Life in South Korea Past Review

By (Linguistics, ) for

CIEE: Seoul - Summer Korean Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Absolutely. I feel like I really got to see what it's like to live in Korea. I think I will go back there to teach English when I graduate. And I definitely want to work there in something more long-term.

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.

I took two classes in Korea. One was taught by an American professor, so that class was very similar in style to the classes I'm used to at my home university. The other was my language class. I learned a lot more from that class than I ever have in any of my Korean classes at my home university. We spent much more time in class and the teachers only spoke Korean. Instead of giving us an English translation for every word, they defined words using simpler Korean. That helped me learn a lot better, since I had to figure out for myself what the words meant. The workload was not too heavy, though it was greater than the workload in my Korean classes in the US. Overall it was very effective and rewarding to study Korean in a South Korean classroom.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Our program staff were very knowledgeable about Korea and were always able to answer our questions about where to get things we needed. They were extremely accessible too.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Dorms are always convenient and comfortable. I did wish that it had been closer to the subway though. The international dorm is really new, but kind of far from the subways stop.

* Food:

There's food nearby and there are cafeterias in the dorm. It's very easy and cheap to get food. If you're allergic to anything you should learn how to ask if the thing you're allergic to is in whatever you order. The only bad experience I remember with food was when I ordered my first meal. I found something that didn't seem to me like it would have seafood in it, but it turned out it had shrimp in it, so I felt really sick. After that I learned how to ask about seafood and never had trouble again.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The three-day field trip before orientation was great! I especially liked getting to see some of the historical/cultural sights outside of Seoul. As far as the social experience, I just wanted to say that Koreans are really, really nice and will help you with anything you need.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I didn't encounter any issues with health, nor did I hear about any. Seoul is very, very safe. You should still take normal precautions, like not going out late at night by yourself, but you don't need to worry as much as you would in Europe

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

We practiced the language with our teachers and just about everyone we encountered. Most Koreans know some English but are too shy to speak it, so we did use it a lot in our everyday interactions

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The great thing about going to South Korea is that you get to experience life there. You're not just a tourist; there are so many things to do beyond just seeing monuments and museums. This program is especially beneficial to people who want a taste of life outside the US. It's also really good for people studying Korean. Really, really good. You learn so much more there than in your classrooms in the US.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

social psychology

Course Department:
Instructor: Leslie Paik
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was not challenging. There weren't any field trips, but our teacher did try to relate the course content to things she observed in Korea. She did seem knowledgeable and prepared. I did not participate much in class. It was very much like a class at my home university.
Credit Transfer Issues: no
Course Name/Rating:

Korean - Beginner 3

Course Department:
Instructor: Kang Sonsaengnim
Instruction Language: Korean
Comments: This course was very effective and informative. The two instructors (whose names I don't really remember because we only knew them as sonsaengnim) were very good at communicating the meaning of words without resorting to English translations. I think that's what made the course so effective: We constantly had to use Korean to understand the new words, so we were building on things we already knew.
Credit Transfer Issues: no