I started my exchange here at Yonsei University on February 21st and have been here for exactly a month now at the time of this post. Many people go to exchange for various reasons such as revisiting family that live in the exchange country, explore a new culture and/or to pursue personal growth. My reason was the latter, I came to South Korea knowing a fair bit about the culture and was looking for pursue independence in a country where I would essentially have to start from nothing – no friends or family to anchor me.
So far this experience has been invaluable to me as I have become more open especially when it comes to making new friends. I have already made plenty of lifelong friends from Canada, America and Hong Kong that I will miss once exchange is over. In my opinion, as someone living in the dorms, you tend to see the same group of people everyday and it’s personally rewarding to just say hello and then eventually hang out with them. Everyone is on exchange and like most are open to making friends with other people from different countries. I highly recommend living in the dorms as it is easier to make friends compared to living outside the university.
Life in Korea has also been great – I think one thing that is constantly mentioned in Korean exchange blogs is definitely the nightlife. Korean nightlife is nuts! Especially in the areas of Hongdae and Sinchon where Yonsei is closely located to. The streets are always bustling as people roam the streets and many street performances can be seen – singing and dancing are a common sight. Street food is also another plus as they are usually quite tasty and cheap (between $3-5 AUD). There are other activities such as clubs, bars, PC bangs, cafes and arcades among others that you can enjoy as part of your stay in Korea.
There are also plenty of ‘touristy’ activities that you can do such as visiting N Seoul Tower or visiting the beaches at Busan. I haven’t had much of a chance to do these activities yet but look forward to marking them off my bucket list within the exchange period. One piece of advice I would to provide is that if you live in the dorms you will be required to check in one week before classes start. During that one week, you should definitely try to visit as many of Korea’s attractions.
I wish the best of luck to all future exchange students and hope you have a wonderful experience in South Korea.
David Yin (12400584)
Masters of Finance