I arrived to South Korea at 21st of October. I stayed first few days in hotel. After those days I get a place from dormitory in Korea University campus area. The dormitory building and rooms reminded me a Finnish army so those are not in so good shape but exchange period lasts only a few months so I will deal with it. Usually we don’t spend so much time in the rooms because there are a lot of activities in the City. My roommates come from Mexico and Canada. Canadian guy moved out because he didn’t want to stay in dirty rooms so now I get a new roommate and he comes from United States. I like to live in dormitory because there is always somebody to talk with and that’s how I can improve my language skills every day.
There are about 10 million citizens in Soul and there is not direct center area in the city as we have in Tampere. The city is divided into sub areas and you can move to another area easily using by subway. The subway of Soul is one of the best in the world and it’s the most convenient way to move inside the city.
I am studying in Korea University which is located in Anam district. The most of time we spend in Anam area but we have explored also bigger areas e.g Hongdae, Dongdaemun, Itaewon and Gangnam. It feels like there are Korean restaurants everywhere with menus only in Korean. Couple times we have ordered a dinner without knowing what is actually included in meal. Usually bigger sub areas are more international because there are universities in the district. There you can found more western restaurants.
We have spent the most of time with other exchangers and peoples are very nice in here. There are available personal buddy assistants from our university and they are really polite and they do everything to helping exchangers. They also arrange various activities e.g city tours, dinners and sport activities. This way I can meet locals and learn more Korean culture. Especially dinners are good way to meet other exchangers and locals. In dinner we have ate Korean barbeque and drunken couple bottles of Soju. Soju is Korean drink what they drinking in almost every dinner. The food culture is different what we have used to eat in Europe. In Asia they eat meals with chopsticks and they eat a lot of rise and noodles. They don’t eat that much protein and meat than we have used to eat in western countries. Koreans eats quite spicy food and couple of times I have not able to finished meal because it has been too spicy.
It belongs to Korean food culture that they usually share all meal. With main course they serve plenty several of dishes. Once we get in restaurant and our table was full of dishes before we ordered even the main course. In western countries we eat from our own plates but in here they usually share dishes with other peoples from the same plate. They also split the costs with all diners and it does not matter what have you ordered. So in Asian countries they are living lives in collectivism whereas in western countries we live in individualism.
I have studied few weeks and at first it was challenging to follow lectures because it is my first time to study only in English. Week by week it comes easier to listen lectures in English and I have improved my language skills. There is almost in every class some kind of group assignment or presentation and we introduce topics in front of class. Europeans speaks relatively fluent English and locals are pretty shy speakers in front of other peoples.
I have spent memorable time in Korea so far and it feels like time flies but thankfully we have couple months left and many places to explore. Exchange period is a great way to experience unforgettable moments and I can recommend it for everybody.
Korea University Business School