Monthly Archives: December 2019

My time at SeoulTech at Seoul, South Korea

In SeoulTech I didn’t have any problem enrolling to courses. Here we just did excel of courses we wanted that we sent to the person in charge. Most of the people got what they wanted. All of the courses were mostly in English, sometimes mix of Korean and English. Professors English might be hard to understand at first, but when you get used to the accent isn’t that hard to understand anymore.

 

I had six courses and that didn’t leave me much spare time with all the assignments in the end. But I still managed to experience most of the stuff I wanted to do since I prioritized my work and exploring (no time for Netflix).  Courses I had weren’t that hard but they did required lot of my spare time compared to Finnish studies.

 

After studying we did a lot of sightseeing around Seoul. With international students we saw most of the things that is advertised around Seoul, though it is much, we did spend almost four months there. These places were really nice and worth exploring, for culture we visited various palaces and a shrine that had interesting stories in them, worth taking the time and reading the story behind them. Also, Seoul has nice museums, especially the War Museum where you could spend days just reading and diving in to the history. For Korean culture the markets were a must-go, there is one for various of traditional goods, Korean street food, and one with various shopping centers. Lastly, I had chance to fulfill my childhood dream: visit abandoned amusement park.

Abandoned Amusement Park (Yongma Land)

For general sightseeing the nicest things were riding bike along the Han-river, visiting Haneul Park for sunset and awesome view of the city, walking along a stream in middle of metropolis, going for Namsan Tower for the mini hike, and lastly going for Lotte World Tower observatory for the awesome 123rd floor view. Lotte World Tower is must-go, but when we went there for sunset, we had to queue for two hours to get in, which wasn’t that pleasant. If we would’ve gone other day or other time, probably wouldn’t have to queue at all.

View from Lotte World Tower

We also did a lot of hiking around Seoul’s mountains. Since there is bunch on mountains around Seoul, it is easy to just take bus in the base of a mountain and just start hiking. When hiking you can see fit elderly Korean people just blasting through like nothing, and even some hikes have an outdoor gym where people can just blast a quick extra workout during the hike. One of the reasons to go for a hike, is to see the awesome sunsets, and we saw lots sunsets from the mountains. Of course, the sunset is just perfect with great people and few cups of Soju. I’ve never seen so many sunsets in my life that I get to see in this short time. After enjoying the sunsets, we had to be careful going down from the mountain, since it got dark fast after sunset.

Sunset views from the top of Buramsan Mountain

Highlights of the exchange was hanging out with great people around the world and sharing stories, cultures and ideas. We spent countless hours in campus’ cafe Two of Us just enjoying coffee and talking. Also, we enjoyed Korean culture in a way of eating every day, just ordering bunch of food and drinks for the table and sharing it, no better way to enjoy food like in this social way. All of us made life lasting great friends, and we already planned meet-ups around Europe.

Korean Barbeque

During October We had trip to Busan. It’s large port city on South Korea, and it’s known for its beaches, mountains and temples. Busan has population of 3.43 million which is around 65% smaller than Seoul. Traveling there with buses and taxis the whole place felt small, when we had already adjusted in Seoul. In Busan we did mostly sightseeing around docks, culture village, beaches, fish and food markets, and lastly a lighthouse, where we were stuck for an hour because we managed to go there just when it started to wind and rain hard. During nights we enjoyed Busan’s nightlife and lived in a little cozy guesthouse. Other than sightseeing we reserved one whole day for surfing in Songjeong Beach, where was just enough waves for complete beginners. First touch to surfing and loved every minute of it.

Busan’s surf day

 

Internship in Fuengirola

I have been doing my internship in Fuengirola, Spain for almost 5 months now. Fuengirola is a small tourist town not far away from Malaga (about 35km). It is located on the south coast and belongs to the region of Andalucia. It’s a very popular tourist attraction especially among Finnish and British people.

My workplace is a Finnish company named Barona, so most of my time I spend surrounded by Finnish people. The local working culture seems extremely relaxed. Most of the cafeterias are open from 10am to 1pm after which they have ‘Siesta’ for about 2-3 hours and then they open up again around 4-5pm.

