Tag Archives: Republic of Korea

안녕하세요! Greetings from Seoul!

I am now halfway of my exchange, so I thought to give you my thoughts and experiences so far. I am studying in Seoul in Sungkyunkwan University, which is the oldest university in Korea, founded in 1398. Here I am doing mostly studies related to Korean culture, such as Korean language, political and economic development and contemporary society of Korea. As I am very interested in the local culture, I have enjoyed my studies here a lot, and I have done pretty well so far. Studying in a very prestigious university is different than studying in TAMK which is a university of applied sciences. Lectures are longer, and a lot of studying is required on our own time. And of course we have had exams. I was a little afraid on how my midterms would go, as I have not done essay exams in a long time and also a lot more is required. Week before exam week all the Korean students spent all their time in the library or cafes getting ready for the exams, and me and my friends decided to do the same.

On my free time I often go visit stores in Myeongdong, a shopping district that is only few metro stops away from my dorm. Another place I often go to is Hongdae. They also have restaurants and cafes me and my friends like to visit pretty often. One of the most exciting things for me here is the food. I love going out eat and drink with friends, Korean BBQ is one of the best things I know and I can’t understand why we still don’t have KBBQ restaurants in Finland. We also visit many historical places on weekends, there are many very beautiful palaces in Seoul.

Gyeongbokgung palace

I really have enjoyed my time, and even after spending two months here already, there is still so much to do each day. Seoul is my favorite city in the world.

안녕하세요 여러분! (Hello people!)

As you can see, I’ve learned some Korean while studying my exchange in South Korea. My actual studies were Business Information Systems (Computer Science might be easier to understand). I tried to be as open as possible to the new environment and people. In a nut shell, I got new friends, visited cool places, developed my ICT skills and also learned Korean alphabet and some common phrases during my four months stay in Korea.

My exchange started with first moving myself and my luggage to the SeoulTech campus and dormitory. To my surprise, I was soon greeted by a Finnish room mate. Actually there were quite many Finnish exchange students in SeoulTech. I also made friends with foreign exchange students and Koreans who I met especially in the numerous school clubs: music clubs, English conversation club, bowling club, running club etc.

Compared to TAMK the studies in SeoulTech were more reading than trial and error oriented. There seem to be more stress on the details than on understanding the big picture. The reason might be the nature of my studies, which was mostly software engineering (programming) so I can only speak of my own degree programme. There were also more lessons and less independent studying than in TAMK. I was mostly satisfied with the courses I had. I learned new programming languages, improved my Unix skills and learned to use Korean in some every day situations.

One of my favorite things in Korea was the beautiful nature. I visited several smaller or bigger hills, mountains and forests during the summer. The nearest small hill was my most frequently visited place where I went to refresh my mind alone or with a friend. Even the campus area itself was decorated with cherry, pine and other trees and a stream that crossed the whole campus and was surrounded with flowerbeds. There was a pond which surroundings appeard as a common living room to students. It’s hard to name which place was the best or most memorable. The longest trip outside the school was to Jeju and Udo islands. Speaking of nature, this time we went also under the rock to Manjanggul cave in Jeju island. Being 13422 meters long, it’s one of the longest lava tunnels in the world. We could see interesting volcanic rock formations along the 1 km tour and even touch them and feel the moisture.

South Korea can provide a lot more than I had time to experience. I’m happy that I chose SeoulTech as my exchange destination and can recommend it to you!

SeoulTech campus
Rainbow bridge in Seoul
Jeju island
Jeju island
Gamcheon culture village in Jeju island
Udo island
Haeundae beach in Busan

Lively Seoul in my eyes

My exchange destination was in South Korea. It had been in a great 4-month of a journey not only about studying but also about culture experiencing. The partner school for my exchange term was Sungkyungkwan University which is the Korean university with the longest history of foundation and development dated back from the Joseon Dynasty and locates in the heart of central Seoul.

Being one of the premier universities in the country, SKKU has been consistently maintaining its reputation internationally as well. During the time there, I had an incomparable experience in so many aspects besides studying. Despite located in the city center of crowded Seoul, SKKU’s campus is however huge. There are many old traditional Korean buildings inside the Seoul campus of SKKU. These include Munmyo (Confucian Shrine) and Myeongnyundang (the main lecture hall).

I chose various courses from not only my main major which is Supply Chain Management but also about Korean cultural and political history and language. I learned so much about the traditions and cultures of Korea and a basic Korean communication as well which helped a lot in daily life in Seoul such as reading to distinguish landmarks, location and inside the restaurant too. The Korean language does tell a lot about its culture which reflects a distinctively hierarchical society. I also had difficulties at certain times when there was a language barrier involved and in certain cultural differences. As I learned more about the culture and interacted with more locals, I quickly began to realize that as a foreigner adjusting to Korean traditions would take some time.

