My name is Jack and as you have probably already deduced from the title I am a very punny man and also I am in Seoul, Korea! If you find yourself in a situation where you are preparing to go to Korea, the first thing you will notice is that when you tell people this, 100% of the time their response will be “North or South?”. The first time, maybe you will giggle. But after 3 of 4 hundred times you will not.
Apart from this annoyance, you will be able to rest easy in the knowledge that you have made one excellent choice.
I am studying in Yonsei University. Apparently, it is one of the top 3 universities in Korea, and it has a world class business school. But more excitingly it is located in Sinchon-dong, Seodaemun-gu. The great thing about Sinchon is that it fulfils all of the most basic exchange student needs; There are endless streets of restaurants, bars, street food stalls, baseball cages, cat cafes, karaoke bars, “love hotels”, more bars and probably much more that I have not yet/am not brave enough to discover. It’s also just one stop from Hongdae, and only slightly further to many other areas of interest (although nothing is too far in this tiny country with amazing transport). I would really recommend that anyone applying for exchange in Seoul look into the locations of all the universities, and consider this in combination with what they intend to get out of their exchange. All uni areas are not created equal.
Studying elective subjects at Yonsei is pretty easy. You have the option of taking their KLI course (Intensive Korean) which is two hours every weekday, and takes up 12 of your UTS credit points. Most of the standard courses are the equivalent of 6 UTS so your workload can be fairly manageable. On top of this, there are a bunch of courses that are directly aimed at exchange students, and it is reflected in their modest workloads. Seoul is a city with so much to offer, it’s a good idea to consider these kinds of subjects if you don’t want to spend a semester with your head buried in a textbook. Yonsei also offer a bunch of non-academic subjects (mostly sports), which you probably won’t be able to get credited back at UTS but can be great if you want to learn something like Taekwondo.
At this point, I am only a month deep so there is only so much I can write about. But if you’re thinking about exchange, start planning now. The process can be long, and at times confusing (particularly if you’re dealing with a uni in a non-English speaking country) but the rewards are worth it!