It doesn’t matter how much you prepare to set off on your new experience abroad, or how many YouTube videos you watch there’s no way to fully prepare. Hearing advice from students that had gone to Chung-Ang before really made me feel more comfortable in the idea of being away for one year. The following advice are some key points that I would have liked to have been more aware of!!
I wish I’d exchanged more dollars (or any currency) to Korean Won. On orientation day the GLAMs help you apply for a bank account with Woori Bank but it does take a few weeks to be processed so you will have to use your home bank card. This was a bit of an issue because your home bank card will have a certain foreign fee when you withdraw money, therefore having spare cash that could last you at least a month is very beneficial to avoid those foreign fees.
Research and explore Incheon Airport! The day I arrived to Korea I had so much time to spare before the pick up service. Incheon airport is considered to be one of the best airports in the world with a lot of perks:
-Pay a visit to the cinema
-Spa and Sauna (Located on the East side of B1,)
-Golf Club(Hop on the free shuttle outside the Arrivals Exit 3 (third floor) and get off on the third stop named International Business Complex. )
-Ice Skating (B1)
-Garden (On the second floor )
-Korean Culture Museum
– Medical Center (Inha University Hospital (located on B1), provides emergency, dental and general health care services.)
– Visit a 24 hour Capsule Hotel in case you have a long wait and want to rest (Located on the first floor of Incheon Airport’s Transportation Center)
For more information on Incheon Airport please check the link: http://www.airport.kr/pa/en/a/index.jsp
Seasons in Korea
Coming from California there’s really no such thing as four seasons, therefore winter in Korea really took a blow on me. I did not have the proper winter clothes especially jackets. Therefore, you should bring a good winter jacket, if you are arriving in fall you will experience it towards the end and for the beginning of spring semester.
Planing Trips in Advance
I should have planned trips in advance while I was still in the U.S.! Planning trips while in Korea was a bit late if you want to get the cheap accommodations especially during the holidays such as 추석(Chuseok) during October. Check the schedule sent to you in the email. Then make sure you plan ahead and book those plane, train or bus tickets. A few starters within Korea would be Jeju Island and Busan, to say the least. Also, since you are in Korea trips around Asia can be very affordable if you are able to manage your budget and plan ahead! (Note: You MUST have your ARC before travelling abroad)
You can click on the link to help you plan your trips: Getting around South Korea
Finding your classes
If you were not able to attend a school tour because you thought you could do it yourself and ended up getting lost (like me), it is best to look where your classes are before hand. This is of course like in every school to avoid being late to class on your first day especially in a foreign country.
Making new friends
On orientation day make an effort to talk to international and exchange students not just from your own little bubble. This helped me meet students that had already been here for more than one semester and guided me for the following days.
The first few weeks at in Korea may be overwhelming but make sure to take it day by day and enjoy every moment of it! MAKE SURE TO CHECK OUT OUR BLOGS THAT HAVE HIDDEN GEMS ABOUT CHUNG-ANG EVENTS AND RESOURCES.