Being a foreign student in Korea


“What is the professor talking about?”
I asked myself while trying to understand the lecture.
Physics lecture in Korean~you are so dead.”, my inner conscience told me.
I now understand how those back-benchers in high school used to feel when the teacher asked them questions about the lesson.
To tell you the truth, I have to study everything by myself. It is my own fault because I didn’t study Korean language well before starting my university. So I would like to tell everyone who are planning to study in Korea, to study Korean well before coming here.
Luckily, I have nice classmates who help me when I don’t understand the lecture. 3 out of 7 classes are in English. The remaining 4 are giving me a hard time.

IMG_20121101_145803

Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea

I entered Hanyang University in 2012. I am not a freshmen anymore, but I still feel like one. My student life in Korea is like an adventure.
In the 1st year, everyone was relaxed and didn’t care much about the lecture or the classes. Most of the students sat at the back and slept the whole lecture but 2nd year is totally opposite. Everyone wants to sit in the front and almost no one sleeps during the lecture. I think I am the only one who feels sleepy during the lecture.
Most of the Korean students study hard and that makes me feel I am so lazy. I need to get myself together and study like they do.
My grade wasn’t that bad last year. I hope to get better grades this year.
My best friend always tells me one thing, “don’t study like it’s a burden; study to get rid of the burden.”  I am trying to follow his advice.

After spending 2 years in Korea, I think now I can give some advice to people who want to come here. So here are some tips:

  • Learn Korean language before coming  to Korea if you want to have a happy student life.
  • Be independent because you can’t get help from all the people all the time.
  • Study about Korean culture so that you don’t get culture shock and also be ready to experiment with your taste-buds because food here is different.
  • Learn how to save money because you will need it. Trust me. You must think twice before buying anything. Sometimes you end up buying stuff you don’t really need.
  • Bring your own laptop unless it’s okay for you to spend some millions won on branded laptops. Some electronic marts offer affordable laptops but they are not good in long-term use.
  • Living in Seoul can be 2 times more expensive than that in other cities. I used to live in Cheonan before moving to Seoul. I could have saved money there but in Seoul, it’s almost impossible.
  • Korean people don’t open up to people easily but if you get to know them, they are really nice people.

I hope this might help anyone out there wanting to come to Korea. I will leave some links below about studying in Korea. You can check that out  and get some good information. Happy Study!!!

For studying in Korea:

http://www.studyinkorea.go.kr

For information on Korea:

http://www.visitkorea.or.kr

For Korean scholarship:

http://www.niied.go.kr

For free online Korean classes:

http://www.koreanclass101.com/

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14 thoughts on “Being a foreign student in Korea

  1. I like that advice quote from your friend (“don’t study like it’s a burden; study to get rid of the burden.”).

    I’m interested in going to Hanyang U. Which courses are you taking? Do the professors speak in Korean a lot of the time even if you’re taking a class that is supposed to be in English? Physics must be hard to catch, especially when being thrown at you in another language. Good luck! fighting! 😛

    • First of all, thank you very much for your lovely comment~
      I am taking environmental engineering course. The professors can speak English but sometimes it is difficult to understand what they really mean because of the accent. If you want to join Hanyang, you are most welcome…I will be glad if I can help you…Take care^^

  2. Hey Razes! What’s up!?
    I can’t believe I found this post while making a research for my 3rd writing of PAE! haha
    I don’t know which courses you are taking, but in my major classes I have only 1 class that is taught in English (JAVA Programming). Well, I would rather say “it is supposed to be taught” in English. In the beginning of the semester the prof taught us in English and everything was cool (of course he made almost 80% English and 20% Korean). But as time went by, the percentages were gradually reversed! The prof saw that many students couldn’t keep up with the class, so he started teaching more and more in Korean until he made the whole class in Korean… I asked him why he is doing this and hi told me that it was because he has already done the 2/3 of the course in English. It seems that there is a policy in our school saying that “English courses” should AT LEAST make their 2/3 in English. I would have complained about that, but I have some Korean friends and also, I can understand the professor’s position, so I am just trying to keep up with the Korean classes!
    As for Advanced Maths for Engineeres I cant get anything..
    Anyways, nice post! 😉
    See ya!

    • I know how you feel because some of my English classes turned out the same. Anyway, thanks for the comment.

  3. Hi.. I found this blog from WOW Korea group. You have a nice blog. My Korean language skill is not good, but lucky me, I can avoid courses in Korean. I wish you success in your study!!

  4. Hey, I am now studying korean language very hard, I want to get into hanyang university as well, but it seems that my korean isn’t getting far enough, I don’t have a friend to converse with and I feel weird if I use korean here in my hometown, do you have any tips?

    • Hi there~ I don’t know if you are studying Korean by yourself or in a language institute. If you are studying in language institute, then you can talk with your fellow classmates but if you are studying by yourself, you can check online language website like livemocha where you can learn language and teach your own language. There are so many other websites, you just need to google it. Best of luck.

  5. Do u need to do the assignment in hangul?If yes…do u need to buy a laptop in hangul context?What about the mobile phone…if u want to send message to ur korean friend,surely u need to write in hangul?Please reply.TQ

  6. Hi Razes,

    I am Chloe from Malaysia. I have few questions to ask you about Hanyang University.
    1.Are you a KGSP scholar?
    2.Is the dormitory fee include meals?
    3.The lecture notes is in English or Korean? and is the examination papers bilingual? can we write the answer in english?
    4. I applied for Computer Science and Engineering. Is it some of the courses taught in English like your major? Then the other half study in Korean.

    • Hi Chloe,
      Nice to hear from you.I will answer all your questions.
      If you have more questions. Please feel free to ask.
      Yes, I am KGSP scholar.
      The dormitory fee does not include meals.
      The notes are mostly in English. You can ask your professors for English version of exam paper. Yes you can write in English if the professor approves.
      Yes, every major has some courses which are taught in English.
      You must be fluent in Korean if you want to understand the lectures.
      Good luck.

      • Woah. It is so nice of you. Thank you so much for your prompt reply!!!! 😀 I have been looking for people studying in Hanyang University after 2nd selection results.
        I just passed 2nd selection of KGSP. Hanyang University sent me an email about the interview. How was the interview? Would you mind to tell me what kind of questions did they ask you?
        I searched the Hanyang website and found out that the dormitory fee is 1200000 won per 6 months.
        Is that true? If like that one month only costs us 200000 won. It is so cheap compare to other university.
        How did you know you get accepted by Hanyang University? Before the 3rd result came out, you got email from Hanyang or you knew it when the results came out?
        You study in Erica Campus or Seoul Campus?
        Thank you very much in advance. 🙂

      • Hi Chloe,
        Congratulations to you for your selection and good luck for the interview.
        When I applied for NIIED, we did not have to choose the university. We applied for the universities after we came to Korea.
        In my interview, they asked me about my hobbies, extracurricular activities and my interests. No formal questions at all.
        I think if you are calm and confident and can explain why they should choose you, you will be selected.
        I live in the dormitory and it costs around 250000 won per month. It is cheap because there is no place to cook and you have to buy coupons to eat at the canteen.They have cheaper dorms but they are not good enough. Other universities are expensive because they have place where you can cook your stuffs.
        As I mentioned earlier, I applied to Hanyang after I came to Korea. I submitted my papers and they just sent me confirmation email after a week or two.
        Since you are in your country right now, I think you will get confirmation one month before coming here. That would be in January.
        I study in Seoul. I do not know about dorms in Erica campus.
        If you have more questions, you can send me message in my facebook: https://www.facebook.com/razesw
        Good luck.

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