I'm coming back to Korea for sure! Past Review

By (The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 03/02/2012 to 06/14/2012 with

Hanyang University: Seoul - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I honestly loved it there. Comparing to Austin, it is such a lively city. You don't really need to drive because of their convenient subway system. And you could literally just walk out of your house, walk a block away and there would be restaurants lined up. No need to drive just to find food.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

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?

The housing was free which was great! Although the rules were a bit strict... "curfew at 1AM" "no guest" "no food" "no instant noodles (ramen)". No place to cook. No microwave (unless if you go to the building next door). Only two shared refrigerators that everyone steals food from. But because the dorming was free, I didn't really mind. If...however, there was a fee for the housing, it would be unacceptable to live there.

* Food:

The food from Korea was great. The prices were very cheap. One could spend only 5~7 dollars and get a really nice meal. There are other cheap dishes too for around $3. However....any food other than Korean food are quite expensive and not all that great tasting. It...would also be very hard to live as a vegetarian in Korea since it's a very meat-loving country.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program offered everyone who signed up for one a mentor. It depends on who your mentor is, but my mentor was very helpful. He introduced me to many Korean friends, take me to eat many type of Korean food, and showed me around. After living there for 3~4 months, I feel quite comfortable there. I wouldn't say I'm a "local," but I'm quite familiar with the country now.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I honestly did not really run into any big problems with health care. Although, I really did not like the health care/insurance program that the University of Texas at Austin forced us to buy. It was really expensive, and there were not much information given about the program. I think maybe because it was more of a general insurance than a health insurance but I felt like it did not benefit me whatsoever. I could have easily signed up for healthcare insurance in country for 1/3 of the price and get great benefits because of the convenient and cheap healthcare policy in Korea. The healthcare system in Korea is so cheap that the people there would recommend someone to go to the "hospital" even for just a fever.

* Safety:

Depending on where you come from, but I honestly think that Seoul is quite a safe place. In America, you would not leave your purse lying around, but I've come to a habit of just setting my purse down at a table and go to the restroom and not having to worry about anyone touching my purse. Of course walking at night, it could be somewhat scary in almost any country, but I've never ran into anything during my study abroad trip in country. People still run around the neighborhood to exercise at night.

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)

Comparing to America, it was quite easy to live in Seoul. I'm not sure why under the question there was: (1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week). Is $100/week for food+personal expenses in America considered a lot? Because in America, unless if you don't eat, or just eat fast food, it is at least $8/meal. If you go to a bit nicer restaurant, maybe even $10~15/meal. 2 meals/day at least and that is around $18~20/day. 7 days a week and that's around $150 JUST for food. I only spend around $100~120/week on food, light shopping, coffee, transportation, and other fun activities.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100~120
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I really have no tips unless if the program actually gives you a kitchen to cook. It is not that expensive to live in Korea. I think about $600/month you can eat well, play well, and quite a bit of shopping.


* 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

The Korea people aren't very good with English unless if you go to a tourist shopping district. I had to use Korean everyday and I enjoyed the practice

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? There was 6 levels, level 6 is fluent. I finished level 3, and could have taken level 4 if I had stayed
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? Make friends with people who do not speak your language. I made a lot of Korean,Chinese, and Japanese friends who do not speak English. Our only common language was whatever Korean we learned in class. It was really good practice when I speak with them. Oh! And you can practice with taxi drivers! I sometimes have short conversations with them in Korean.

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

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

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • Free dorming
  • Cheap food
  • Korea's amazing transportation system: subway
* What could be improved?
  • Better dorming with more utilities like a kitchen/personal (or at least just more) refridgerator
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That...Korean winter clothes are so much better. Never should have brought my heavy coats over. They weren't half as warm as even a light sweater from Korea. Oh! I also wished that I knew before going that Korean people really stare at you if you wear low cut shirts....so girls! No American V-neck shirts...