An incredible summer in Seoul September 04, 2019

By (Washington State University) - abroad from 06/24/2019 to 07/19/2019 with

The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Seoul - Korea University International Summer Campus

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My trip to Korea was definitely worthwhile. I began teaching myself Korean in high school, and continued my language education formally in college. This trip really renewed my interest and desire to learn the language and pushed me to further develop my skills. I was able to learn a lot about the culture and language while I was there. This program also allowed me to really work in line with my values and connect and learn from people who I never would have had the chance to meet otherwise. I gained skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and resilience, in addition to some life long friendships.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I was nervous going to school in Korea. I knew that academics in east Asia can be very intense, and I was preparing myself for long nights of studying and nonstop homework. When I arrived at Korea University, however, things changed. There was no mountain of homework, and the amount of studying I had to do for class was reasonable. It was much like school here in the United States. Class was incredibly enjoyable, with my professor really making the effort to get to know his class, and doing his best to make the content relevant, engaging, and exciting. He was also very open to answering questions and meeting with students. I felt very supported in my class, and motivated to succeed. International Relations at Korea University's International Summer School was probably the best class I have taken in my collegiate career.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program started off with an orientation and provided a buddy service, so that you were in a group with 10 or so fellow international students and 1 KU buddy to help show you around. Orientation was very helpful and easy, and I found it to be a great introduction to campus and the program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing at KU was very much like the dorms in the United States, though a little nicer. For those who lived on-campus, arrangements were either for double or triple rooms, often with an attached bathroom. The rooms were nice and clean, and sheets/blankets were provided, as were pillows. I think the only issue that I had with the housing was the lack of AC in the rooms. While they did have units in the room, it was not very effective, and it shut off before the room could begin cooling off, which was frustrating.

* Food:

While I did not eat anything on campus, with the exception of the kimbap I purchased at the CU, I did have a lot of experience with restaurants in the area. I had indulged in Korean food before my trip, I was exposed to countless new dishes. Things do tend to be more on the spicy side, but they are delicious.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Honestly, I feel that abroad trips are what you make of them. If you try to integrate, you can, but it definitely takes effort, and a lot of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. In my experience, it can be done fairly easily in Korea, especially since people tend to be very friendly and open to talking with foreigners.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

While I personally did not need to receive any medical care, several of my friends did need to see a doctor. From what they said and what I saw, it was very easy to access, though it did take same time to wait for a translator if you went at night. I did not need to receive any vaccines before going abroad, but I did volunteer to take the typhoid series.

* Safety:

Korea was incredibly safe. I never felt as if I were in any kind of danger. You could leave your computer on a table in a coffee shop and not have to worry about it being stolen, and you could walk down the street late at night and not have to worry about being harassed.

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

TEAN's Summer in Seoul program was incredibly fulfilling, and really met all the expectations I had for my study abroad program. There was amazing support from program staff both in and out of the country. My class was engaging and fun, yet informative. Korea University, itself, was beautiful and truly lives up to its name. Korea is an incredible country full of genuine people who really make you feel welcome, but also encourage you to try new things. It's very easy to fall in love with Korea, and I am so thankful that this program facilitated everything for me. It was an incredible summer.

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)

Korea is very affordable, especially for students. The biggest expense was food, but that was easily manageable, and my friends and I budgeted about $25 a day for it, though you could easily budget less if you were open to eating primarily from convenience store or at smaller restaurants. Transportation was incredibly cheap, even the taxis. I think that Korea is a great destination for students on a budget.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

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
  • 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?
  • Location
  • Classes
  • Program support
* What could be improved?
  • I would have liked for my KU buddy to be a bit more involved
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I would have liked to know that the academics during the international summer programs are not as intense as regular classes at KU or at home institutions. I was very nervous about my about to preform academically, but once I arrived and classes began, I was confident I could succeed.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!