Go to SNU! February 02, 2019

By (The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 09/01/2018 to 12/14/2018 with

Seoul National University: Seoul - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Studying at SNU was definitely worthwhile. The classes were similar with my classes back home, but slightly easier because they were catered towards international students. In retrospect, what I gained the most was life experience and good friends. I also learned quite a lot of Korean in such a short amount of time.

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 had a blast at SNU and wouldn't trade the friends & memories I made there for the world.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

One of the advisors from the Office of International Affairs at SNU did a great job of checking in with me and making sure I was doing alright. But this was mainly because I was a scholarship recipient. I don't believe every exchange student received individual attention, though the resources were always there.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in a suite of 6 and shared one room with a Korean student. Everyone was really respectful. The suite appliances were great too, and the shower water was always piping hot. I was also really appreciative of the dormitory fee at SNU, which was only roughly 600USD for the whole semester (unlike the 900USD I payed per month back home).

* Food:

If you don't like Korean food or spicy food, then studying at SNU might be a bit of a challenge. On the other hand, if you do like either or both of the above, you'll love the food there. At SNU they had a variety of cafeteria's and cafe's and convenience stores alike, so even if your budget was only 1,000W/meal, there was always something available. While I enjoyed the cafeteria food at first, I found that I most enjoyed going out into the town with friends and trying various Korean foods with them. (esp. barbeque)

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very integrated into the culture, especially because of the SNU Buddy program. To anyone who is debating whether or not to just the SNU buddies, I highly recommend it. Being a part of the group made my studies at SNU so much fun, especially considering how I made so many friends from different countries.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I caught a couple colds while abroad, but the ease and convenience of getting medicine from pharmacies both on and off campus made getting better a lot easier.

* Safety:

I never felt like I was at risk of being harmed or threatened by anyone. Because of the intense CCTV presence in Korea (and on campus at SNU), it seemed like no one really ever committed crimes.

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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Make sure to keep tabs of how much you're spending each week--probably even every day--so you don't end up emptying your pockets before you realize it.

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

The SNU Lei Korean Language Program definitely heavily emphasized speaking in Korean and Korean only from level 2 onwards. In level 2, the teachers still understood enough English to communicate with us if we were struggling to understand a concept.

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? Beginning 2
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? Spend as much time as you can speaking with Koreans! Making Korean friends definitely helps. Even when it comes to simple interactions like talking with the ahjusshi at the convenience store, make it a habit of speaking in Korean and it'll get way easier to speak fluently.

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

  • Local Students
  • 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? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • SNU Buddy Program
  • Korean Language Program (SNU LEI)
  • Convenience of living and studying at SNU
* What could be improved?
  • maybe more personalized attention from faculty at the OIA could be given to foreign exchange students that are not scholarship-recipient-holders (or simply make it more known amongst the foreign exchange students that there are faculty available to help them settle into/get around SNU)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? SNU isn't nearly as pretentious as I thought it'd be. As the best university in Korea with the smartest Korean students, I had assumed that classes would be very challenging and that I wouldn't have time to enjoy living in Korea since I'd be studying all the time. On the contrary, I made so many friends--both Korean friends and foreign friends--that everything from studying together to exploring Korea together was an enjoyable experience. Don't think that students at SNU only study! They definitely know how to have fun.