My daily life at Ewha usually includes: waking up early to attend Academic Korean class, having something to eat with friends at the school cafeteria, then attending other classes, or if I luckily have a day off I get to spend the day exploring Seoul.
Through my classes I have made friends with many exchange students, and we enjoy eating together or going to noraebang, but I came to Korea with the plan to make lots of Korean friends so I could practice my Korean language skills. Joining a school club has helped me immensely in this endeavour! Since my hobby is photography I joined Ewha’s photography club, Photo Trace, last semester. We meet to take photos together, and while we do that we talk a lot. Since the members are more comfortable in Korean than English we speak in Korean which has given me many chances to practice my conversational skills! Sadly my camera broke so I wasn’t able to attend as many photography trips as I wanted, but I was able to help the club at the school festival!
In my hometown we don’t have school festivals so this was a new experience for me. I had a really fun time selling cotton candy and bookmarks alongside the club members, and after my shift was over I got to look around the other club’s stands. I was very tempted to try every type of food and drink being sold!
My home university is in a very small town, which only really contains the university and its students. I love the university, but there is nothing much to do in the town. In Seoul, and especially in the areas around Ewha, there are so many options. No matter what you want to do, or when you want to do it, you can play, or shop, or hang out in coffee shops. Personally, I love going to coffee shops and reading, or listening to music, or even studying.
My favourite hang-out spot is the “Coffeeshop Alleyway” in Hapjeong. The station isn’t far from Ewha by subway, and there are so many unique independent coffee shops that I feel like every time I go there I find a new place to spend my time. Hapjeong is next to Hongdae, and so I also enjoy walking up the road to that area and looking at the shops or watching street performers. But because there are so many people I sometimes feel a little stressed out, and then I prefer saying in the quieter Hapjeong area.
Another one of my hobbies is taking long walks, and here in Seoul my favourite area to go for walks is the Han River. Every area near the river has it’s own ‘park,’ and I enjoy walking down and seeing the different types of activities happening in those places. Some parks are full of young guys playing basketball, while other areas are enjoyed by couples or families having picnics.
When I first came to Seoul I didn’t like how grey everything was and how the city was filled with huge buildings, but the Han River is so full of nature that it makes me feel more at home. Similarly, traditional or historical sites are also fun to visit to get away from the feeling of a big city, and there you can learn a lot about Korea’s history, and do fun things like trying on a Hanbok.
Ewha is a great university to be an exchange student at, because not only is there a lot to see and do at the university, and lots of nice people to meet, but also you are situated on the subway line number 2, from which you can get anywhere in Seoul pretty easily.
I wish I could stay in Korea, and at Ewha for longer, but sadly this is my last semester here. I plan to take part in more club activities and explore different areas in Seoul, and have a really memorable time here!