Tag Archives: Republic of Korea

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!

안녕하세요 [annjong hasejo] (Hello) from Seoul!

This has been really interesting trip to Seoul South Korea! I have gotten many new friends from all over the world. I’m not sure where should I start telling about this trip but let’s begin with the first impression.

It was really hot in the late summer (around 33 degrees celsius) and the air was quite thick. Now that autumn has advanced further it’s more like back in Finland since it’s around 5-10 degrees. So a coat is the word of the day. I study in  Soongsil University which is apparently quite well known place here and also one of the oldest too. The school has quite young organization that handles with exhange students, us, called SISO. It has offered us interestinf excursions around the town and also helped with several general things. If there’s anything wrong, one should contact them or one’s “buddy”, who is practically your tutor.


Studying is a little bit different. Mornings aren’t so early as in Finland, but lessons that are really late aren’t that absurd thing here. I have just a couple of lessons per each day but still my Wednesday’s last classes end at 20:45. Asian people are known to be really hard working and it can be experienced in some cases. Exams are quite big, though not impossible, and in some courses you advance really fast. For some who like procrastinating it might cause some trouble, but nothing overwhelming. Presentations are also really popular here so when coming here on should get ready for them. Yea it’s a bit hard every now and then but now that I look at it I can say I haven’t done that much work. A LOT less than in Finland at least.

Studying here is mostly just like in Finland: presentations, using of intranet, same kind of construction in education system, nice campus and friendly students and teachers. Of course there’s some differences such as the pace of studying which is more intense than in Finland. Another point that is different is the studying itself; you have to learn what a book says about something rather than understanding the main point and using your own head. I’ll give an example: In exam there’s a question “Explain why car crashed”, you answered something about bad tires, wet ground and not paying attention to driving. In result you get zero points because the book said the driver might be sleeping while driving. Kind of weird right? But as said, everyone manages mostly just fine.


Because of quite easy timetable I have had a lot freetime. There’s many ways to spend your day in Seoul! You can go and visit a PC cafe for some awesome latest games with a top notch internet connection. You can go to grab a coffee wtih your friends in one of the several cafés or go just exploring the city which hides interesting places here and there which can’t be seen from a map. You can go outside the city to climb a low mountain (400-900 meters high) and see an amazing view over the city. One option is to visit other towns of South Korea, which is easy thanks to public transportation. Then there’s the obvious: go sightseeing. There’s many places to see here. Suraksan mountain, Olympic stadium, all the temples, Bukhansan mountain and National graveyard just to name a few!

bukhansanEveryday life here is quite easy-going since billiard clubs, coffee houses and karaoke bars are everywhere just like normal grocery stores. Noodles are cheap and delicious not to mention all the local cuisines that also are quite cheap. Nightlife is quite active everyday since the humongous amount of bars and pubs and clubs, though the nightlife of Seoul is concetrated to three places: Hongdae, Itaewon and Gangnam.

As said, this is quite an experience and I’m glad I decided to come but I have to say I’m starting to miss Finland too. It’s ages since I went to a proper sauna.

Soul – South-Korea


First steps in Korea was interesting, lots of people, massive metro map, food and whole culture was epic! The city is “divided” to North and South side of Han-River, at South are Gangnam, Olympic park, etc. North side most popular sightseengs and shopping centers.


-Soul MetroMap


-War Memorial of Korea and backside Soul Tower

Living and studying in Soul was quite different. One word Reverence, every citizen in Korea reverence elder, professors, mom and dad etc. That aspect have to students and travellers understand and learn.  And few pics about studying…

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I know few other finns are also studying in Soul, so sometimes it was nice meet and cook some Finnish food to other exchange students. Also i met many many many Great Koreans and exchange studets all around World!!!



People with beauty and heart!


I have to admit the culture shock between west and east was tremendous. I was travelling in USA for three weeks before I came here and spent the last days in Honolulu before my flight to Seoul. After flying to that odd worm hole and seeing one day just vanishing from my life I was quite exhausted.

I got the first glances to Korean people and way of life on the Korean Air flight. Or actually at the Honolulu airport when checking in the flight. Very kind and beautiful girl at the counter suggested me a more spacious seat by the emergency exit right away, without asking. I think she notices my long legs 🙂 But this has never happened before! The first meeting with Korean people was thus more than very kind and warm!

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I study in Ajou University, in Suwon city. At the beginning I was quite worried about the course selection I was signed in. Soon I found out that I had already studied quite many of them in Finland. The course descriptions were not offered in all the courses I selected. Therefore I needed to change almost all of my courses. The school offered us a change and drop-off periods where the selected courses could be changed. In general, the school is quite bureaucratic and most of the things are very difficult to take care of. The quality of teaching is quite ok in my classes, as well as the English skills of the professors. I needed to drop only one course because of bad English skills of the teacher.


Now, the best part: living in campus! I live in the brand new International Dormitory, with my Korean room mate. The most surprising and amazing thing here in Korea has been the Korean people, absolutely! Such a warm, kind and beautiful young people I have never met in my life! We are treated here as special quests, the Korean hospitality is just amazing! People are just smiling and laughing all the time, everybody is in good mood. I was asked to be a photographer for the University baseball team ABBA Huskies (Ajou Baseball Athletics) right after I came here. I have had a great opportunity to watch and photograph these funny fellows practising and playing baseball. And yes, we have had a few beers together, too! 🙂


Whatever Korean people do, they do it with full throttle. Numerous voluntary student clubs, student colleagues organizing parties and field trips, and sports clubs with people living their dream with their heart. Two soccer fields are always busy, and Ajou University soccer team is one of the top teams in the University League. I just love these beautiful people!



