A global pandemic does not mean foreign students no longer study abroad at Ewha. Ewha always welcomes those seeking further studies. As much as collecting knowledge is important while studying abroad, traveling and exploring the country is also a lifelong experience.
Heike Wuest, a German exchange student majoring in Korean Studies at Ewha Womans University, shared her own experiences to help other exchange students make the best out of their time studying in South Korea.
Wuest is from the University of Hamburg where she originally earned a bachelor’s degree in music. After that pursuit, she decided to further her studies in Korean, which she got interested in because of the K-Pop girl group Dreamcatcher. Studying abroad in South Korea for two semesters is mandatory for students majoring in Korean studies. Among the several designated universities available for exchange students, Wuest chose Ewha in particular hoping it would fill her interest in women’s history and rights.
Wuest admits that the COVID-19 situation is making it difficult for exchange students to make interactions with other Korean students since classes are all held online. Although she came to Korea with hopes of making many Korean friends and enjoying the campus life, she is currently not even able to take the courses in person. Therefore, she advises that students should try to take part as much as they can and say yes to offers like small group meetups. Regarding the activities she has experienced in Korea, she explained three places: Sokcho, Busan, and Gwangju.
“I liked how the ocean and mountain were located right next to each other,” Wuest said. “I went to Yeonggeumjeong to see the ocean. At Seoraksan, I rode the cable cars to the top of the mountain, where I could admire the waterfalls. I also went to Busan, which also had a nice scenery from the cable cars across the ocean.”
She also found her trip to Gwangju very meaningful due to its historical background. By looking around the memorial parks and museums with archives on the May 18 Democratic Uprising, she learned interesting facts and what Korea experienced on the path to democracy, a history very different from that of Germany. Wuest also plans to learn more about Korean history in the Seodaemun Prison, which was built during the Japanese colonization period to imprison the independence movement activists.
“One thing I regret is not having been able to spend enough time at one place,” Wuest said. “For instance, I only spent the weekend at Sokcho, and we were short on time to enjoy the travel to the fullest. For the remaining time in Korea, I would like to visit the same places I have been to before and spend more time in each. Although you should have a general plan, always be open to spontaneous experiences!”