Studying abroad is always an exciting and life-changing experience. Whichever country you choose to study in, you’re sure to have some unforgettable memories. But let me tell you why you should pick South Korea, the land of Morning Calm, as your study destination of choice. Or so I fondly call, Kimchi land.
1 ) Speak Korean in no time
Most of the Korean scholarships offered to Filipinos require a 1-year study of the Korean language before pursuing the actual degree. But don’t worry! It’s not as difficult (or boring) as it seems. You’ll be attending fun and intensive Korean classes for 4 hours every day and after that, you could wander around and tour the city! Lots of free time to immerse you in Korean culture. Sometimes, the language school will also bring you to cultural trips and other outdoor experiences.
2) Lots of ways to improve yourself (outside the school)
As an international student, you’ll have countless opportunities to participate in activities. It would not only look good on your CV but can also balance out any school-related stress. You could have a part-time job at a café, teach English to cute Korean kids, or even work at a ski resort! You could also apply for government-related internships like the Seoul Metropolitan Government Student Internship or help out with cultural activities at the Seoul Global Center. Just make sure any job/ internship you have is covered by your visa.
3) Students here study hard. But they party harder!
Korean students are known to study hard and take school exams VERY SERIOUSLY. Days before the exam, you’ll see almost the whole student population in libraries and coffee shops. What’s cool about this is that student organizations actually give out free snacks and drinks to students, as a sign of support (something along the lines of “You can do it! Ace that test!”). It’s surely a small gesture that goes a long way.
Though Korean students study hard, you bet they know how to party hard too! After exams, you’ll find the nearby clubs, restaurants, karaoke, and shopping places packed with students celebrating the end of their exams. Areas such as Hongdae, Itaewon, Myeongdong, and Gangnam come alive until dawn.
4) Fast and Free WiFi
I think this is self-explanatory. Did you know that South Korea has the 2nd fastest WiFi connection in the world? And it’s free. I’m able to download a 3 GB movie in less than 5 minutes. Enough said.
5) Hassle-free public transportation
Commuting in Korea is such a breeze. The subways can take you practically anywhere and have fast and free wifi. The buses are clean and on-time as well. It’s just so convenient; you can meet your friend from the other side of the city, have dinner, shop, and get home just in time before your dormitory’s curfew.
5+ 1) Korea is your home away from home
Last but not the least! Studying in Korea is awesome because it’s not really too far away from home (only a 3hr and 50min. flight!). Korea has quite a large Filipino community which can serve as your anti-homesickness support group. There’s a Filipino market open every Sunday if you want to hear Mass and get your weekly fix of pancit or lechon kawali. There’s also the Pinoy Iskolars sa Korea (PIKO), a support organization for Filipino students in Korea. And there’s your small group of Filipino friends in your university (almost every university has at least 1 friendly Pinoy face J) You’re in good hands here!
I hope I’ve convinced you (or at least made you consider) having your awesome study abroad experience in Korea. There’s more to Korea than just Kpop, Lee Min Ho, and kimchi. You’ll see. Take the plunge and see for yourself.
Jescia Aquilizan decided to pursue her Masters degree in International Development in Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul. She graduated in 2014 & has done several internships around Korea, including the UN Office for Sustainable Development, Korean Development Institute (KDI School), & a social travel enterprise called Playplanet. She’s been living in Seoul for more than 3 years now, & still finds a lot of reasons to fall in love with this country more and more.
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