itaewon (Foreigner Town) and so I asked the airport information counter where there would be more backpackers hostels(guesthouses in Korea), they pointed to Hongdae. In the heart of Hongdae there are easily 30 guesthouses around the area.

After moving around a few guesthouses, we eventually ended up at BLU Guesthouse 1 Hongdae, where we met Jay, the owner. We lived at his guesthouse for a week, in the mean time we went house hunting across Seoul, with little luck.

Most exchange students of Korea University either live in on-campus dormitories or in Goshitels or Goshiwons around Anam Subway station. However, I wanted to live off-campus in a proper apartment, with my friend who was studying in SNU, so we can hang out together after school. Eventually we found a 2 bedroom apartment in next door to BLU Guesthouse with the help of Jay.

Expenses:
The estimate given by Korea University is pretty accurate but since Korea is an amazing place for shopping, you might need to bring more cash to fund splurges. Also, travelling & trips will cost additional money, so be prepared for it. Meal plans on dormitories are quite restrictive, so I would advice against it as it might come out more expensive to have a meal plan & still eat out with friends.

5 TOP TIPS:

  • Say Yes - when people ask you to go somewhere or eat something strange, just say yes, be social, try new things!
  • Don't bring too much clothes, so you have the opportunity to fill up your suitcase with shopping while you are here! (Dongdaemun, Edae, Express Bus Terminal, Myeong-dong, Gmarket, etc)
  • Travel to neighboring countries - with budget Low Cost Carriers, like JejuAir, Eastarjet, AirBusan, T'way, Jin Air, AirAsia, FlyPeach, you can explore many places on the weekends like Japan, China, Vietnam,Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and North Korea, if your wallet permits!
  • Be Sporty - Korea has many chances to do sports or outdoor adventure sports for cheap! Bungee Jumping, ATV, White Water Rafting, Snow Rafting, Ice Skiing, Ice Skating, Mountain Climbing. There many runs & marathons throughout the year as well, if thats your thing!
  • Try Sogating, Korean Blind Dating, you might find your love of your life while having fun. Don't worry, if you fail the first time, just try & try again!

 

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