When I started at USC you could never have made me believe I would be studying where I am right now. Like most students, I had always had a strong desire to study abroad and spent plenty of time scheming of where I would go, but for some reason Asia never really made it onto my short list. And yet here I am, living the dream in South Korea, entering my fourth month of study in Seoul!
Seoul is one of Asia’s, if not one of the world’s great metropolises, and Konkuk University, where I am based, is right in the heart. And what a place to be… Seoul is a truly 24/7 city with inhabitants dedicated to a work hard, play hard lifestyle. Life here moves at warp speed and is a never ending blur of new sights, experiences and adventures. The city itself is massive; one Semester is not enough to see half of its sights, let alone all of Korea!
The city, people and culture are a truly unique and eclectic mix. While home to some of the world’s great multinationals (Samsung, Hyundai and LG to name a few), Korea is also one of the most ethnically homogenous societies in the world, and this means that every aspect of life has a uniquely Korean tinge. The Korean Peninsula, as its unfriendly Northern occupants indicate, has a long and complex history which, alongside its rapid globalization has meant that it is very much a place where the ancient past and future are all mixed in together.
The uni life here has been incredible! There are definitely challenges involved, primarily in relations to overcoming language barriers, but on the whole these are quite minimal and, I feel, add to the experience. Alongside great courses that cater very well to English-speaking students, Konkuk offers so many ways to get involved in campus life and meet awesome Korean and International students! This semester I’ve joined Alpine, Astronomy and Wood-working Club, taken free Korean lessons and participated in Konkuk’s annual festival where I got to hear Gangnam Style live (how’s that for a bucket list achievement?).
The reason I’m in South Korea is thanks to Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan. The initiative, headed up by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is centred on getting students out into the Indo-Pacific Region. Like me, many students tend to set their sights on Europe and North America when studying abroad and overlook, as I’ve found out, incredible opportunities in the places on Australia’s door step. With so much of Australia’s future set in the Indo-Pacific, study here is offers incredible value for your education and opportunities in the future.
It may have been on your original list, but I highly recommend a Study Overseas semester in South Korea! It’s taken me well out of my comfort zone, but with the wild adventures that have followed it has rewarded me incredibly!