1. The friends you make. Probably this is going to happen anywhere you go while doing a semester abroad. But there is one special aspect about making friends in South-Korea. Most of the exchange students come from very far away and definitely feel a bit as a stranger in this big Asian city. So as you get to meet all this people from different countries you will also get very close to them because you will be experiencing a totally new culture and to have people that come from the same region or country definitely will make you feel more at home and develop a very good friendship. And the Koreans are also one of the nicest people you will meet. 2. Work hard, Party harder. This sentence was literally made for the Koreans. They are very focused on their studies/work but also know how to have the best parties. In my experience the parties in Korea were better than anywhere else I have partied haha. Most of the clubs are free or have special offers where you can get in cheaper. My best recommendation is to head to Gangnam or to Hongdae. You will be amazed of the party feelings [also of the big amount of drunken people]and believe me you are going to have a blast.
3. Sightseeing Seoul is a huge city with a population over 10 million. So don’t be surprised if your semester ends and you actually didn’t get to see everything you wanted. There is just too much to see. From restaurants, to cinemas, to shopping malls to museums, temples and so on.. You won’t get bored that easily. I recommend to see as much as possible as there are really amazing places in this city.
4. Spring – Cherry Blossom If you are lucky, you will get to see the Cherry Blossom around March and April. It’s so beautiful and really breathtaking. So don’t miss out the opportunity and head to Yeouido Park, where you will experience a true nature wonder.
5. University You will have a great time at the university in Korea. I talked to many students from different universities and I was amazed about how well they took care of their exchange students. My university [Soongsil University] picked us up from the airport, they arranged our apartments or dorms, we all had a Korean Buddy that helped us with everything and they always organized special meeting so that we could get to know each other better. I was truly surprised of how organized everything was and how little you had to do [your buddy also helps you to enroll in your classes and shows you around, so that you don’t get lost]. And I thought that the courses [took everything in English] were really good and you could learn a lot. And also get an insight of how different, but similar the university is on the other side of the world.
6. Experience the buddhist religion in a temple stay There are many offers in Seoul and around the city to do this temple stay. You can also chose different lengths of stay. I didn’t have enough time left so I just went for two days and one night. But I can truly say that it was amazing and that it gave me an important insight into Korean culture. If you go to South-Korea this is a MUST DO.
7. Travel to exotic destinations Living in Asia gives you the great opportunity to travel to many great destinations. In the case of Seoul, you have one of the best airports worldwide, and some fascinating destinations just hours away. In my case I traveled to the Philippines and to Japan [both were pretty amazing]. Some friends of mine also went to Bali, Thailand, Cambodia, China and so on… As you can see you will be able to travel a lot. 8. Food The Korean food is definetly widely known around the world and the first word that popped out in my mind was #TOOSPICYTOBETRUE. But don’t worry there were many dishes that I truly loved and I became quite addicted to.Korean Barbecue,Chicken [Koreans know how to do the best chicken],Kimpab, Kimchi, Bibimbap and of course of to forget the most famous alcoholic drink : SOJU.
9. Subway I know what you might be thinking now: Who cares about the Subway system? But let me tell you that this is one of the things that I enjoyed the most. In Korea they have a system that you buy a card and load it with money. With this card you can pay for you subway rides, bus and even for taxi rides. I thought this was a great idea, as you don’t waste that much paper on tickets and as it was really easy to use.By the way it’s called T-Money.
Another great aspect about the subway system is the application that you can download for free. You just put your final destination and your current location and they show exactly what subway line you have to take. They even tell you in what wagon to get in so that you get off in front of the stairs if you have to transfer. The subway is the nicest and most modern I have ever seen and really clean.
10. See the world through different eyes Finally I can say that the best aspect about spending a semester abroad in Seoul is that it changes the way you see the world and opens your mind to totally new things. You learn to cope with a culture thats totally new to you and experience amazing things.I know that it can be scary to go so far away, but if I have learned anything in my life it’s that: If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.