International Programs
Photo Essay

Ren Vang

Find out how Ren Vang spent her year abroad in Seoul, South Korea.

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Read practical information about your program and ask current and former participants questions as you prepare to study abroad.

Korea: Living Abroad

Adjustments to the Host University

Adapting to university life in another country and accepting a different perspective on the academic process is one of the biggest challenges that face students in International Programs. IP students must be prepared to adapt to the structure of Yonsei University. While there may be some similarities between the structures of universities in Korea and California, there will be some differences as well. For Korean students it is important to work in a group setting that provides both academic and social support; individual success is less important. The relationship between faculty and students, the teaching style of faculty and the structure of courses may be different from what you are used to at home. IP students need to recognize and adjust to those differences in order to obtain the most from their studies.

Student Activities

You are encouraged to join clubs while you are attending Yonsei University. Local students usually join a club as a freshman and remain members for their entire time at the university where members are expected to speak only Korean and are dedicated to participate in all events including weekend field trips.  For this reason, many clubs will exclude foreign students from participation, while some clubs may be more open and excited to have foreign students participate and share culture.  There are a large number of student clubs. There are clubs for sporting activities, singing, mountain climbing, drama, computers, and many other areas of interest. One club you may want to consider joining is the Mentor’s Club, which has events to pair students with language exchange partners, buddy program to have a bilingual friend help with your stay in Korea, and a cell phone shopping event. The Mentors Club located in the Global Lounge organizes an International Buddy Program for the purpose of promoting interaction between the international students and the local students. Its aim is to help international students adjust to their new environment and to introduce them to Yonsei students and Korean culture and society.   Other events can be coordinated through the Global Lounge, such as retreats, field trips, activities, and forums.  There is also the International Yonsei Club (IYC), which is a group of younger students that are interested in hosting events, such as dinner-drinking parties, and college spirit events, such as cheering at sporting events.

Housing

Housing may be available in an international student dormitory on the campus called International House.  International students from diverse countries live in the residence hall to provide an international atmosphere although the primary language is English.  Alternatively, there are opulent modern apartments available called DMC Ville, where four students share a two bedrooms.  The DMC Ville is on the outskirts of Seoul, but takes roughly 15 minutes by bus.  Information for International House and DMC Ville can be referenced from the “I House” section of OIA’s website: http://oia.yonsei.ac.kr/. The staff in Korea can help with dormitory reservations. Students who desire home stays or living in boarding houses (called hasuk) are responsible for making their own arrangements. Yonsei University encourages students to consider this possibility during their second semester.