Edberg Aquino's exchange story to Korea Univ.
Edberg Aquino (ACE)
Korean Education Centre in Toronto
University Life in Korea
“University life in Korea is fantastic and it is also a bit different compare to the western culture. I started my university life on September 03 2017 and the timing was perfect because university school festivals happen around that time. School festivals are very big and popular in Korea. Most universities hire K-pop Stars to perform in their University. In my case, I got to meet Mamamoo who did an amazing performance in our school. The atmosphere here is different because everyone speaks Korean and you will really feel like you are in a different country. Korean university students are very nice, helpful and welcoming. Professors are also much more accessible and sometimes they treat their students out for dinner which I think is quite amazing. I have only been in my university for a couple of months but I have been to a lot of MT’s (Membership Training) which is basically a retreat to get along with your classmates/teachers and to experience the Korean culture. I have been to Seoraksan Mountain, went on a “Kimchi” making trip, made Korean ceramics, and so on. Overall experience of university life in Korea is incredible and I am glad I got to experience it myself.”
Unique culture of university life in Korea
What I noticed the most is that students in Korea love wearing branded items and they always like dressing up to impress from freshman year to senior year versus in western culture where most students just dress up in their freshman year and just wear comfortable clothes until their senior year. Fashion is a big thing in Korea and on top of this, most students like going on a diet and likes working out because their image can play a big role in their life. Another unique culture of university life in Korea is that you can ask you seniors to buy you lunch or dinner and their role is to mentor you throughout your studies. I was surprise at first when they always just pay for the bill and kept telling me that ”It’s okay, I am your Sunbae” which means your senior and that I should do the same to the freshman students once I become a senior. Another reason is because eating alone is not common here in Korea and people might think that you are anti-social versus in western culture where eating alone is completely normal. I also noticed that there is a “one shot” culture here in Korea especially in universities. It is a term used to impress your seniors when you guys are out for drinking. It is one of the most popular bonding amongst seniors and freshmen which is also a part of table manner. So whenever they pour me a drink, I had to hold my class with two hands and I must finish everything that they gave me. It is one of their etiquette and it plays a big role in person’s image. They also have a lot of drinking games and they never ran out of ideas on what to do. For women, there is also something called “black knight” which literally means that they will drink your drink for you however, you have to do what they wish for as a favor. It could be singing, dancing or even a kiss on the cheeks. On top of this, when it comes to dating, “Meetings” and “Sogaetings” can be popular for individuals. “Sogaeting” is when a friend introduces you to another person which may lead to dating in the future. “Meeting” however is similar to “Sogaeting” but it is done by groups. For example you will have 3 female friends to come, and I will have 3 male friends to come. In conclusion, everything can fun and amazing but we should always respect their culture and learn their etiquettes.
Expected Job after Graduation
In Korea, your GPA will play a big role in your life and not just your work experience. Korean Universities can be really fun due to its atmosphere and culture but you should not forget that you are in Korea for your future. Everything in Korea is fast therefore, doing all assignments way ahead is a must. It is also better if you have more certifications for future resumes to give you more opportunity to be more successful in the job market. A good balance of fun and studies is perfect because in Korea, it can be very competitive. However if you have a good GPA, know more than 2 language especially English and Korea, then you will have a higher advantage than anyone else. You can expect a job depending on your score and you might have to start as an intern which is very common here in Korea. This is one it is good to be close with your seniors because they can maybe help you get a job someday. On top of this, if your Korean skill is very good, you will have more job opportunity because most company would prefer someone who they can easily communicate with their native tongue. It is also about connection and you really have to show how you can be a great candidate. Therefore, study hard and never give up.