Around the university itself, there is a large football field and basketball courts for not only the university’s sport teams or clubs but generally anyone else interested in sports, as long as the courts and fields aren’t being currently used. For incoming students, there are a wide variety of student clubs available to join. The handbook provided by the university only lists a handful out of all the clubs that are available, so it is worth personally going out to check out what clubs are available when you arrive, especially at the start of the semester when all the clubs open up stalls similar to O Week in Australian universities.
Since I applied for a buddy, I was assigned a student ‘Sogang Buddy’ from Hands Up for Gathering (HUG) International Student Association, who was extremely helpful for getting to know my way around and we generally kept in frequent contact over KakaoTalk. It was especially helpful that all the members of HUG were highly proficient in English, so there were very little problems in terms of language barriers. Also, as an incoming exchange student, I was automatically invited to any of the events that HUG organised. One such event I joined was a visit to Seoul Namsan Tower.
I used the major elective block in my Bachelor of Science in IT degree to do something different. I enrolled for the intensive language course with Sogang University’s Korean Learning Education Centre in order to pick up a new language. It is turning out to be a great way to push myself outside of my comfort zone and force myself to adapt and grow. I also enrolled for an extra class in Humans and Technology taught by Sang-Kee Park. This particular class did not have any lectures but had two days of tutorials per week. These classes were structured fairly similarly to the tutorials at UTS. In terms of how the standard subjects are taught here, there is little difference to UTS. However, if you intend to take up any of the language courses, be prepared to jump straight into speaking and listening exclusively in Korean.
The biggest difference here in Sogang University was that class seatings are always the same throughout the semester based on the seat you take in the first class. We were told this was because there would be a teaching assistant who would take your attendance based on your allocated seating. We also had bells for the start and end of class times. I was later explained by my exchange buddy that this class seating policy and the class bells were actually unique to Sogang University, so funnily enough, Sogang University had a nickname of ‘Sogang High School’ among the local students.
There are printing services available across the campus as well as in the Gonzaga dormitory if you decide to live on campus. Some printing services may differ from one another, for example: the one in J Building offers free printing however you must bring your own paper, whereas the one in the Gonzaga Plaza offers paid printing without needing your own supply of paper. The Loyola library is enormous and offers books beyond both English and Korean, and also a multitude of quiet study spaces. I found that some of the study spaces in the library were much more segregated and quieter than those around UTS. Textbooks, often required from some classes, and other books and stationary needs can be freely sought from Gonzaga Plaza, and all of it is shockingly affordable.
The facilities at the Gonzaga dormitories are very extensive – from communal areas per floor with a microwave and fridge, to laundry rooms with access to both washing machines and driers, to a small gym available for any dormitory resident to use. There are rigid but fair rules about the dormitory facilities that future incoming students may want to keep note of, particularly the rules about curfews for those who enjoy late nights out.
Judy Zhi Zeng
Bachelor of Science in IT
Australian Government New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant recipient.
For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au