I spend most of my free time with my co-workers or at the gym. I have made some great friends here with whom I have been visiting some of the most beautiful places in Spain.  There are still many places that I haven’t visited and would like to see, but fortunately I have another 5 months in Madrid starting January, so I will have time for that later.

 

Ronda
Sierra Nevada
Alhambra Castle, Granada
Mijas Pueblo

 

Sincerely,

Donat Viktorov

 

All the pictures above are owned by me.

Life as an Art Student in South Korea

 

I wanted to do my exchange studies in Seoul, South Korea because I wanted to experience East Asian culture. I have travelled quite a lot around the world, but I have never been to East Asia before. Now my studies here is almost done and after all, this has been a very exciting trip. Culture is very unique in Korea which has made this trip very interesting. South Korea has also given me a new interesting perspective to understand the world.

I chose Sungkyunkwan University because it was the best university in East Asia for my studies. I got enrolled in all the courses I wanted.  My major has been here Design and I have studied only art courses. I have liked all courses a lot and my professors have been very good. I have got many new ideas and learnt many new skills to do my artwork. I have studied 5 courses which are quite a lot for an exchange student in South Korea. It has meant that I have not had so much free time here.

 

 

The most challenging thing for me here has been living in a 25,5 million people metropole. There are people everywhere and it has been hard to find empty places and own peace. Many places are also very tiny in Seoul and it can feel uncomfortable first. I didn’t want to take a room from the University’s dormitory because there you have to share a room. So,  I have been living in a very tiny goshiwon room, which has been a unique experience too.

I recommend Sungkyunkwan University for all art students. Teaching is international and high quality. You can get here new inspiration and learn new technical skills you have not learnt in TAMK.

 

My Adventure in Seoul, South Korea

My time in Seoul in coming to an end. I can count the days I have left with my fingers. I have been studying in Kyung Hee University for the past semester. My major is hospitality management. I have had a lot of fun and I have met new people from all over the world.

Kyung Hee University, The Grand Peace Hall

Studying in Korea has been surprisingly easy for me. I have five courses and they have all been going well. Right now, I only have my finals left and I only have two of those. Registering to courses is very competitive here so I had to wake up at 4.15 to be able to register to the courses I wanted. I also needed to change few courses and got one more added before I traveled to Korea. I haven’t had any problems with the language of the courses, and I got to keep all the courses I registered to. Kyung Hee has a lot of international students so those courses that have a lot of international student and exchange students don’t have to worry about the language. I have had very few assignments during the semester, so I have had quite a lot of free time.

Library in the mibble of the COEX Starfiled mall

During my free time I either wander around Seoul. I have also traveled to few cities inside Korea and I also traveled to Tokyo during the semester. Busan and Jeju island are a must visit in Korea. Both are beautiful places and are very different compared to Seoul and each other. I also won tickets to a music bank concert so for that I had to travel to another city. But at that time, I did not have time to see the city itself. Seoul has a lot of places to visit and it is easy to travel in Seoul. There are many popular areas to go to clubbing or shopping. I had spent most my free time going to cultural places and going shopping all around Seoul. There are also many cultural places that are nice to visit in Seoul. The food is good and cheap in restaurants. I eat in a restaurant almost every day because we aren’t allowed to cook in the dorm and there is no kitchen in there. There are only few microwave ovens, few toaster ovens and a toaster. One tip if you want to travel to Korea there are very few options for vegans and vegetarians. So, if you don’t eat pork, beef or chicken you should think very hard about if Korea is the right option for you.

Geongbukgung

Comparing the education and studying to Finland. In Korea university is very competitive because grades are given in cumulative so only a certain percentage gets an a and so on. But most English courses are not like this. They are mainly point based grades. Because in Finland the grade is always point based and everyone gets a grade based on their effort. In here sometimes you fail a course because you just didn’t fit into the percentages. So, it’s very competitive and grades are very important here so getting the best grade possible is important. That is why many people spend most their time studying and not having fun the closer to the exams we get. Classes here are mainly lectures and it is not encouraged to ask questions during class you can questions after the class from the teacher personally. And you should always try to take notes because you don’t always get the lecture material for yourself to review.

