An international adventure worth experiencing Past Review

By (English, Angelo State University) - abroad from 08/23/2015 to 12/20/2015 with

Yonsei University at Wonju: Yonsei Global Village Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to be self-confident once I go back to the United States. Be appreciative of being knowledgeable about the customs of a country. I would not trade my time at Yonsei for anything. With the stipend and free dorm room provided, this is a good program if you are like me where you are of below than average income but would like to travel to Asia.

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.

Yonsei definitely has more than a handful of classes that are taught in English for us foreigners to take. All Global Village students are required to take a Korean Language Conversation class and the Korean Cultural Experience (field trips) class. I would have enjoyed to be able to take their Chinese language class, but they only offered the beginning course in the spring semesters.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Yun and Kim Minhye are definitely there to help the exchange students with most of their issues. I can tell that they work very hard to make our stay in Korea proceed with minimum frustration.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The issue of housing is a double-sided blade. The main problems that we encountered in Maeji are how terrible the conditions of the restrooms were kept; housing staff would frequently enter into the opposite sex's dorm side. Also, with the number of people living in each hall, there should be trash pick up every day of the week. HOWEVER, we of the Global Village received free housing, so the program kind of put into place that we do not really have the right of way to complain about things in the dorm.

* Food:

The issue of food depends on whether you are used to exotic/spicy food. If not, then I highly recommend entering Korea with boxes of Pepto-Bismol to last you for your entire trip. Or else, you will experience major stomach issues. For me, I was able to enjoy a rotation of about ten different Korean foods that never failed me, so my options were limited.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The housing staff sets up each Global Village student with 2-3 Koreans to live with. The Korean students each pay a million won in order to join the program, so they are eager to speak with and help non-Koreans. However, by the time that it gets to the second week of classes, the availability of the Korean students becomes sparse due to their needing to concentrate on class assignments and their own personal lives. Try to use the beginning phase of the semester to grow the confidence to do things on your own (ride the bus to Seoul, grocery shopping, and ordering food in a restaurant). If you stay dependent on Koreans to do basic daily activities, then you will just tire them out, and you will be bored when everyone is busy with their own schedules.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The healthcare provided by the university is kind of "Eh." There is a doctor available to help students Monday-Friday in the Student Union. Also, the housing office in each dorm building provides two free pills of cold medicine each day per student. Other than that, if you get a serious injury when the university's doctor is not available, you will need to ask a Korean for help on going to the nearest clinic.

* Safety:

Korea prides itself on being a very safe country where crimes such as assault and theft are not common. However, be warned that you will need to adjust to how crazy Korean drivers are. The cars do not stop or slow down even if you are clearly showing that you are about to cross the street.

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)

The biggest plus of the Global Village program is that the exchange students receive bi-weekly stipends of 200,000-275,000 won (depending on dorm choice). However, you must definitely come to Korea with your own money saved up. Stipends are known to come into our accounts late. Also, for the first few weeks of the program, we all just eagerly waited for our Woori bank account to be created and for our bank books to be given to us.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 20,000-40,000 won per week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try not to go out partying more than once a week, avoid buying things such as shampoo or handsoap at the CU, and try to only use a taxi with a group of two or more people in order to split the cost of the ride.


* 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

You must practice Korean verbally and in writing in order to grow as an independent person in the country. The university provides the Korean classes, but it is up for each individual student to apply the knowledge learned to real life situations.

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
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? Try to use as much Korean with the Korean students in the Global Village. They will be more than happy to correct you if you say something wrong. Don't expect people outside of the university to know English. You must rely on the Korean that you have learned in order to communicate with people outside of Yonsei University.

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
* 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?
  • Field trips
  • Interacting with the other Global VIllage students
  • Low cost meals at the student cafeteries and downtown resteraunts.
* What could be improved?
  • The housing staff should make a rule of no staff allowed in the opposite sex side of the dorm.
  • Offer a bit more classes that are taught in English.
  • Give more notice about on-campus and in-city events that are going on.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? A larger inventory of Korean vocabulary that I should have already known before I came to Korea. Also, to be understanding about the different ways that people do things in other countries (sitting on the floor to eat, standing really close to each other, and students taking their classes extremely seriously).

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!