Food, shopping and vibrant city nightlife is my favorite part about travel. I really loved the Korean cuisine and the different types of spices that Koreans used in their traditional dishes.

Apart from the exam period, the rest of the time is quite enough for my exploring adventure in Seoul. I took part in several local volunteer activities and event for foreigners and it was an extraordinary experience and pleasure during my stay in Korea

In my opinion, South Korea is truly a lively, dynamic and lively country. There were so many activities held by Korean non-profit organizations for the foreigner. On one hand, it creates a plenty of unique and meaningful opportunities for the international student like me to socialize and get on with such exotic lifestyle here, while on the other hand it also acts as an extraordinary marketing tool and tourism promotion for South Korea.

One of the most unforgettable and meaningful activities that I had the opportunity to participate in was the Lotus Lantern Festival which was is one of the largest cultural events held annually in public to honor Buddhism, one of the most dominant religion in Korea. I have made many new friends including Koreans and other countries around the world. My university’s travel club in Seoul also offered me many chances to travel Korea not alone but with good companies and memorable experience which would be unable to obtain while traveling by on one’s own.

 

The academic experience I had in Korea was also distinctive comparing to what I have experiences in Finland and my home country. The higher studying program here is very professional and intensive despite the fact that there was a lot to do with online procedure and registration which sometimes made it appear lengthy and complicated to me. It was very interesting getting to see how Korean students studied and how the classrooms and courses were set-up. There are so many places in the school, which are set up as small studying cabinet, serving for self-studying with up to a large number of seats and can be used overnight.

The examination here in SKKU is also different from my home university Tamk. In my case, there is a great amount of lesson which required to be learned by heart in order to proceed with the exam paper and get passed. I think this might be one of the reasons that causes the very stressful and intensive pre-exam studying period here in Korea. In this part, I personally prefer the studying style in Finland which is more about logic thinking, teamwork and project operation

Annyeong From Korea

I am going to Kyonggi University, in Suwon, South Korea. It is a good university, though it was built in literally a HILL, so you would have to climb the hill to go to class. Not that I’m complaining though, it’s like working out, which is good for your health and body~.


I took some courses in English, related to International Business and the East Asian region. Actually, the selection of courses wasn’t that great, but enough. The classes in Korea are quite different from Finland, more about listening to the lecture of the teacher than discussing among students. It is not hard, I don’t have to put a lot of effort to get a good grade. But I believe that because my courses are left easier for they are in English. I’ve been witnessing Korean students study so so hard for their exams: no one playing sports, no one hanging out, just eating ramen and studying.

I also took an intensive Korean Language course for 10 weeks, from Monday to Friday every week, which is really “intense” and so I could be confident to say that I can speak Korean now. So if you are interested in Korean language, I highly recommend this kind of intensive course since you can really take something out if it (of course with a lot more effort) compared to the normal language course once a week.

 

I had quite a lot free time during the semester, considering taking only 4 courses. I usually hang out with other exchange students, most of which are from France or Germany, some from Mexico, and I am the only one from Finland. Everyone is nice and friendly. Together we try Korean food (most of which is SUPER spicy) and travel around. Suwon is less than 1 hour away from Seoul by subway so we go there quite a lot.

There are so many places to visit and many things to try so you have to be selective. My favorites are the palaces, museums, Korean sauna (called Jimjilbang), or just wandering around shopping areas like Kangnam or Myungdong.

 

 

 

Korean people are really friendly, you can get a lot of free services in restaurants and shops when you are foreigner. Some of them also love to ask about you and your country, in Korean most of the time of course. But Korean students can be very shy, if you are foreigner and speak English. I guess they are afraid of making mistakes in English. But when you got to be friends with them, they are really nice and fun. Korean students are good at drinking and having fun in clubs and bars, or so I’ve heard since I don’t really go there.

Oh and one thing, there’s literally so personal space in Korea, which I miss the most about Finland. People love to squeeze together over here. And sometimes, in the subway or elevator, they just come straight to you, pushing you out of your place so that they can stand there, which still puzzles me until now.

We went to the DMZ (Korean Demilitarized Zone) and that railway is supposed to be going to North Korea~

 

All in all, I’ve been having a great time in Korea. It is a nice blend between tradition and modernity. I found the country so young and lively and buzzling but also deep in rich culture and history and tradition. So I’ve got to experience a lot, all of which is precious to me, as well as to make so many great friends, not only Koreans but all over the world, each of whom is dear to be now.

 

 

Greetings from Seoul!

안녕하세요!

