Studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea is the perfect location if you wish to experience a modern city closely connected to its traditional roots. Delicious food, convenient transportation, and countless things to see and do. With so many opportunities, both academic and leisure, international students who choose to study in Seoul will have a great time, regardless of how long or short your program duration is.
Enroll in Unique Courses
When applying to either Kookmin or Yonsei University for your desired term, take into account what they have to offer, and what it is that you wish to take away from this trip. Choosing to study abroad does not necessarily mean that you will have to enroll in courses unrelated to your major. Explore the university’s course catalog and syllabi so that you can find the classes you need in order to stay on track for your degree.
You should definitely keep in mind the unique courses that are offered at your host university. These classes may only be exclusive to a Korean university, therefore learning about such topics will allow you to further immerse yourself in the culture. Courses like Contemporary Korean Culture and the Korean Culture Wave, Korean Traditional Music and Culture, and Korean Cinema enhances your experience abroad while simultaneously satisfying a general education credit back home.
Apply for an Internship
Some programs provide internship opportunities to international students during their time abroad. If eligible, you can become an intern at a corporate or research lab. This is perfect for students who seek challenge and want to greatly expand both their skill sets and network in another country.
Participate in Extracurricular Activities
Often times, your host university will organize special extracurricular events for international students to join. From learning how to write in traditional Korean calligraphy style to kicking through wooden panels in Taekwondo, you will be able to participate in various hands on activities.
Join Field Trips
Attend as many field trips as possible. This cannot be stressed enough! Albeit being able to visit these locations on your own, it is best to do it surrounded by fellow students and faculty from your school. Here you will be able to meet many new friends from across the globe whilst exploring Korean culture.
Embark on a 3-day field trip to Gangwon province where you’ll visit temples, Sokcho Food Market, and Nami Island. Spend an afternoon at Gyeongbokgung palace and your evening at Namsan Tower, or head down to the Boryeong Mud Festival if you don’t mind getting a little dirty. You will find yourself enjoying these places you would not have visited otherwise!
Explore the City
Use your down time to explore what South Korea has to offer. Wear traditional Korean clothing called hanboks as you stroll through a palace. Make a trip to Myeongdong where you can shop until you drop and feast on cheap and delicious street food. Bike alongside the Han River in the early morning hours, then spend a night in Hongdae singing your heart out at noraebang. Attend a local water gun festival or rest overnight at a spa.
Regardless of your interests and budget, Seoul has something for everyone. And with its impressive public transportation system, you can quickly and easily make your way around the city.
Travel Outside of Seoul
Visit the other cities in South Korea. If there is already so much to do inside of Seoul, just imagine the possibilities waiting to be found in other parts of the country. Take the subway to Seoul station and from there you will be able to take the KTX train to other cities like Busan, Daegu, and Gwangju in under 3 hours. You also have the option to book a short flight to Jeju Island if you wish to enjoy the beachside.
Seoul is brimming with opportunities for international students. Take advantage of courses and events organized by the university. Spend your free time exploring Seoul and trying different foods. Everyday does not need to be extravagant nor expensive, it’s what you make of the experience and who you spend it with.
Lauren Apacible is an alumna of the USAC Seoul program. She attends the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. During her time abroad she served as a Digital Documenter for USAC.