My Exchange Semester in Seoul

Hi everyone! I recently completed my exchange studies at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea. When I was thinking about my exchange destination a year ago, it was clear to me that I wanted to get to know an East Asian country as well as spend a few months in a major city. Turns out, Seoul was the perfect choice!

Korea University Main Building
Korea University Main Building

I spent four months at Korea University (KU), and it definitely was a great experience. Apart from its good reputation, KU has a lot of more great things to offer. A great part about the exchange was the KUBA program, a buddy (tutoring) program, organised by KU degree students. All exchange students were divided into groups, and everyone got assigned a buddy (i.e. tutor), who takes care of the exchange student’s concerns. The tutors also organize multiple events each week for exchange students, so I got to meet a lot of great people quickly.

The course organization and implementation largely differs from TAMK. Course registration is very competitive, so it is highly recommended to do the course registration at the earliest opportunity (which was on some day in early August at 4 am). I was able to get most of the courses I wanted to take. The courses are usually oranized as lectures, so there is not as much exchange between professor and students, however, there are also courses which are very similar to TAMK (i.e. a lot of group work, practical approach). Therefore, it makes sense to study the course descriptions before deciding which courses to take, especially if you prefer courses with a similar teaching style as in TAMK.

The study culture is very different from TAMK, as the Korean students are under a lot of pressure from the family to perform well. Also, most exams are brutal, and it is, even for Koreans, very hard to get good grades. Before and in the exam weeks, I saw a substantial number of students studying until late in the evening at school and even taking a nap while sitting at a table in front of their study papers.

In my spare time, I visited different places around Seoul, especially in the early part of my exchange. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to travel to other parts of the country. However, there were a lot of other students who went to places like Busan or Jeju, among others, and from what I’ve heard, these places are really worth a visit.

Instead of travelling around Korea, I visited Hongkong and Tokyo during the semester. Especially Hongkong, with its amazing skyline and its mix between chinese and western cultures, is a must-see city when visiting East Asia or Southeast Asia.

View of Hongkong from Victoria Peak
View of Hongkong from Victoria Peak
Shibuya, Tokyo

So if you are thinking about choosing Seoul and especially Korea University as your exchange destination, go for it! You will not regret it.

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