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What’s It Like Going to Summer School in Korea?

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25 Oct 2022

6 Min Read

Denise Chang (Guest Contributor), Josephine Serena (Editor)

IN THIS ARTICLE

Taylorian Denise shares her experience going on a summer school programme in Inha University, South Korea.

Have you ever wanted to experience studying overseas but didn’t know where to find the perfect exchange option? Well, why not try going for a short term summer school programme instead

 

But first of all, what is a summer school programme? In short, summer school is a programme organised by universities during the summer break that includes both educational lessons and cultural activities. Recently, I’ve attended one in Inha University, South Korea, and let me tell you how much fun I had throughout the three weeks! You may be wondering what are the benefits of summer school? Well, here are 5 reasons you should attend a summer school programme!

1. You’ll get to experience the culture

Taylorian taking photos with decorations

The main purpose of a summer school (especially if you’re going overseas) is of course, for the cultural exchange. Besides learning a new language or experiencing the local lifestyle, it’s also a chance for us to further understand the country’s traditional cultures. It’s also a great opportunity for us to share our Malaysian culture with friends in another country. I got to participate in many activities and some of my favourite experiences were wearing their traditional outfits called Hanbok and tasting their traditional teas.

 

I got to know a lot more of the local culture during my three-week stay which was definitely more than what K-Dramas have shown us. Although I’ve always known that summer in Korea can be extremely hot and humid, I didn’t expect it to be THAT hot and humid — far worse than Malaysia. While our breeze is cool, their summer consist of hot wind. 

 

Despite the differences in weather, I discovered a lot of similarities between our cultures. For example, they have traditional games like Gonggi (공기) which is similar to our Malaysian Batu Seremban and traditional kites Bangpaeyeon (방패연) which in Malaysia is our equivalent of Wau Bulan.

2. You’ll learn how to be independent

2022 Inha Summer School Group Photo

Being away in a different country, you’d definitely have to be independent and manage your time wisely. At the university, there’s a cafeteria that serves us breakfast and dinner on weekdays, but they do have strict business hours — hence time management is important. Wake up early if you don’t want to miss out on the yummy meal!

 

While you may think that being overseas is fun, you’ll still need to juggle between your classes, assignments, and free time as well — especially if you wanna make time for sightseeing. You read that right! There are assignments to hand in just like back home. You’re in summer school, not summer vacation! 

 

It’s easy to get carried away with the galore of unique products and snacks you can find in Korea. But, it’s important to stay on budget and make it a habit to always track your expenses so you don’t overspend throughout the programme. The cost of living in South Korea is pretty high compared to Malaysia.

3. Your chance to step out of your comfort zone

Skating photo

They say you can’t learn by staying at the same spot. During my time here, I stayed at the dormitory whereby I’d to share a room with someone I don’t know! And if you’ve have never shared a room, having a roommate may be… awkward. But, this could also be your first step out of the bubble! The bathroom in my dormitory had six curtain cubicles with a common space to put on clothes — there’s no time (or space) to be shy.

 

Don’t just stick with your cliques, socialise! Make new friends from all over the world. I’ve spoken to people from Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, as well as Uzbekistan. In my opinion, everyone who joins summer school are as excited and ready to be friends anytime, so get out there and introduce yourself!

 

Beside the assignments, there are various activities planned for you in the summer school programmes that teach traditional dance, taekwondo, acupuncture, etc. My module even had an ice skating experience and though it was my first, and last time, skating, it was worth a shot!

4. You get to explore a foreign country

Take a photo on the bus

What’s the point of travelling overseas if you’re not willing to visit places? If you plan well, you can build your own itinerary even before boarding your flight! I spent 2 weeks prior the trip watching various vlogs to find the places I wanted to visit during my stay. Two to three weeks is plenty of time to visit both historical and trendy places.

 

One thing I do like about South Korea is that they’ve very convenient public transportation You can basically go anywhere you want using the subway. I visited the famous Gyeongbokgung palace, two different temples, a couple of shopping districts, and a lot more colourful places via public transport! 

 

If you’re in for an adventure though, just get yourself a tourist brochures at the airport and follow the guide inside. Just make sure you’ve an emergency contact and cash with you in case you get lost.

5. You get to experience their local events

Concert

To make the most of your time in summer school, try searching online before going on your trip to see if there are any festivals or events held during your stay that’s close to your university or accommodation. 

 

There were plenty of outdoor events held and I was lucky to have attended one of my favourite K-pop groups — The Boyz’s concert! It took me three midnights to secure a ticket for myself, and I didn’t regret anything at all. The concerts in South Korea hit differently, perhaps it’s cause it’s set in their home country. And though the stage is much bigger, the interactions between idols and fans felt more intimate.

Although I spent 6 hours in class during the weekdays, my daily footsteps during these three weeks were about 10,000 a day on average. As a person who dislikes exercising, this is a significant number. But travelling by feet is how you can experience more! I also felt more refreshed with the healthy meals and sleep schedule. I highly recommend this experience to everyone and anyone, especially if you like South Korea. I do wish I’d known more before going, such as bracing face the weather and learning more Korean phrases to use in restaurants since many Koreans don’t speak English.

 

PS: If you’re a Taylorian, you’ll get to earn 255 SHINE points under Cultural Appreciation and Adaptation if you submit a reflection on the portal. And if you’d like to be part of a summer school programme keep an eye out on Campus Central — updates will be shared on Global Mobility. Don’t hesitate to leave an email (and here’s a shout out!) to Ms. Lisa for the kind assistance pre-departure! Check out my summer school vlogs if you’re interested to see what places I’ve been to in my three weeks!

Denise Chang is currently pursuing Bachelor of Mass Communication (Digital Media Production) at Taylor's University. She is also the president of Taylor’s Nature Club and vice president of K-Generation Club.

If you're considering a strong foundation to launch your mass communication journey, exploring Foundation programmes or a Diploma in Communication with Taylor's College can pave the way for your success in these dynamic fields!

 

Schedule a counselling session with our education counsellor to find out more.

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