Nicola - Korea University

B Journalism/Arts
Semester 2, 2018
Life in Korea was fast paced, exciting and different in the best way possible!

Academic experience

Despite the competitive registration system, I managed to get five courses: Legislative Process, Politics of Northeast Asia, IR of EU, Intro to Political Science and Democracy/Capitalism. If you are having trouble registering for classes, it usually helped to just go talk to your professor to have them sign a waiver form, as there were only a number of spaces for international students. As a whole I would say the workload was very similar to UQ even though at times the content felt easier.

Personal experience

Prior to studying in Korea, I knew almost nothing about the culture, food and language. Living in Seoul not only exposed me to a new way of life but also gave me the opportunity to meet locals and internationals alike. On top of that I learnt how to read hangul and converse basic Korean, something I never imagined I would be able to do. Moving to Korea really was an incredible experience.

Accommodation

I decided to live in an off campus goshiwon called Rachel Livingtel as I had heard mixed things the dorms. Although slightly more expensive than the dorms, I loved the convenience of living in the middle of Anam and would definitely recommend Rachel Livingtel to anyone wanting a very sociable experience.

Costs

Aside from rent, Seoul was quite cheap to live in. I would say my monthly expenses broke down into the following:

Rent: 500,00 won
Food/Drinks: 400,000 won
Transport: 40,000 won (or less)
Travel: 200,000 won

Overall around $10,000 would be plenty for the semester.

Challenge

At first the language barrier can seem quite daunting and scary. Although most places in Seoul are very English friendly, learning how to read hangul and some basic words will get you far. Overall I would say don’t be afraid of the cultural or language differences and instead embrace them at every opportunity possible!

Professional Development

Throughout the semester there were many opportunities for professional development by way of embassy events, the international student festival, relationships with professors and local Koreans. On top of that there are plenty of NGO and volunteer positions in Seoul for internationals to participate in. I definitely felt throughout the course of the semester that having the opportunity to interact with Korean students on a daily basis taught me a lot more about the region.

Highlight

The KU vs Yonsei games were by far the biggest highlight of the semester. Not only was it a great opportunity to experience the strong university pride in Korea but also, the after party was equally as fun. In anam the entire main part was closed off to cars essentially becoming a massive street party. If you’re unsure which semester to study abroad at KU, I would suggest the fall term for the games alone.

Top tips

Just do it! Korea is not at the top of a lot of people’s travel lists but it is arguably one of Asia’s most underrated cities. Not only will you be part of an awesome expat community but you will also get to experience all that Korea has to offer. Be prepared for plenty of BBQ, soju, hiking and travel on the weekends. Living in Seoul will blow your mind in the best way possible.