Katherine – Korea University (Student Exchange) – Republic of Korea
Semester 1, 2023
Bachelor of Business / Bachelor of Fine Arts
I continued my exchange in Semester 1, 2023 by studying at Korea University for a semester. I had spent the semester prior at Hanyang University which is also in Seoul and had chosen to stay over the Christmas break to complete Korean language studies.
I chose to stay in the international on-campus dormitory after staying off-campus the semester prior. I was very lucky and managed to get a single room rather than a double one. Moving was very stressful as I had lots of stuff already and it was a very big process. I think the dorms were the right choice for me as most exchange students lived in one of the dorms, so it was easy to meet people and make friends and the dorm rules weren’t very intense.
Travelling in and outside Korea
This semester I chose to do less study than I had the previous semester, allowing myself more time to travel throughout Korea and Asia. During semester I did many weekend trips including one to Japan during cherry blossom season and one to Taiwan. My Japan trip was incredible and probably my favourite thing of my entire exchange. I went with a British friend that I met from my accommodation, and we went around Tokyo and got to see Mt Fuji with cherry blossoms. While I was in Japan, I also met up with a Japanese friend I’d made during my Korean class. This was so fun and so special to me as she was able to show me around her hometown of Yokohama and showed me the best spots to eat and ordered me food from a cute little Japanese restaurant. As we walked around Japan speaking in Korean to each other, she taught me some Japanese slang and I taught her some Australian slang.
A few weeks later I went on another weekend trip to Taiwan with a Swedish friend from my accommodation. It was incredibly hot as it was May but we were able to look around Taipei, go to Juifen old town and Shifen where we released lanterns up into the sky.
I stayed in Korea for about a month after semester finished to go travelling and I was able to go to Jeju Island and Hong Kong by myself. Travelling by myself for the first time was a little daunting, but I had a great time. I got to go hiking and swimming on Jeju Island and was able to do all the tourist things while in Hong Kong.
Looking back at my entire exchange experience, I had the best year of my life. I feel incredibly grateful to have met so many wonderful people from all over the world, made so many life-long friends who live all around the world and be able to go to so many different places, learn about different cultures and have so many incredible experiences that I probably never would have had otherwise. This experience has shifted my perspective on what I want to do with my life and my career. While I feel grateful to have been able to grow up and live in Australia, I still want to travel further, meet more people and experience new things. I recommend anyone who is considering going to exchange to take the leap. I was terrified before I left and had an incredible experience. I would also recommend looking at many different countries, especially ones that are very different to Australia, because, even though it more daunting, you will get to experience so many more things that you probably wouldn’t have otherwise.