Tag Archives: Republic of Korea

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!


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.



  Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul


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!





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.


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.

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.


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.


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.

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!

Hiking at Bukhansan National park

Me & my friends at local spa, Jimjilbang

Night view of Seoul from Namsan park

Greetings from South Korea!


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.


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.


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*


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.


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.




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.


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!


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!


2nd round in Korea – Soongsil University

Straight to the business: It is my second time to go for an exchange period in Seoul, South-Korea as in fall semester of 2015 I was in Korea University.

Short comparison of Korea University and Soongsil: Korea University is much larger with its internal bus lines inside of campus and one of the top Universities in Korea. Soongsil campus is much smaller which has its advantages. Around 17% of the courses are taught in English as in Korea University it is or was 40%. (Comparison of campuses, SU: http://kosmic.ssu.ac.kr/template/front/img/egovframework/sub/campus_map.jpg , KU: http://oia.korea.ac.kr/common/images/cont/campusMap.gif )

My studies here have gone well. The start had its difficulties since a couple of professors told me indirectly to drop the course. They were not going to teach in english, even though the course was listed to be completely in english. After finding the suitable courses, it’s all good 🙂

In my opinion, the main difference between studying in Finland and Korea is that here you will have to remember the contents by heart more or less. A correct answer in an exam may be what the course material tells about the issue – not what some other book or another source may tell. Of course it may not always be as strict as I say here.

Spare time

The exchange organization is not too active here with offical events. So the spare time has gone mostly with the flat mates and some other friends exploring and sightseeing the missed parts of Seoul. Also, let’s not forget about the nightlife here. Tripadvisor is a great site for finding out what to see or do.

Recently Koreans have started to protest against the president. Last saturday there was ~1 million people showing their upset minds around at City hall and Blue house. I was not participating the protest – I was left behind the police lines after exploring a traditional village and trying to go home.


I watched a basketball match with some Korean friends before and one of them is a local policeman. It was quite funny to meet him in full protection wear while I was trying to get around the police lines. He said that the other policemen gave him a really weird looks while greeting me. Chances to see just that guy are really low, since the area covered by police is huge and they were 21,000 in numbers depending of the source.


It has been a good exchange so far, I have had fun, made some friends and the studies are going well.



안녕 (Hi) From South Korea

Hello from the city I currently live, Seoul. This is city of 10 millions of people so little odd for guy from Finland. But I like it. Of course first impression was little confused but I think it is normal when you come so different type of place than Tampere. I am definitely coming back here for holidays soon after studies here ends.

When the studies started, here at Soongsil University, it was little troubled to find courses that are similar than engineering studies.  I had to change courses two times and result was that I have only business courses and courses for exchange students. Hopefully the business courses are with the similar topic than engineering stuff in Finland. Earliest morning when I have to go to school is 15.00 and I have lots of evening courses. So I can’t recommend this school for engineering student but still, campus is very nice and city around it. There is many opportunities to do sports and campus area is not too big to go from class to other one opposite side at campus.







Free time we spend mostly partying but also me and my friends have been hiking and went to see temples and graveyard. Graveyard doesn’t sound good place for tourist spot but you can see it from the picture how nice place it is. Near here is couple nice mountains for hiking and other one was little more extreme and I think that was the one that teacher told us not to go to kill your self there. Maybe the best trip to club was the one to Octagon. Famous club and we were there first time. Couple korean girls came to ask us to join them to VIP booth. Free drinks whole night!. And of course, what is the best you can do after nightlife. Go to the spa spend your rest of the night there. When here was longer holiday we went to Busan at south coast of Korea.

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Studying here is mostly learning stuff from the book, but if teacher has been teaching somewhere else, it might be more likely out of the box thinking than read and learn. There is always lots of presentations in every course, same in Finland, but here they don’t mind that much about presenter if he/she read everything from the paper and doesn’t keep eye contact. In Finland is important to understand inside of presentation and remember it rather than read everything from the paper and keep eye contact only with paper. At this moment I have only 10 hours per week of school because one course already ended.

Have Fun!