Seoul has my Soul! December 05, 2018

By (Brown University) - abroad from 06/25/2018 to 08/02/2018 with

Korea University: Seoul - International Summer Campus

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I'm able to speak beginner/intermediate level Korean now! I also gained amazing memories with a lot of local and international students (now friends!) of midnight karaoke, convenience store snacks, and in general, exploring Seoul.

Review Photos

Korea University: Seoul - International Summer Campus Photo Korea University: Seoul - International Summer Campus Photo Korea University: Seoul - International Summer Campus Photo Korea University: Seoul - International Summer Campus Photo Korea University: Seoul - International Summer Campus Photo

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 was in the beginning Korean language class and I didn't think I would be able to learn so much about the language in 6 weeks. I came to Korea University with no understanding of the language outside of "Hello," "Thank you," and "Where is the restroom?," but when I left Korea University, I was able to speak in full sentences, read, write, and understand. Classes were taught at a adequately fast pace because there's a fair amount of information to get through in only six weeks, but if you paid attention and did minimal studying, you were able to keep up fairly easily! I really loved the language class because my professor was really open to questions and tried to explain everything the best she could for students that came from different educational backgrounds. Her teaching was very extensive -- we not only learned how to speak, grammar, how to properly write, etc.., but also the history and culture of the language and. When I was in the program, I was in the pre-college program, so I was only a high school senior, but I was still able to keep up with the content at the same level as the other undergraduate students. In terms of resources, the professor was available over email or Kakao messaging so it was very easy to reach out! In terms of intensity, the course was intense enough that you could learn a lot and really engage with the material, but also not stress and have time to explore the city/country.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Korea University's administration was helpful. Before the program, they responded very quickly to all my emails and concerns.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The dorms (I stayed in CJ) were beautiful and spacious. They were also cleaned very frequently. The kitchen area was always really clean as well and very accessible. My dorm was also near the shuttle stops so everything was very accessible. However, if you live in CJ, do be aware that it's at the top of a huge hill! Also in my dorm building was a piano room and laundry room in the basement.

* Food:

Food in Korea is amazing! I miss it so much! Everything on campus or around campus is really affordable and delicious! I'm so sad I didn't get to try everything. There's also convenience store food for when you're running late, and it's also really yummy!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I went during the summer so there weren't as many students on campus as there probably would be during the normal school year. However, the buddy system was nice because it introduced me to actual Korean students. In terms of local culture, it was very immersive and nice to have fun with other students.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any health issues, but at the beginning of the program during orientation, they went over how to access health-related centers and talked extensively about gender/comfort issues and who to contact.

* Safety:

Seoul is so safe! As a female solo traveler, I was really amazed by the atmosphere and how polite everyone was. I dropped my subway card on the subway at one point and was already outside but someone ran after me to give it to me and missed their own subway! I can't think of one instance in my six weeks where I felt endangered or uneasy.

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

The program made everything really accessible! It also gave me the social aspect of university life and I was able to make a lot of friends while I was in a completely new city where I didn't know anyone. It was also very safe and allowed me to learn the language at a immersive pace.

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)

It was very easy to live on a student budget. I could easily spend less than $15 a day for food (which includes a ton of free side dishes). Transportation is also really cheap and accessible. But do bear in mind that if you want to explore the city a lot, you'll be spending more on transportation -- although it's totally worth it! Souvenirs are affordable and if you like shopping, clothes is also cheap and really cute.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Probably around $100-120
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you are on a really tight budget, convenience store food is super cheap and it's pretty good. I'd also rely on the subway system as a form of transportation instead of using taxis -- they're loads cheaper and probably faster.

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

We primarily spoke Korean in class and the professor taught in a mix of Korean and English that was very understandable.

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
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? Immerse yourself in the pop culture. Listen to music, watch movies with subtitles, find friends to practice with!

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

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

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

  • 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?
  • cultural activities
  • language component
  • food
* What could be improved?
  • transportation to the airport after the program ends
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I would have known how sad I'd be even in the months after leaving Seoul! Can't wait to go back!

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.