Phoebe – Ewha Woman’s University – Korea
Semester 2, 2022
Bachelor of Behavioural Science (Psychology)
I spent the fall semester on exchange at Ewha Woman’s University in South Korea. Ewha is known to have one of the most beautiful campuses, especially during autumn when all the trees start changing colour. It didn’t take long to adjust to the different campus as I got a tour of the campus with a few other exchange students from our peace buddy. Ewha has this Peace Buddy system which is basically where a group of exchange students are paired up with a local student that will help you adjust to campus life and answer any questions you might have about where a lecture room is etc.
Trees on campus // Haneul Park
I personally didn’t find it very difficult at all to make my way around Seoul as with apps like Naver maps/Kakao maps and Kakao metro it’s pretty easy to figure out where to go and what transport to take. Additionally, Seoul has a lot of English translations on signs which makes it easier for English-speaking foreigners to navigate the city.
Dongdaemun History and Culture Park
If you don’t know any Korean at all I would recommend at least learning the Korean alphabet before you go as just knowing that alone will allow you to understand quite a bit of what’s going on around, you. For instance the word 커피 = coffee (커 – koh피 – pi) is an example of a “borrowed” word which is just an English word spelt out in the Korean alphabet. Of course, there are also translators like Papago and Google Translate to fall back on as well.
At Ewha I took on general education and creative arts units and all of them had two lectures per week that were each 1 hour and 15 minutes long. The classes were also much smaller than I was expecting at around 20 to 80~(?) students per class. Additionally, attendance was mandatory/graded so along with the professor you learnt student’s names pretty quickly. The courses themselves were also quite fun and varied quite a bit from each other as each professor had a different teaching style.
The ECC covered in snow at Ewha
Events/Travel during the semester
I really do recommend going on exchange to Seoul during the fall/autumn semester as from September to December there are a lot of events/festivals and concerts that take place. For example, universities like Sungkyunkwan, Korea and Yonsei University hosted festivals in 2022 where a bunch of artists like Ive, Zico and Psy performed. The purpose of the festival is for clubs, departments and students to get re-acclimated to student life.
Space Walk in Pohang
Travelling during your semester abroad is really popular and for good reason, just within Korea, it’s really easy to hop onto the KTX and go from city to city. During my semester exchange, I went to Gyeongju, Pohang, Busan and Paju but if it was your first time in Korea I would really recommend going to Busan, Gyeongju and Jeju as well.
Gamcheon Cultural Village in Busan
One of the courses I took was an art history class and in it, we learnt about the royal tombs that are in Gyeongju learning about something and then seeing it in person was a really cool experience. Gyeongju is visually a very different city from Seoul, it’s known to be quite historical and almost all the buildings have a traditional Korean façade.
Gyeongju Royal Tombs // Hwanglidangil Road, Gyeongju // Daereungwon, Gyeongju
Chuseok (mid-autumn festival) also takes place early on in the semester and is a pretty major holiday in Korea. But other holidays take place as well like Hangeul Proclamation Day and National Foundation Day.
One thing I don’t see a lot of people mention is the weather in Seoul while on exchange. September for the most part will be hot, Summer is just ending and so it takes a few weeks for the weather to cool down. October is really peak autumn in my opinion, the temperature is really nice and the trees are changing colour, there are a lot of ginkgo trees lining the streets in Seoul and the yellow is really pretty. November is similar to October but with cooler temperatures and more dead leaves. December is a different beast as someone who has never experienced anything but an Australian winter, I was unprepared for the cold/snow, but you know humans are adaptable you’ll get used to the cold I would just recommend buying heat tech especially if you’re staying past the end of the semester and leaving closer to New Years.
Outside the Seoul Museum of Art // Chunggyecheon // Orange Cosmos, Wildflower garden at Olympic Park
Find out how you can apply for exchange via the QUT Student Exchange website.