0 In Korean learning journey (:/ Seoul Life 2011

Q&A: sharing some thoughts

Michelle left me a comment over at the other post and I thought that since I’ll be answering them on my blog anyway I might as well do it in a post so that other people can benefit too ^^ My answers come from my own experience there, so it might not be the same for everyone.

1. How’s the interaction between the Language Course students and the general Korean KU students? Are they sorta segregated or do they mix well? Apart from the KU Buddy programme, are there any ways to join in and integrate? Like do you have access to the same libraries, same extracurriculars, same sports clubs/ gyms etc? (BTW, I’m not enrolling as an exchange student. Haven’t the luxury of time. I’m just going for the 10 wk programme)

I didn’t attend the language course (being an exchange student), but from what I see, they are segregated. This happens everywhere. Language course students usually have lesson from like 9am to 1pm and they are in a separate building. The KU language building is situated in the middle of the school, so it’s not as ‘separate’ as the KLI in Yonsei.

You can join the clubs etc if you want to know more Korean students ^^ You can just walk in to the student union building (where they hosts all the club rooms) and find out more. I accompanied a friend to do that and they are very welcoming.

We have access to the same libraries etc!

2. How’s the composition of the language class? Are they like mainly foreign exchange students who also do non-language courses? And were the nationalities fairly well-mixed or, as some language schools tend to be, do people hang out along factional lines based on whether you’re Chinese/ Japanese/ Vietnamese/ American/ European? What’s the age group like?

I would say.. it depends on your level? Exchange students do not attend the same courses as the language course students. As for the nationality mix, if I can generalize, I would say that the lower levels usually have more Caucasian students (and also a better mix) while the higher levels are usually Asians from neighbouring countries (Japan/China) or gyopos (like Kor-Americans). This is not to say that non-Asians are less proficient, just that the interest in Korean language is more recent and less common compared to Asian countries. ^^;;

Again, it is hard for me to generalize how people hang out. But based on what I’ve observed, factional lines are kinda distinct and its common for people to hang around their own group and speak their own language. The age group is usually around the 20s, but you do see exceptions around.

3. And yes, I completely don’t drink either. Did the Korean natives pressure you to drink? I know its like that in US, but in UK, you’re socially free to just order juice or whatever.

Nope they don’t pressurize you. But you have to understand that Koreans bond via drinks, drinking games etc. So it’s kinda awkward if you are among a group of Koreans and don’t drink. If you get what I mean… ^^;; But you are definitely free to order your own juice.

4. You know how different schools in Ivy attract different stereotypes? Like the really liberal and artsy sort go to Brown and the more science-y, practical, hands-on learning types go to MIT etc? Is there a parallel for SKY in Korea?

Yup there is such a parallel. I guess it has to do with the fact that certain schools are stronger in different faculties. But I do observe a general difference between Yonsei and KU in terms of school culture, the whole ‘feel’ and I have heard the same for SNU even though I have not been to their campus.

It’s good to look into and find out more about the school, country etc but going there and embrace the unknown is also a good thing. Just go with the flow and you will be fine. (: Everyone will have different experiences, and how it will be for you will depend on how open you are to embrace new cultures, experiences etc ^^

If anyone have any question regarding Korean, Korea etc, feel free to leave them in a comment. If there is enough questions, I’ll pick some and do up another post (:

I’ll try to answer all questions to the best of my abilities, but I don’t claim to know a lot about Korea. Just sharing my experiences

Talking about Korea makes me miss the place so so so so much!

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