My understanding of studying in Korea was derived from a very cramped 10-day study trip to Ewha Womans’ University where I took up a specially customised course in Korean. Thankfully, with the help of my other friends who are currently foreign students in Korea, I’ve pieced together an article that summarises 5 crucial things you need to know about studying in Korea!
1. Choosing the right school
Studying abroad can be a costly decision to make, so you’ll definitely want to do sufficient research on where you can best invest your money. And that means looking for a university that’s famous for the area of study you’re interested in pursuing. Take your time to read about the different universities and the courses that they offer. Learn what the SKY and YES university alliances are about. Don’t forget to look outside of Seoul! That’s where some of Asia’s best universities are located at.
2. Finding suitable accommodation
While most students in their freshman year tend to live on campus, students tend to move out after that. When you’re without the security and comfort of the campus dormitory, where do you go? Choosing somewhere near the school could save you a whole lot of inconvenience and transportation fees. Do you want a one-room or a room in larger apartment? Explore the different kinds of housing offered so you can find a room that’s value for money. If you don’t mind a small room, consider living in a Goshiwon.
3. Adapting to Korean culture
Regardless of where you come from, chances are Korea’s going to be very different from what you’re used to. That means re-learning all the things you’ve already learnt to do. Make an effort to learn how locals perform daily tasks such as paying for an item, ordering food, or even buying groceries. It will make your life a whole lot easier and as a bonus, you might make some new friends when you ask a local for help.
School culture differs from school, but one thing that you definitely need to know is that Koreans take punctuality very seriously. A friend of mine said that she would get angry stares from her fellow classmates if she strolled into class just a couple of minutes late. Each Korean university has their own distinctive culture, and since they are also big on homogeneity, not sticking out like a sore thumb will save you a lot of trouble.
4. Being adventurous
Studying overseas is a fantastic chance to try new activities! Most or I would say all freshmen have to go through what Koreans call ‘MT’ which is short for ‘Membership Training’. It’s usually a 3D2N trip out of a city to a more remote part of Korea, to bond with your fellow mates and seniors. What puts most people off is the amount of drinking involved, but to be polite, at least take the first shot.
5. Getting ready to travel alone
If you’re someone who loves to have company like me, it can be tough at first to live alone in a foreign country. Since Korea is big on sharing, finding certain kinds of food for yourself might pose as an issue too. But keep an open mind and build yourself a supportive community of friends that can lend you a hand in times of need. Such as a friend who you can trust to make decisions for you, or a friend that is financially stable enough to lend you some money in an emergency.
Look out for foreign student communities in your school and who knows, you might even find a new best friend! After all, going overseas to study also means making a whole lot of new friends from different parts of the world that you can keep for life. !
Change can be scary at first, but embracing it in different ways can lead to a university experience like no other. For most, university is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so make it count!
If you’re looking for help to manage the application processes, Go! Go! Hanguk is here to help. They offer advice and help to students who need help with visa, school and accommodation applications, all for free! Check out their upcoming study trips to Korea, and don’t forget to quote KAVENYOU for a discount, specially for you guys.
Go! Go! Hanguk website: https://gogohanguk.com/en
Article by: Cass @ KAvenyou
KAvenyou: Singapore to Korea – Music, Wanderlust, Foodie, Lifestyle.
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