Cecily - Korea University

B. Applied Science

Academic experience

I studied intermediate and Advanced Korean language, Korean History and Culture, English Linguistics, British and American Poetry, Microbiology, and Animal Physiology. It was a struggle to make it through Korean language courses taught only in Korean, but that became easier as my language skill increased. I thought the academic system was great, there was always a good turnout of students since lecture attendance was compulsory, which meant class discussions were engaging and educational. Lecturers were always organised and helpful, and it was exciting to learn in such a different environment.

Personal experience

I met such a wide range of people from all ages, from all over the world, and made friendships that I'm sure will last a lifetime. South Korea has so many wonderful cities and so much rich culture that I could never have explored it all in a year. My Korean language skill has improved threefold thanks to courses, making friends, and branching out to engage wherever I could. I learnt a lot living overseas and away from my parents for the first time, especially things like time management, budgeting, priorities, and initiative.

Accommodation

I lived on-campus for one semester, and off for one. The first semester, I was conveniently close to school, and it was nice to save on travel costs by walking. I was always close to other friends who lived in the university suburb, and it made everything easy for my first 4 months in Korea. In my second semester, I lived a 30-minute train ride from the University. It was a busy, popular suburb with lots of shopping and young people around, and I absolutely loved it. I lived in an apartment with a friend I made at University, and we had a great experience living together and sharing the rent. It was a little more expensive than student rooms, so it's only an option if you have money to cover the extra costs, and there's a lot more to think about, such as disposing of rubbish correctly, maintenance bills, noise, neighbours, mail and packages, and all other dealings with real-estate that you may have to do in another language. On campus, living saves you a lot of that trouble.

Budget

Living in Korea could have been a very cheap experience, but my friends and I decided to live on the more expensive side, trying delicacies more than once a week and eating out much more often than was practical. We travelled frequently (which on public transport was much cheaper than anywhere in Australia, and much more frequent and reliable) but ended up spending a lot on food and taxis in the smaller cities. We often went to the cinemas, which is a little pricey, and in hindsight attended too many music festivals and hip-hop concerts. It would be a good idea to limit your entertainment and focus on study in a country like Korea because the professors are very strict. The UQ page suggests a much smaller budget than I would recommend.

Professional development and employability

I find that travelling abroad has been the best thing for me to develop myself in a professional sense. I feel more ready for challenges I might face, and I trust in my own ability to deal with these challenges.

Highlight

The University experience was the highlight for me. Korea University students have so much pride in their University and love to show it. There are awesome festivals and sports games to attend, and you're made to feel welcome from the moment you arrive on the beautiful campus. I will miss Korea University more than anything about Korea, and especially the people I met there.

Top tips

  • Budget, budget, budget!
  • Make sure to save heaps of money before you go.
  • Don't bring too much with you, because you will want to shop, a lot.
  • Korea doesn't have that much assistance available for English-speakers, so learn at least a little Korean first! Just reading the native language will help a great deal.
  • Bring shoes for hiking, snow, and very hot weather.
Cecily - Korea University