A couple weeks ago, I embarked on a life-changing experience as a Yonsei International Summer School student. I lived in Sinchon (a bustling area in Seoul, South Korea) for six weeks as an international student and took three classes — Industrial Organization, International Economics, and Korean Economy. Since I took part in the UCEAP program, the credits from the classes I took transfer easily into my major requirements.
Since this crazy summer cannot be summed up in one single blog post, I’ll do a brief overview of my experience and will elaborate on specifics in the future posts.
The classes at Yonsei weren’t too difficult and I only had classes four days a week. However, my school days were long because my first class began at 9am and I finished classes at around 5pm. I lived in the SK Global dorms on campus and it was usually a 15-20 minute walk my class in the morning. I had visiting professors for two of my classes and a resident professor for my Korean Economy class and they all taught in English. To be honest, because my visiting professors came from various universities abroad, I had a difficult time understanding their accents and speech patterns. But since my classes were all economics, lectures and assignments were pretty self explanatory so not being able to completely understand my professors wasn’t too big of an obstacle when exams came along.
Social Life – On Campus
Because my experience abroad was only limited to six weeks, most of the friends I made in Seoul were also international students at Yonsei. Almost all of them were fellow UCEAP students as we all met each other through the UC Facebook group. I was able to meet several people who lived in Korea, but they were mostly people I randomly encountered and not people I had class with. In most of my classes, we had around 3-5 Yonsei students, but they tended to stick together so I didn’t get the opportunity to meet many of them.
Social Life – Off Campus
Seoul is a crazy, bustling city with so many places to explore and things to do. Even as part-time student, I still found myself hanging out with my friends late at night on the weekdays. Because the transportation system is easily accessible and so convenient, getting around Seoul wasn’t too difficult even as a non-Korean speaker. Trying to balance the freshness of Seoul and academics was definitely difficult because there was always something to do after classes (and as a result, I didn’t get much sleep those six weeks).
Since Korea consists of a homogenous society, a lot of my friends asked me whether I had a difficult time getting accustomed to the culture as a foreigner. Although Koreans could easily tell that I was a foreigner, I didn’t experience racism to the extent of some stories I hear online (which might be due to the fact that I’m Chinese-American). In some areas with fewer English speakers, I had a harder time communicating with others but with the help of Google Translate and my limited Korean knowledge, I still managed to get by.
Like I mentioned earlier in the article, I plan to continue making posts that detail the specifics of my study abroad experience and answer any potential questions that any of my readers have. Additionally, I’ve learned a lot about skincare while in Korea, so I will also be making the occasional skincare post talking about my current 8-step regimen and potential reviews of new products.
I’m really excited to be releasing more content on this website! I didn’t have much content to post the past year so I’ve been neglecting blnkgrid. Now that I have so much content to write after traveling to Korea, Japan and Taiwan, I can talk about my personal experiences.