Hello! My name is Abbie Campfield, I am studying English Language and TESOL in Swansea University and I have had the opportunity to study in South Korea this year! My year so far has been very eventful, and I would like to share my experiences of studying abroad.
First and foremost, thanks to this year abroad, I have been able to explore different parts of South Korea, including Pohang, Daegu and other places. I have been able to visit various temples, attractions and be surrounded by the culture. South Korea is an incredibly beautiful country. The people that I have met in Korea, friends and strangers, were incredibly welcoming and very helpful to me. I knew very limited Korean, but I could see that the people that I was talking with were very happy that I even attempted to converse with them in their language. This is one of the main reasons why I encourage anyone who wishes to go to Korea for an exchange program to learn a bit of Korean, as it helps you to absorb the culture more and feel as if you are truly a part of it.
The education system is quite different from Swansea in the sense that there are exams in every subject instead of essays. Midterms and finals provoke a large amount of studying, and it can be overwhelming at times due to the sheer amount of work, but I did my best to make the most out of my experience. It’s not every day that you get to experience higher education in another country! Outside of education, one thing that fascinated me about South Korea is how easy it is to travel in the country. Whether it’s buses, the metro or the KTX (a fast speed train), it is highly unlikely that you would get lost in the country. Utilizing apps such as Naver maps has helped me immensely and as long as you have that app you could truly go anywhere. I was able to travel 4 hours across the country by myself from Busan to attend a concert in Seoul, something I would have never thought of doing in a foreign country before!
Talking about travelling, this trip to Korea was the first time I had ever travelled outside of Wales, so I was incredibly nervous to travel. However, I found that I prefer to travel by myself than to travel with others, and I did not expect to be so efficient! Although the 14-hour flight was grueling, and the jet lag made it difficult when I first arrived in Korea, the trip to Busan was an amazing experience. All in all, I am very glad that I decided to go abroad to South Korea to study, and I would recommend it to anyone, as it is truly a once in a lifetime experience that you would not regret.