Best Summer Study Abroad Program July 29, 2016

By (Saint Mary's College, Indiana) - abroad from 06/22/2016 to 07/21/2016 with

Ewha Womans University: Seoul - International Co-ed Summer College

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how to navigate in a city. I grew up in a small farm town, but I was able to function in a foreign city so well that I know more about Seoul and all its little nuances than I do my own town. I grew braver as I realized that I could do all of these things I was afraid I would never understand or overcome. I also have made some of the best friends I've ever made, and we have already made plans to all get together and fly over to Seoul again next year to continue our adventures and say hello to our local Korean friends. I was also able to visit ancient palaces and temples and participate in amazing local events, which were totally free, and that has allowed me to manage my time better but also to take control of and cease opportunities for fun events in other areas. This program definitely provides an opportunity for growth and fun, but one of the most important things I have learned from this is to be brave and force yourself to participate and learn how to function here to truly experience Seoul.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was avoiding a visit to the doctor's office when in Seoul because I was afraid of the expense I would incur from an appointment, but Ewha immediately found out and sent me information about where and when to find a doctor, and I was relieved to learn it would cost me no more than $10. They were very helpful, and they typically acted this quickly and efficiently for other issues as well, which made me feel safer knowing that I would basically be taken care of during my stay there.

* Safety:

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

Finances

* 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)

I've never seen healthier, cheaper food than in Seoul. For around just 90 cents, one could eat fresh good food. Generally, meals at any place in the surrounding areas of Ewha had huge meals for under 7 dollars, and the on campus food could provide tasty meals for under 3 dollars in some places. I'm not sure how Seoul is able to provide such cheap, fresh, delicious food, but it sure made the stay better for me.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 35-50 dollars
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Be careful about budgeting yourself, especially when you see the cosmetics and clothes Korea has. I definitely went crazy with shopping when I first got there, so make sure that you first have space in your luggage and to set aside money for other things, like transportation and food, first.

Language

* 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

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Your PEACE Buddy (the student adviser you're assigned to) will take you out to places quite frequently -- pay attention the words she uses (ie: when calling a waiter, when saying thank you, etc.) and ask her for tips and help with Korean. I didn't take a Korean language course, but I still managed to pick up on important phrases through her and just going out with people in general. It's not extremely necessary as most Koreans have at least a basic understanding of English, but it did make things a bit easier when people wanted to converse as we could communicate with key words and phrases.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Helpful and efficient people in charge of the program -- they worked quickly and helped with every little thing, including issues that popped up for me that occurred off-campus. They were dedicated and kind and extremely hard working.
  • PEACE Buddies: I've heard horror stories from study abroad / exchange students from other universities in Seoul, and one consistent problem was how little their student advisers were involved in and how little they helped the study abroad students. This made me appreciate the PEACE Buddies so much more. They end up being some of your best friends, always there providing assistance when necessary and making sure to take you out to experience Korean culture through fun experiences and events. I'm still close with many PEACE Buddies today -- I feel as though I've gotten new sisters. They're definitely a huge perk to Ewha's program, especially since the other major universities in Seoul fail to match this aspect in their own exchange and study abroad programs.
  • Location: We were right in the middle of Seoul, and close to the ancient temples and palaces, cool art districts, traditionally styled towns, along with the party towns and fun areas for young people. People I met from other universities had to travel up to 60+ minutes just to get to places that were within walking distance for Ewha students, so that definitely helped. We also had a bus station and a subway station right off campus.
* What could be improved?
  • This place was honestly perfect in my eyes. I was provided with help every step of the way, I was given opportunities for fun, and was able to meet people I'm extremely close with (locally and globally). This program was really great.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? To come to Korea with extra space in my bag. The stores here provide high quality, cheap products that one can't find in other parts, so definitely make sure you've given yourself extra space and that your bag is underweight. Also, make sure that when you go out to restaurants that you look for restaurants that have English somewhere in the title or in the advertisements. Most restaurants have English speaking staff and English menus, but if you see a restaurant without any sort of English, it's likely that there aren't English menus or English speaking staff so only go with Korean speakers for that.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.