Sarah Poole, a student in the Applied Linguistics Department, is currently studying for a BA English Language and TESOL and is on her year abroad at Pusan National University in South Korea. To satisfy our own wanderlust, we asked Sarah to share her story throughout the year. The first instalment is below!
~ Arrival ~
Hello! My name is Sarah and I am a student at Swansea University studying English Language and TESOL, currently doing a year abroad as an exchange student! So welcome to the beginning of my journey as an exchange student in Busan, South Korea!
I’ve always wanted to visit a different country and when the opportunity came about that I could possibly be part of an exchange programme to visit the top country on my list I could not resist (thank you, Go Global Team!).
The University I am currently attending is called Pusan National University (PNU) and it is located in Busan, South Korea. As the first and only representative of Swansea University to PNU this year, it was very daunting as I had never travelled abroad before. Suddenly, I was about to suddenly travel to the other side of the planet alone! But both the Go Global Team at Swansea University and PNU were very helpful.
Skipping ahead, the journey to Busan was around 18 hours. But after arriving and suffering through the jetlag, it has all been worth it so far. I have been here for just over two weeks, but these have been a busy two weeks for sure.
Moving In and the Dormitory:
Arriving just after typhoon season, the weather is hot and humid, which somehow, I found quite enjoyable in comparison to the weather in Wales. Although the rainy days remind me of home.
The girls’ dormitory is newly built, with high-tech security and large spacious dorm rooms equipped with a sink, a shower and toilet, a desk, air conditioning, and an extra little area where you can hang clothes to dry. The rooms are shared between two people but there is plenty of room and storage.
The facilities within the dorms include a gym, a canteen, a café, halal kitchens, computer room, study rooms, laundry room and small community rooms on each floor with a TV and its own hot/cold water machine to make your late-night ramen!
Classes and Campus:
Luckily my classes are all in walking distance, but the campus is big enough to take a shuttle bus around. Besides the campus being large, PNU is built on mountainous terrain, so going up and down the hills are certainly something you must get used to – high levels of stamina are required!
I have only had two weeks of classes, mostly consisting of course introductions and icebreakers. But the class content seems to be interesting and I am especially enjoying the Korean lessons! As for my other classes, I have taken a variety of subjects varying from Korean culture to English Literature. Each of my classes have a midterm exam and then a final semester exam.
The teachers are very friendly and like to involve everyone in class discussions – all of my lessons are taught in English, excepting the Korean language class which is taught all in…Korean. Having some basic knowledge of Korean is probably required to take this class, but the teacher does a great job of explaining through actions and if it’s too difficult, someone always translates for the rest of the class if there is some misunderstanding. It’s a challenge, but a welcome one!
This is only a small introduction to my time here at PNU in Korea, but I hope to experience more cultural events and travel around over time, which I can share and write about in this blog series. So please look out for it!