I have had a lot of fun during the past semester. I have Made new friends and traveled to new places. I think Korea was a good choice and Kyung hee university has been a great place to study at.

Greetings from South Korea

South Korea is an amazing place to visit!

There is a lot to see and do, but the university system is really different compared to Finland!

I have to say that even though I had an amazing experience in Seoul I also had a lot of challenges. The enrolling system in Konkuk University is really hard to deal with: who is fastest to enroll ( and im talking about seconds) will get in the courses and since there is no spots reserved for exchange students you will have to deal with a lot of competition! Once you get in the course you might still find difficulties: some korean teachers ( all the teachers of the engineering field) kindly asked to me to leave the class. I ended up not being able to take courses of my major because even though the classes were supposed to be in english the teachers were asking foreigner students to leave so that they could teach in korean.

The other challenge i found was related to the food: i’m vegan and here in Korea being vegan or vegeterian is a real challenge. This is the reason why I had to move out of the dormitory so that I could cook my own food!

Once I moved out and the enrolling period was done I finally had time to enjoy Seoul! There is a lot of opportunities for cultural activities and hikes!

 

Hello from Seoul!

Hello everyone, I am an exchange student for one semester in Seoul, South Korea. I want to start with saying that it has been a wonderful experience to have the opportunity to be a part of the exchange program and witness the traditions, culture and beauty of an exotic country such as South Korea. I must say I have also encounter some issues as well, such as the unavailability of sufficient courses in English in my field (Energy and Environmental Engineering).  In my spare time I have visited many traditional sight seeings and temples. South Korea also has fantastic outdoor traditional markets where local elderly ladies provide various Korean dishes and delicacies. If I had to compare Finland’s education system to South Korea’s i must say that they differ in many aspects. Here students go under tremendous social pressure to excel in academics having minimal free time for other activities than studying. In Finland I would say the education system is more balanced with work and spare time. Nonetheless, I have enjoyed my time here and experienced many unforgettable memories!

Best Regards, Ikaros.

Greetings from Stoke-On-Trent

I have been studying in Stoke-On-Trent for almost three months now.  Stoke-On-Trent is a city in Northern Staffordshire that has a population of a bit over 250 000 citizens and is best known from its pottery industry. Even though by its population Stoke-On-Trent is slightly bigger than Tampere, in my opinion, it feels a bit smaller. However, it has a lot of nice things to offer: it has, for example, many beautiful parks, a shopping center, museums, a movie theater, many pubs and restaurants, a shopping village and even a monkey forest.

         

         

In my opinion, the best part of the city has been the university where I study, Staffordshire University. The courses I have studied have been very interesting and the professors have been really nice, helpful and good at what they do. The contents and implementations of the courses have been well structured: they have involved both theory and practice, and instead of just listening to lecturers the lessons have involved a lot of discussions and group work. There are a few differences between studying in Staffordshire University and studying in TAMK. For example, in Staffordshire University there are preparatory tasks for each lecture, whereas in TAMK, at least in the courses I have attended, there aren’t. In here, I also have more independent studying and less contact hours. I have lectures only on Tuesdays to Thursdays and only two to four hours per day. Another example of the differences between my host and home universities, is that in the courses I have studied here, the final marks are based on essays or portfolios, whereas in most of the courses I have in TAMK the grade is based on an exam done in the end of each course. In here, we have to write usually one 3000-word essay per course and you can plan and write it whenever you want to, as long as it’s done by the deadline in the end of the semester. For my personally, regarding my learning and development during a course, this way is more suitable. In all, I have been very satisfied with my host university and I have learned a lot during the semester!

My free time I have spent, for instance, hanging out with my new friends, exploring the British culture (including celebrating the local holidays, such as Guy Fawkes Day and Halloween) and enjoying our university’s weekly student happenings.  I have also spent a lot of time travelling. Right in the beginning of my exchange period, before arriving Stoke-On-Trent, I spent a few days in London with my friend, which was a great way to start the student exchange.  In September we also traveled to Dublin and Belfast, in October to Manchester and in November to Scotland. Next week, I will travel to London one more time, and the week after that my destination will be Finland!

Best Regards, Katariina