On this week’s Students’ Perspective of CAU series, French student Julien gives you his thoughts about being an exchange student in Korea!
Can you please introduce yourself?
Hello! My name is Julien Urbain and I am from Paris, France. I am a Computer Science major at EPITECH University but at CAU, I am studying as an ICT major. It’s my second semester at CAU.
Why did you choose Korea over other countries?
One of the main reasons why I wanted do my exchange in Korea was that I really wanted to visit and explore Asia as well as learn more about their culture. Since Korea is one of top developed Asian countries based on their economy and wealth so it made me really want to learn more about the differences between France and Korea. In addition, Korea is geographically between two of the most known Asian countries, China and Japan, so it is also a plus when you want to travel to different Asian countries. Also, another reason I chose Korea was the fact that they are well known for the fast internet speed. 🙂
Any cultural differences/similarities about CAU?
What I found every different here in Korea compared to France is many people are very polite and shy. Even though, everyone’s English is very good; you will need to speak to them first. Another difference compared to France is that it is very important that you take of your shoes before entering Korean residences as it is very disrespectful to the owner who lives there. It is also suggested that you should not speak loudly when you are taking the subway.
What cultural aspect of Korea fascinates you?
The mix with US and Korean traditional culture. The way the Korean are so disciplined in their everyday lives, it could be at school to taking the subway. Korea is also very interesting for how they are very progressive about video games for example their professional gaming environment is very active and matches are aired on television. On their spare time, everyone is either playing on their phone or watching a stream of a popular game.
What do you think is a cultural aspect of Korea that attracts foreigners?
The royal palaces and temples around Seoul is one of the main places everyone loves to visit. It provides a beautiful scope of the history of Korea and you could experience the Korean culture. Also, the food is very tasty and very affordable. In addition, if you like Korean pop you will be in heaven here.
What is your favorite Korean dish?
Korean BBQ for sure!
What do you think of the CAU Blue Mir Dorms?
Very good for the price and you can meet a lot of people from different country! Also there is two CUs (convenience store) located in the 308 building and 309 building that provides many snacks or drinks which is pretty handy when you decide that you don’t want to go out. The cafeteria is very affordable and serve Korean and international food. The downside is that there is a curfew so you can’t really go in and out in the night like you want.
What amenities are provided in the dorm and what do you think of them? Is it easy to use?
Well, in every floor we have a lounge that provides everything we need, such as a microwave, a refrigerator, iron, etc. We can have access to them anytime except the laundry machine which closed at 1 am. Although the laundry machines are all in Korean, there are pictures to guide you throughout the process. There are well maintained and easy to use! Also, some main amenities in the common area are laundry machines, printers, study areas as well as public computers.
Would you recommend the dorms to future exchange students?
Yes, I would absolutely recommend staying in the dorms to future exchange students. One of my favorite thing about the dorms is that there are plenty of international students from different countries staying there, so it makes staying in the dorms more interesting.
What do you think about the cafeterias on campus?
All the cafeterias are very cheap and pretty good for the price. I prefer going to the cafeteria in the dorm hall 309. The cafeteria in dorm hall 309 costs slightly more than the cafeteria food in the hall but it provides more international options such as pizzas, salads and spaghetti. Whereas, the cafeteria in 308 has more Korean food varieties since the menu changes everyday.
Did you have any difficulties studying in a foreign country? If so, how did you resolve it?
Sometime people may not speak English so trying to communicate may be difficult. But in the end with help of the few words that you learn in Korean class and using hand gestures, it will help you communicate easier.
What CAU courses are you taking this semester? Are there any differences between your CAU courses and the courses at your home university?
Several computer related courses, and Korean and Variable Cultural Topics. Since, I am from EPITECH, most of our courses are project oriented while here the courses are more traditional. Traditional meaning more lectures and interactive class discussions. I enjoy studying Korean even though I am not the greatest at it.
What are some new experiences you are going to bring back to your home country?
A deeper knowledge of Korean history that I didn’t know about as well as discovering a lot of new Korean food. I had the opportunity to visit the DMZ and while I was there, I witnessed the separation between North and South Korea. When I was there, I visited the 3rd tunnel made by the North Koreans when they were trying to invade the South. I recommend everyone to go visit the DMZ if you are interested about North and South Korea.
What is your favorite area in Seoul?
Hongdae is a vibrant and lively area, it has great restaurants, street performers and a lot of different shops.
Is there anything else you would like to share that may help current or future students at CAU?
Yes! I suggest everyone to purchase a T-money card when you first get to Korea! If you plan on taking the public transit, it will be easier to buy a re-loadable card rather than buying a ticket each travel. Secondly, I suggest you bring extra cash with you since it will take at least a month before you receive your Woori debit card. After you receive your debit card, you can use it as a T-money card. Lastly, I recommend everyone to attend all the CKEP events if possible. You get to have an amazing cultural experience every time!
*All photos are taken by Julien