My semester at Chung-Ang University, South Korea:
To be honest, before coming to Korea, I was a little bit afraid because it is on the other side of the Earth. So, it is obvious that I expected a different culture, language, and tradition. It is true that Korea is totally different from what I am used to, but I think it is different in a good way.
Let me explain from the beginning.
A ten hour flight is no joke and since it was my first time being on a plane for such a long time, it was very exhausting. When I landed at Incheon airport, I just wanted a place to sleep, right away. But what really made my day were the GLAMs who took care of the exchange students very well. It was very pleasant to see smiley faces and it really gave me the energy that I needed.
Of course, the first few days in Korea were a little bit hectic; I definitely know that I am not the only one who suffered from jet lag and also cultural shock. I can say for sure that, thanks to good organizational skills of the university, we exchange students survived our starting days very well.
Before I came to Korea, I promised myself that I would participate in many activities and take every opportunity open to me. I am not sure if I fulfilled this promise one hundred percent, but I tried really hard and now as I near the end, I am very satisfied with everything I did here.
I should mention education because I considered it as the most important aspect, right after cultural experiences. The education system here in Korea is totally different from what I have in my country. In Korea, I liked how we have two exam periods and not only one, because it divided our learning material into two parts and it wasn’t that hard to study them. I had some classes with Korean students and some with only international students. It is true that I could feel a slight difference between these classes, but I really can’t consider which one I liked better.
There were presentations, which I enjoyed because I like working in a team. Also in one class, the teacher divided us into groups and thanks to that I got to meet many friends, not only international but also Korean; this is actually when started my participation in the mentoring program.
In one of my classes, I met really nice girl and we decided to go for the mentoring program that was organized by the department of Business Administration. To be honest, at first, I didn’t think that we would have such a strong friendship; but we spent a lot of time together, as we studied together and she showed me many interesting places here in Seoul. I will never regret that I applied for this program and to who ever is in Business Administration, don’t hesitate and go for this experience in Korea.
If your major is different, don’t be sad, because here is also another program organized by the dormitory where you can participate. Since I promised myself to take every opportunity… yes, I applied for this one too; I don’t regret it at all. You will meet new people who can turn into your good friends while you spend some quality time with them.
It sounds like a pretty busy semester, right? It is necessary to study for school a little bit, work on presentations with other people and in my case, also participate in these two programs. But this is not the end of my experience.
The International Office prepared really nice excursions for exchange students throughout the semester. I was so surprised that something like this exists here. If you apply for the trip, you will be able to discover some new places or experience great events and on top of that you don’t have to pay anything!
I enjoyed these trips a lot but the strongest impression for me was the second event. I have never been to stadium before and I have never watched any kind of sports event before. I will never forget how the atmosphere was at the baseball stadium and how I felt when I was cheering with other people, even though I didn’t know about the game’s rules and about the teams that were playing. But I didn’t care, I was just happy I could experience something like this.
And now, it is the end, I am writing this article and remembering all these good things I experienced here. I feel tears in my eyes but I know it is time to go home. I enjoyed my stay here. Of course I had also bad days but it happens when you are abroad, so far from your family, friends and place which you know very well.
Not every day is a feast but it is ok.
Let’s just concentrate on the good things and happy memories because it is actually what you and I will want to remember forever.