Quilla - Korea University

B. International Studies
Semester 1, 2017

Academic experience

I studied a wide range of courses; intermediate Korean 1, history and culture of Korea, environmental sociology, human rights and political economy. The academic system was a challenge to adapt to as it was very different to that at UQ, from strict attendance checks to group projects in each class. The different academic system, however, allows perspective into how others learn, which was valuable. There were also some challenges to do with course signup, as it’s extremely competitive, this, however, was not an enormous issue to me as I had a lot of flexibility of course choice, however, others were not so fortunate.

Personal experience

I gained a lot from my exchange experience; from close friends around the world and improved language skills, to personal skills such as independence and budgeting. Before this opportunity to study abroad, I had never travelled outside Australia, let alone set foot on a plane, so this was truly diving into the deep end but it created a level of change and personal development I couldn’t have imagined for myself.

Accommodation

The road from CJ International House
The road from CJ International House

I lived on campus in CJ international house. I liked the convenience of it, as it was close to the university. The enormous hill leading up to the dorms from the university was tough but allowed for some good exercise. My advice is read the rules for the dorm before you choose, to see whether it suits you. Also, ask around about accommodation, many of my friends stayed off campus and had a great experience with that too.

Budget

Around $6000-7000 should suffice as a budget for the semester. If you are interested in further travel, however, make sure to keep an extra budget for that too. Food is very cheap, you can pick up meals for around $5 or less around campus. Entertainment is also quite affordable and readily available. Phone plans are also rather cheap and easy to obtain, there is an Olleh phone shop next to the university who will help you with sim cards for data and calls; all together for the 4 months, it was around $80 including the monthly top-ups.

Professional development and employability

From my exchange, I have learned and gained many skills such as independence, intercultural communication, budgeting, improved work ethic as well as problem-solving. I have also become more organised with my time and am more motivated to participate in activities and say yes to opportunities than previously.

Highlight

The experience as a whole was a highlight. There was no one thing I can pinpoint as there were many different parts that added up to make it special and memorable.

Top tips

  • Class enrollment is very competitive so make sure you have flexible course choices. Try to get a large variety of courses approved on your study plan before you go, it will make the first week of class signup less stressful. If you don’t get into the course you wanted at first, don’t stress, through meeting and emails during the first week you may be able to slide into them, but be prepared to do some legwork to get in.
  • Do your research on accommodation, there are lots of small apartments nearby the university that are closer than the dorms. 
  • Speak to people who have been or are at your host location, it really helps gain perspective when choosing your university. 
  • My biggest tip though is don’t be afraid to apply! I had never done anything like this previously and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself and towards my degree. Try to have as much fun and experience as you can while you are there, 4 months fly by quicker than you would expect.
Quilla - Korea University