I am currently doing my 4 month exchange at Soongsil University in Seoul. My major is business administration, but since I had already completed most of the business courses offered in english, I decided to take other courses like, “east asian culture” and “history of Korea”. These courses are aimed at exchange students and I found them to be very interesting. Generally the level of english my teachers speak is much better than I expected, and many of them have in fact lived or studied in the United States. Workload-wise Soongsil and Tamk are quite the same, perhaps at Soongsil we have a bit more presentations. One of the most important courses I have taken is basics of the Korean language. I learned to read korean which is a big help especially on the subway. If you are considering going to Korea, I warmly recommend you take a beginners course prior to your exchange!

I only have school monday-thursday, making it possible to travel for the rest of the week. I decided not to go abroad this semester, but did a lot of travelling in Korea. For example, I visited Jeju-island, Busan and multiple cities on the south coast of Korea. The best time for longer travelling is during Chuseok, which is a ten day holiday beginning at the end of September.

  Busan

  Yeosu

  Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul

  Gangnam

I have really enjoyed my time here. Living in Seoul is quite affordable, for example lunch or dinner around the Soongsil University is about 3000-7000 won (3-5-€). People are very kind and helpful even though there is a bit of a language barrier sometimes since many Koreans can’t really speak English. Overall, I have found this a very eye-opening experience and I hope to come back soon!

Br,

Yasmin

 

 

Greetings from Korea University

Well, it’s time to say goodbye to South Korea. It was an amazing experience to study in a city that is four times as big as Finland. Gaining new friends and having new experiences made sure that this journey was worth it.

My studies consisted of human resource management, operations management and information systems management. I was a little surprised that all of the classes were only 1h 15 min long and we got a lot done during that time. The teachers were nice and they had a sense of humor. But, in addition, they were very strict about their subjects.

One of the main buildings in KU

Most of my spare time I spent with my friends, traveling around Seoul and in Korea. Usually we went to a new place in Seoul and spend the day there. One of the best experiences was the Lantern Festival in Daegu. We went there with 10 other persons and we saw a beautiful show made by the locals.

Lantern Festival in Daegu

Studies in KU was not as different from TAMK as I expected. We had to read more but the exams were not that hard. The biggest difference was that we had to do a lot of group projects. Each course had one or two projects and they were bigger than what we’ve had in TAMK. But, it was a fun way to meet Koreans like that.

VAK

City with soul

Hello and greetings from Seoul, South Korea!

For now I’ve been studying in Kyung Hee University for one month. My school is ranked as 15th best university, from 191 universities in South Korea. My major is hospitality management, and courses I study are “principle of cooking”, “basics of Korean language”, “cultural tourism” and “theory of marketing”. I’m pretty happy with courses I finally got, because they are all really different with different teachers, so I don’t get bored during school days.

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Kyung Hee University campus

One huge different to studying in Finland is that every class takes only one hour and 15 minutes! Also it’s a lot of lectures, and not much interaction between students. I think it’s nice for a change, but I couldn’t study like that all the time for 3,5 years.

Studying in here is also pretty competitive, from getting courses to your final grade. I was lucky to get in almost all the courses I originally wanted to take,  but there were lots of troubles on the way. There’s not that many seats to all of the courses, so you really need to be ready when course registration opens. Also, on some courses, professor can give only certain amount of A:s for students, and that might effect on students behavior during course, for example not to help each others that easily etc..

On first week, one professor told us “exchange student compete against other exchange students, and Korean students compete against other Korean students”. I was really shocked about his comment, because that’s something you would never hear teacher to say in Finland! For us it’s always just about competing against your self and giving your best.

On first week it was very common for professors to say “this course is really difficult, so I recommend you to consider if you really want to take this course”. That felt pretty ridiculous for me, because I’ve got used to teachers say for us that “yes, this might be a difficult subject, but we will learn it together”.

My Korean language studies are proceeding well, I have already learn Korean letters. Next step is to learn basic phrases to help my daily life here. It’s surprising that they don’t speak English lot in here.

seoul

After all cultural differences, I’m enjoying school a lot! Usually, I don’t get homework from classes and my schooldays are Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, so I have a lot of free time here! I’ve made friends with girls from my dormitory, who I like to explore Seoul and experience all interesting and new things with.

dinner

I like Seoul because there’s so many neighborhoods and they all have their own character, if it’s a good area for shopping, eating or clubbing for example. Weather is also getting nicer all the time, I cant wait for summer in here! One thing I’m really looking forward to is having picnic at Han-river and spending all day outside. Now we are all a bit sick, because we spend long times outside but especially when sun sets weather gets quite cold.

jisoo
My Korean friend Jisoo has shown me lots of cool places in Seoul, I got to know her from “Each One Teach One” course last year in Tampere!

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Hiking at Bukhansan National park

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Me & my friends at local spa, Jimjilbang

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Night view of Seoul from Namsan park

Greetings from South Korea!

