Gessica - Seoul National University

B Arts
Semester 1, 2019

Academic experience

While at Seoul National University, I was under the College of Humanities with a major in English Language and Literature. However, since I was using my electives for exchange, most of my subjects were spread across the humanities.

The structure and content of the subjects at first was difficult to get around but, with time, it becomes easy to remember. The ranking system at first seemed unfair but, in hindsight, it didn't make much difference to how I went. 

The registration process is extremely competitive! The Korean students are extremely fast at clicking so, you want to be really prepared with alternative subjects to choose in case there is no space. However, you have a month to switch classes so, it's possible space might become available at some point.

Personal experience

I am studying a Korean major as part of my Bachelor of Arts so, it was incredibly helpful to get to immerse myself in the language with native speakers. 
I gained many friends native Korean or otherwise. I would highly recommend joining the buddy program, they do events every week with your personal buddy group who will become like your second family in Korea. I can't wait to visit all my friends again at some point in the future!


I lived off-campus, though very close. I stayed in what's called a goshiwon, which is similar to student accommodation. My landlords were incredibly friendly and helpful so, I felt very comfortable. It was small and cozy but, enough for me. I would recommend on-campus accommodation as it would be easier for public transport to classes and to become closer with other exchange students.


I was lucky to be given government funding for my trip so, I didn't pay as much attention to how much I was spending. I would recommend budgeting though, if you want money left over after you've finished. The exchange rate and value of the money in Korea is different so, it makes everything seem much cheaper. However, it all starts to add up after a while so watch out.


I'd say the biggest challenge was living on my own. Up until now, I've had my family around to help or take care of me so, having to be completely independent kind of threw me in the deep end. I overcame it mainly through making friends. It made me feel less lonely and helpless by myself.

Professional Development

I have certainly developed my Korean language skills to a much better level. I would say I've become much more independent, confident and assertive since I was forced into doing everything for myself.


My highlight would have been the group trips we went on through the buddy program. It made us all much closer while we got to see much more of South Korea. It was like I was really going to university there!

Top tips

My biggest piece of advice would be to have fun. Don't just focus on your studies and make sure you see as much of the country as possible so, you get the most out of your experience!