Welcome to Seoul, the city that never sleeps, and if anything is more awake at 4am in the morning than 11am.
This is actually my second time in Korea, having checked it out in January with a korean friend of mine, but I must say, this new adventure here on exchange has so many sparks with me, I feel this is going to be the best adventure yet.
So Sogang University is one of the top universities here in Korea, everyone knows it, but also knows it as “Sogang Highschool”…. just as the name says, its true. So let me start with the university, then I’ll talk about party land.
In fact, I just arrived from another exchange in Japan, so I had a little culture shock coming back to Korea, and was slightly scared and anticipating less friendly people here, and perhaps less organised too. But as soon as I arrived, they had HUG members (a student club helping international students adjust to life in Korea, and organise events to go to together, going to a baseball game tomorrow in fact haha) waiting for me and others who’ve flown across the world to be there. They were super friendly and helpful, and speak perfect english, they do a really good job at HUG. There waiting for the airport limousine bus to take us to Sogang, I met one of my best friends now. It’s so wonderful, I’ve just jumped straight in, saying “hey nice to meet you, I’m Caitlin and Aussie!!”, and made so many friends that way. There are so many people from all parts of the world, and its been a pleasure being able to meet them and share this experience together, and get to see each other a lot. See the majority of the international students choose to live in the campus dormitory, which also has local Korean students. Whilst the location is perfect (yet imperfect at the same time, omg all those hills), they are quite strict, and you have to have a share room, but no matter, you never spend any time in your room anyway.
So onto school and classes:
I’m studying Business, and all my classes are in English and have mostly Korean students in them. You actually have to have assigned seating, so be sure to arrive early to class the first time!!! The rush for a good seat was like a stampede of animals, it was crazy. The classes themselves are not as hard as I thought they would be, actually so easy I could have done them in high school, but since I’m doing 5 subjects (and you can only have 3 absences in the semester or you get an automatic fail) I feel this helps lighten the load a bit.
What has made me fall in love with Korea is the university life. It’s a huge campus with students constantly milling around, with all the sports fields and coffee shops, and located in such a central neighbourhood, it has so many things going for it. I’ve spent so many times after class on my way home to get a quick power nap in, yet always end up playing a game of basketball or soccer with my friends, or go get coffee, all the time.
Maybe one thing that has bothered me a bit, is the lack of interaction with the Korean students. Now it varies from person to person, but I think Korean people are either the funniest, friendliest people, or they don’t give two hoots and will purposely ignore you if they don’t want to talk to you. Maybe it is confronting for some being surrounded by a completely foreign language, but don’t worry, you can get by with just English here. However, I’ve made it my mission to not be like other foreigners and really learn Korean because I feel it will complete my experience and help me to make great friendships here in Korea.
So that’s it for me for now! There is so much to talk about, so it’s hard to deliver it in one tangible stream, but overall, it’s only been one week and I feel like I’ve been here and known all my friends for months. You will make life long friends without even realising it, so don’t waste any opportunity you get to have fun!!