Permission from people in the pictures was asked for publishing all the photos.

안녕하세요, 고려 대학교.

I spent an exchange semester in Korea University, in Seoul. Location for the University was good, it was about 20 minutes to the real city center.

My accomodation was in the University dormitory. This was really cheap way to live, but quality of the room wasn’t so good.

If you are planning to go to study in Korea, I recommend you to read the dormitory rules really carefully. Most of the dormitories here have curfew (Time when you are supposed to come back to the dormitory, usually before 1AM). Korea University didn’t have this kind of rule.


This was the cheapest dormitory available, I didn’t want it, but they chose to place me in there.

Studying in Korea University was pleasant, busy and hard at the same time. Most of the courses were harder than back in Finland, but with effort you can manage to get good grades out of them. So this made up a problem that there was no time to just sit down and relax, basicly I was studying or going out for attractions or dinners all the time.


The city itself is really big to explore, and you can find yourself at a new place at any time you wish! I visited Nami-island, Busan, Osaka and DMZ apart from Soul while I was doing my exchange studies. Nightlife is really great in Seoul, when you have got enough of seeing the traditional things!


I would recommend this University for exchange studies. There is alot to experience and normally the quality of teaching is good. Just remember to make sure you spend proper amount of time to view the courses, and don’t rely on that you can change them!


안녕하세요 from Seoul, South Korea!

My exchange takes place here in the capital city of South Korea. It is located in the northwest of South Korea, on the Han River. Seoul has around 25 million inhabitants, so little bit more than we are use to here in Tampere. I live in the dorms at the Konkuk University campus (biggest mistake ever).

IMG_3531#2South Korea’s terrain is mostly mountainous and the lowlands are primarily located in the west and southeast. Most spectacular attractions in nature were shield volcano called 한라산 (Hallasan) on Jeju island, which was also absolutely amazing, the other one is mountain called 북한산  on the northern periphery of Seoul.

Little bit about my studies in here. Studying here in Konkuk University has been quite relaxed and easy. Have had some difficulties with couple of 북한산my courses due to language barrier, but I have still managed to survive from them in a way or another. So far the level of education has been what I expected.

This exchange period here in South Korea has changed my perspectives completely. I wouldn’t change anything about it and I would do it again in any given time.

Greetings from Seoul!

I have been here three months now and it has been awesome! The campus area is beautiful and it’s starts to be colder already. It was actually snowing yesterday! The first week went fast when I was getting to know to the city and the school. What surprised me that there were not actually that much people what I first expected. The city is so big and I have still so much to explore.


South Korea has its own thanksgiving celebration called chuseok. We visited Busan in that holiday. It is a seaside city in the south and we went there by bus which took five hours. At the holiday we just relaxed and visited the aquarium which was really nice.


I have also been in couple of events such as Korean pop concert. I also did an ancient Korean exam which included for example fan painting and archery.  I attended to an event where we saw traditional Korean music and dance performance. This was really nice since there were only 25 of us in the whole palace area.


My courses have been really interesting but rather easy. One thing which was surprising was the amount of group works. I had an image that here the individual work would be more emphasized than group works. We study specific courses throughout the semester (no period system like in Finland) so we had midterm exams and final exams. In my opinion those exams have been really easy.


Daily life in Seoul

Greetings from South Korea,

It’s been around three months since I first arrived to Seoul and during this time I’ve settled in well. As a developed nation South Korea seems to be very similar to Finland: Public transportation system is well organized, food is good and Koreans are very polite. Also the lectures in Kyung Hee University are quite similar to TAMK’s, the amount of people is rarely an issue and overall everything has gone very smoothly.

The main reason I wanted to go to Asia was to learn about different cultures. Korea has a traditional confucian culture, which is visible everyday. Elders are respected, confusian temples are all around Seoul and there are plenty of traditions which originate from confucianism. I’ve really enjoyed this aspect of Seoul, and it might be one of the biggest differences between Souh Korea and Finland.

Here are a few pictures:


Left: Kyung Hee University      –  Right: Busan


Left: Temple/ traditional martial arts    –   Right: Mountain view from my apartment


Traditional music vs. K-pop

– Joonas Mansikka


안녕하세요? Greetings from Seoul, South Korea!

안녕하세요! Annyeonghaseyo! Which means hello in Korean language.

Hi, I’m Leopold Ringbom from Finland and I’m studying Electrical engineering in Finland and also here in Soongsil University, Seoul, South Korea where I run my Student Exchange. I made really big mistake because I choose to be here just one semester. I been now here already 3 moths and last month just started. It seems that I would not have had time to do anything yet although I have traveled and go around South Korea a lot. If you have possible to be here at South Korea more than one semester, be more than one semester!

Here at Seoul the local culture is very nice and best thing here is FOOD! You have to go and taste everything. For me the best one was Korean barbecue (picture is below). And if you are coming here to South Korea take one Korean Language course because local people like very much when you speak or at least try to speak Korean language.

Here are some pictures. Enjoy!


Changing of the guard ceremony at Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace and local pose
Korean Barbecue
Korean one of the largest water theme parks
Korean nightlife is one of the best in the world. Seoul never sleeps!
Picture from Seoul firework festival.
Our car and apartment at Jeju island.
View from volcano at Jeju island
We were looking to North Korea from DMZ which is demilitarized zone between South and North Korea
T express at Everland which is Korean biggest amusement park. Top speed 104km/h.
Seoul tower at night.
One of the gardens inside the Gyeongbokgung Palace
View to Seoul from really old Bukchon Hanok Village
Here you can see Seoul old and new part together
Old military uniforms from Korean war