Hello!

Korea is an amazing country, no doubt about that. Everything from food, people and culture was awesome. This was my first time in Asia and during my stay I managed to visit also Hong Kong and Tokyo.

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I studied in Ajou University, Suwon which is about 30 km south from the capital Seoul. I managed to get enough courses that supporty my studies, but more courses taught in english would have been nice. Studying in Ajou University wasn’t that different from TAMK. Sure the professors had their own teaching methods, and the english skills of some professors wasn’t very good, but overall studying wasn’t particularly hard.

Living in the campus was really nice. I lived in the newly build International Dormitory, with a Korean room mate. All the facilities such as cafeteria, laundry room and convenience store were just a stone’s thrown away from the dormitory. Also eating out was relative cheap compared to Finland and there were many good restaurants just outside the campus.

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All in all I would definitely recommend going  to Ajou University for exhange studies. It has been a life changing experience for me and it has opened my eyes to a whole new world.

P.S. here is a video about all the things we did during the semester.

Exciting Seoul*

Hello!

It is already 5 months as I am living in one of the most busy cities in the world – Seoul – in South Korea. I came here in summer to enjoy my vacation and get to know the country before the exchange period will start. I fell in love with the city!

I am studying at Konkuk university and 180 exchange students arrived here like me to get new knowledge in this rapidly developing country. Despite not big variety of English-taught courses, I have chosen quite interesting ones according to my major which are  by American professors. At one course I had an opportunity to see a lot of business professionals from South Korea and also foreign businessmen who are running start-ups here.

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Konkuk University

In Seoul you will never be bored! There are so many places to visit, so even 5 months are not enough:) This city never sleeps – to my mind, Seoul is the best when sun goes down and lights are on. Then streets are fulled with people in search of delicious food and entertainment, which are on every corner.

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The study culture in South Korea differs much from the Finnish one. The lecture type of the courses predominate practical study compared with our university of applied sciences. Also, there are big competition in getting grades – by Korean law, only 30 % of the class can get A-grade, and so on. Attendance matter too: skipped class – get minus point, some professors even stated that flue is not a reason to skip class, sadly.

Anyways, I am enjoying my last weeks in Seoul and reminding all the exciting memories I made here.

Best regards,
Olha Kushnir

Greetings from Suwon, Korea

Time flies. I feel like I just came to Korea, but in reality I have been here over three months. I never expected to do my exchange in this country, but now I can only thank myself for being this brave to get to know a totally new country and culture. I have been studying International industrial management (or something like that!) in Kyonggi university in Suwon for this semester.

The school itself is very nice and the location of the campus offers a fast way to get to Seoul. The english course list was not very impressive when I got it in the beginning of the  August. As Tourism student, I really needed to think carefully what courses might suit and support my studies in TAMK. However, the course contents are very broad and the sc14182414_1274409755916287_1714558902_nhool offers lots of culture courses, so I managed to have a nice list of courses for the fall. I have taken courses, from management to Korean culture all the way to sports English.

The study style in Korea is totally different from Finland. It reminds me of the elementary school classes where everything had to be learned not by heart but in a way that you just have to memorize everything from word to word. Lots of the exams have been that the teacher has taken a phrase from his slides and taken one word out from it to be filled up. This has recuired a totally new way of studying but I think that maybe this will eventually benefit me in the future.

But the main point: Spare time! If you want to eat cheap and super delicious food and experience lots of cultures totally different from your home country. Korea and Seoul is the place to be. Our dorm does not offer any cooking facilities so eating out everyday is the basic condition here (which I really don’t mind!), you can get a proper big meal by less than 5€ and enjoy a glass or more of Soju with your classmates before continuing the evening to a local karaoke or one of the nightclubs in Hongdae or Gangnam.

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During my spare time here, I have been trying to discover the city as much as possible, tasting as many foods as possible and get to know the culture as much as possible. I have seen more temples and palaces than ever before and enjoyed the Korean hospitality.

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During the weekends I have been travelling as much as possible and I have been visiting other cities (Jeju, Busan etc.) and even 14466341_1296743427016253_1343250037_ohopped to another countries (China and Japan). Travelling has been the thing that I have appreciated the most while being in the exchange. The flight tickets are so cheap, so why not visit other countries while already being in this side of the world. Seeing the Great wall of China and the Tokyo tower has been the highlights of my exchange and thing that I will never forget!

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However I still have to say that I would choose Korea every time if asked which Asian country I prefer the most! Couple weeks to push through my final exams and then I can go and enjoy my Christmas in Philippines (to where it is also super cheap to fly!)

I think I fell in love with Korea and hopefully I will come to this country again in the future! See you soon Tampere!

-Pauliina