Korea is the hidden gem of the world! Past Review

By (Astrophysics, mathematics, St. Cloud State University) - abroad from 08/27/2013 to 12/21/2012 with

Yonsei University at Wonju: Yonsei Global Village Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I have learned that there are people out there who still truly respect and care for people as a whole. Koreans have an inert bond between every other Korean that causes them to fight and strive for the best 100% of the time. I also learned that my family is very proud of me and that I really missed them when I was gone. I also met my girl friend there, which made the whole trip worthwhile, but also every other experience I had traveling in and around Korea made it worthwhile.

Review Photos

Yonsei University at Wonju: Yonsei Global Village Program Photo Yonsei University at Wonju: Yonsei Global Village Program Photo Yonsei University at Wonju: Yonsei Global Village Program Photo Yonsei University at Wonju: Yonsei Global Village Program Photo Yonsei University at Wonju: Yonsei Global Village Program 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 had a wonderfully stimulating time learning a new language and new culture as I was immersed in the local culture. Although the academic challenges were different from what I was used to, they allowed me to grow in the ways I communicate and teach with others. I found that the professors demanded respect from students who gave it to them with out any hesitation. I have never seen a body of students who work as hard as Korean students do. Even in my studies I have not found myself studying with the intensity they do. It was and is very motivational. I feel like I was missing out in some of the hardships the other students were going through because I was taking English based classes when my first language is such. However, I did find these hardships elsewhere traveling around the country side.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

For the most part we mostly informed well about information and events. There always were some aspects of confusion about what was expected of us or why we had to do various things. I believe the administration worked hard to keep our group alive and excited to be in Korea.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We lived in typical dorms, with wonderfully heated floors. The living space was no bother to me, even if we shared one room with 4 people in it. I live in a large family and I've lived in dorms my whole college life. The bathrooms were at first a shock because the showers were public and open. But if you learned to take showers at odd times during the day you could miss the traffic of people in the morning. Another thing that we all constantly battled with was the midnight curfew and the 2am cut-off time for the internet. Many of us liked to be out late to enjoy the night at a good korean bbq place, 노래방, or bar so the midnight curfew hampered these activities. Also, if we were trying to cram for homework, 99% of the time internet was needed so it was annoying that our internet access was shut off. Thankfully we knew Korean students who had wifi hotspots. Other than these things, the dorms were very safe from outsiders and they had convenient water dispensers.

* Food:

All the food was fantastic in Korea. Even the cafeteria food was delicious! Although, it took awhile to get used to eating a ton of rice each meal, but the 김치 was always delicious! We had also experienced many restaurants in Korea both local and in Seoul.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Our roommates helped us feel at home in Korea. Also meeting many friends from the Global Village program made it feel like we all were family. When we went to restaurants many of the servers and owners would be happy to see that we chose their restaurant to eat. Some of the local owners even began to know who we were so they always were happy to see us. Learning how to speak the language was a necessity, it was a must when buying anything or wanting to order something, or even trying to traverse the subway or bus system. I felt very apart of the culture, especially when I was able to celebrate 추석 with one of my old friends I had when he was studying abroad at SCSU.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

From what I have heard and understood, the health care system in Korea is much more stable than America's. The only reason why someone would think America's health care system is better is because in fact they have better technology and treatments, IF you have the money. But, if you don't have money then the health care system in America is a nightmare. The vaccines I had to get before I went to Korea were very minimal and were no problem to get.

* Safety:

I felt more safe in Korea walking in the back alleys than I do walking around my own neighborhood. Korea is the most safe place I have been. There were many instances when I would accidentally for leave things behind and would think that they would be stolen for sure, but in every instance the items were laying just how I left them. I was amazed at the respect and honesty of the Korean students. They all looked out for each other even though they didn't know the person.

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)

If we didn't travel away from campus very often, the student budget would have been plenty. But if you want to travel, extra money will be needed.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? About 150$ a week (trips to Seoul and Wonju downtown, etc), including a trip to Japan which costed 500$ all together (including airfare)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Most restaurants and bars are very cheap as well as the public transportation. The only things that are more expensive is electronics and LED lamps, and other random things. Eating from the cafeteria will save money on food, getting a T-money card will also save a little money for bus/subway rides.


* 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

Every moment we were encouraged to speak and learn Korean. My roommates would help me practice and study and this knowledge of the language made everyone respect you more, even if you only said 감사합니다. At the beginning of the program it was difficult to use Korean, so we had to use English often, but as time went on Korean because used more often.

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? I only learned from Korean friends, and self teaching
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? Do not be afraid to practice or use the language. In every moment that you can try to use the language. Also, ask many questions about words and be very observant of the way students speak to each other and interact with each other. The more you can understand the language and how it is used the more you can understand the culture and people. It is also helpful to learn 한글 (Hanguel) the Korean alphabet before the person leaves Korea. Any good student can learn to read the characters after 2 weeks of studying.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local 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?
  • Close relationship between Korean friends
  • We got payed to teach and spread English
* What could be improved?
  • Maybe expectations shown more clearly
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had brought more gifts for my roommates and close friends from America. I also wish I had conquered my fear of speaking the language before I went, because it would have made it easier to learn more.

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.