Study Abroad in Seoul!! February 13, 2019

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 08/21/2018 to 12/21/2018 with

CIEE: Seoul - Arts and Sciences

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much about Korean culture, how America is viewed by the rest of the world, and confidence in myself and my ability to adapt to an entirely different living situation.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Study abroad courses (meant for exchange students) were interesting, but not super intense. I took two classes in the Computer Science and Design Yonsei departments which were a lot more challenging and substantive.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

CIEE Seoul is the best! The staff was super helpful, I felt like I could contact them any time and they could solve any problem I had. Whether it's having trouble with getting cell phone service or dealing with very sensitive issues, they were fantastic and they felt like a family.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Dorms are clean and quiet. The rules at Yonsei are very strict, but as long as you follow them, there shouldn't be a problem. If I were to do it again, I would get a single -- my roommate was great, but the dorms are just incredibly small.

* Food:

Food was great! Spicy at times, but manageable if you're careful. Vegetarians and vegans will have trouble eating out, but if you're dedicated, I would recommend cooking in the kitchen at the dorms.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The Seoulmate program was super fun and I loved my small group. A lot of students complain about not having interactions with local students, but they also don't seem to make an effort on their end. I would say try to take a non-study abroad course; I made friend with local students during group projects.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The dorms are right by Severance Hospital, one of the best in the country, and CIEE will take you on a tour of the hospital and the international wing. Pharmacies are everywhere and almost everyone speaks English.

* Safety:

Incredibly safe. I felt safer there than at my home institution. Be wary of motorcycles and cars going down narrow streets, though.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

CIEE Seoul was amazing; a lot of non-CIEE students complained about not having a lot of resources to help with problems or guiding them throughout their stay. But CIEE was an amazing resource and support system.


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Spending $100 on food/personal expenses is reasonable here, (you can get a full meal at the student union building cafe for $3-5), but I would say that's the minimum you'd need to survive. To really experience Seoul life with other people in the program, it'll be more for sure (maybe less than $200/week but not by much).

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100-180
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Budget for the phone bill. It'll come to about $60 a month. Other than that, try to remember that experiences are better than things; Korea sells a lot of products (clothing, stationary, random items) for a fraction of the American cost. You'll be tempted to buy more; try to refrain and put more towards experiences!


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • CIEE Staff
  • Food
  • Living in the City
* What could be improved?
  • CIEE orientation was very intense, for some it might be too much
  • More vegetarian/vegan resources
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Even though CIEE says don't bring a towel, just know that the towels that are sold by most places in Korea are hand/face towels -- not full size. I finally found a full towel at Costco, but it took me weeks to find a place that sold them.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!