Find Your Seoul Past Review

By (Truman State University) - abroad from 06/19/2016 to 08/06/2016 with

CIEE: Seoul - Summer Korean Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Mostly I learned that I can adapt to new situations and figure things out by myself, even when I an around completely unfamiliar things. Honestly, this is a place where I might want to live, and so this experience definitely helped me realise that.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

This depends largely on what you take, but both of the classes that I took were really interesting and taught by good professors. For my Asian American Literature class (which was taught in English), there was quite a bit of reading, but was expected with the nature of the class. My professor was James Kyung-Jin Lee and he was greatly engaging and honestly a very interesting lecturer. I also took a Korean language class (taught in Korean), and my professor was very good about making sure concepts were clear, even while only using Korean,

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Amazing, all of the staff are extremely helpful and kind. If I ever had any questions or concerns, they were very helpful and gave me the information that I needed. They were also very easy to contact and available very often.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The Yonsei dorms are a bit small, and the room with the shower doesn't have a door, but overall they were completely acceptable for the time I was there. The beds were relatively comfortable, and even with the heat in Seoul the AC was able to keep the room cold.

* Food:

Food in Korea is so good and it's cheap too. You can get ramen and gimbap for like, a dollar in convenience stores if you really don't want to spend much, and the cafeteria on Yonsei's campus also has some good options for not much more.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I will say that I stuck with my group quite a bit, but with the Seoulmates program I got to spend a lot of time with native Korean students and so I did get to experience what living in Seoul would be like, rather than just going around to all the different tourist-y places. I also did get some opinions about places that are good to go and the best ways to get there, so I definitely think my experience was way different than if I just went there by myself.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I myself didn't have really any experiences, but some people I knew did, and they seemed to be able to get good care. My program advisors were really good about helping people and telling them what to do in order to get care. In terms of vaccines, I did have to get a TB test done, but there was nothing outside of that.

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe while I was in Korea, even when it was at night. Like being any place alone, you should be aware of the things around you, but I never had any bad experiences, and neither did anyone else in my group. Seoul is actually very safe when it comes to crime. I will say that you might get some comments if you are female (I certainly did), but they were much calmer than anything I have received in the States.

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


* 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)

Food can be made really cheap in Korea, and transportation is also really cheap (only about two dollars for a round trip within Seoul). Most of the money I spent was on souvenirs and things like makeup and skincare, since these are really well made in Korea. Overall, I could have made my trip pretty cheap.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Probably about $100


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

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

This was definitely not considered to be an intensive language program, and so English was used quite a lot. A lot of the usage was mostly personal, so if you wanted to use Korean, there was definitely an opportunity to.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Just use it. As much as you can. That's the best way to learn.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • The Country
  • The Food
  • The People
* What could be improved?
  • Amount of time there
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How much the 14 hour flight was gonna suck.

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!