Fangying - Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

B. Engineering
Semester 1, 2017 ; Semester 2, 2017

Academic experience

I took the following courses during my exchange:

  • Techniques of process and product design
  • Molecular reaction engg
  • Introduction to nuclear thermal hydraulics
  • Understanding music and music history
  • Molecular thermodynamic and energy systems
  • Heat and molecular transfer
  • Business process engineering and management
  • Idea and expression
  • Vision brain and art, and
  • Basic Korean 2.

Some of the class sizes were really small which allows the professor to focus more on how to help us understand the course. There were times when the professors would speak in Korean but most of the time they would translate it into English.

Personal experience

The time in KAIST is definitely one of the best I have ever experienced. For my first semester there, I hung around with other exchange students and we visited places like Seoul, Daegu, Busan, Jeonju etc together. The people there are patient with us and try to understand what we are trying to say even when we are not that good in our Korean. The locals were also happy and try to make up some conversation when we try to speak to them in Korean.

KAIST was also very welcoming to the foreign students, assigning other local students to guide us and bringing us to different places time to time.

As I was there for a year, I got to make many Korean friends through a club that I joined. They would kindly teach me Korean and translate anything that they could within the conversations that they were having. On my last week of exchange in Korea, they took me to restaurants to have whatever that I had not eaten while in Korea.

Accommodation

The accommodation in KAIST is extremely comfortable and affordable. The price is around $660 for one semester. Each of us were assigned to a roommate, and the roommates that we had were either from the same school or from the same country. There are study rooms, lounges and convenience store within the dormitory. The supervisors of the dormitory were also very friendly and tried to help us in any way that they could.

Budget

The things in Daejeon were affordable. It is also easy to travel from city to city from price ranging from around $10–$20. It would be faster via train but it will be more expensive. For phone data, it is around $20 for 2GB per month. The food in the cafeteria on campus entertainment facilities were not expensive, but it varies depending on what you do and eat.

Professional development and employability

Learning another language would definitely open up employment opportunities in Korea.

Highlight

Being a part of an acapella club BAOBAB allowed me to experience the life as a student in Korea. There would be many MT sessions, drinking after practice and performances opportunities. Although I was the only foreigner in the club, people there were extremely welcoming and kind, looking after me when I do not feel well, making me feel like I am a part of the family, and introducing me to the food and culture.

Top tips

I would recommend to at least study a little korean before going for exchange so that you could interact with the local students and experience more of Korea.