For me, this semester is an exceptional experience in personal as well as professional respect. I decided to come to EWHA, because this is particularly valuable to broaden my cultural horizon, that means to dive in the Korean traditions, way of living and the academic system. As our universities have a cooperation for more than 10 years and I am having an unforgettable time at EWHA, I would like to share some insights into my home university with you as well.
The Goethe-University is located in Frankfurt, the middle of Germany, and has over 46,000 students with about 8,000 internationals. When I asked the International Office how many students already took part in the exchange program between EWHA and Goethe-University, I was impressed: 43 students from both universities participated in this exchange. Most of the EWHA students took courses in sociology or economics at Goethe-University. However, there is a great variety of other subjects from which you can choose. In total, there are about 170 majors from 16 different departments. One of the most interesting aspects when discovering another university is probably how the academic system differs. Here are my impressions of the differences between South Korea and Germany: when university starts in mid-April most of the courses take place only once a week for about 1.5 hours. Courses are usually either lectures or seminars with the latter more practical and discussion intense. The greatest difference is, however, that courses in Germany are less timely structured, so more independent work is required. This means that there are generally less assignments, tests or homework during the semester. In most cases, there will only be final exams or papers due at the end of the semester. Also, German professors do not grade attendance, and evaluation is completely absolute.
What I like most about my university is that I really appreciate the campus. I like the mixture of new and old buildings, the history which is associated with the Goethe-University and the park where you can enjoy your breaks or study. This is also why I felt really comfortable at EWHA and its campus. During summertime, I like the bier garden where you can eat your lunch on the terrace and spend time with friends. You can also find lots of cafeterias on campus which serves a diverse array of German food. Worth mentioning is also ‘Schlüsselkompetenzen’ – an institution that offers workshops, practical lectures and academic skills training for free.
What I like most about EWHA? – I will definitely miss the study cafés around school because I enjoy studying in a cozy atmosphere with friends. It is a pity that we do not have this ‘café culture’ in Germany. I also love the buddy programs, like Peace Buddy or Hangeul Assi club where I got to meet so many nice people and found close friends. These programs helped me settle down. I also like to be called by my first name by professors.
All in all, I have to admit that living in a culture so different from your own is a challenge. However, it improves your adaptability, makes you more open-minded and confident. I feel that you start reflecting on yourself and on your home country. Moreover, I like the change in academic perspectives and having to take courses you could never take back home. I am really glad that I got the opportunity to come to EWHA and would warmly recommend you to take your chance, be brave and go abroad. You have just gotten to know one exciting option!