It’s been awhile since school started and there are lots of new faces in Kookmin University and some of them are exchange students! This semester, we have numerous foreign students from all over the globe including Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, USA, China, France, Canada, and many more. They are staying here for a semester or two for many reasons and purposes. Kookminians should embrace these students and help them to adjust to the foreign environment. Both the students and faculty members as well as the school should do their best to provide them suitable ambiance and convenience to school life. From some interviews with these exchange students, let’s find out how they are finding life in Korea in addition to what Kookmin University is doing right and what are some rooms for improvements regarding exchange students.
Kristen Davis, Marvin Louwerse, Casper Dufour, Catalina Loredo
1. What do you like about being an exchange in Kookmin University / Korea?
The admission process was simple and well explained. Also the staffs working in the international office were very nice, trying to help me out a lot. They quickly responded to my inquiries and they were a great help when I couldn’t afford my dorm and had to move to a cheaper dorm. Also, many students are well-dressed and fashionable. I can hardly see anyone wearing slippers with sweatpants.
I like the social life here. People are very friendly even the people on the street. When you ask for help, they are kind and want to help you out. Also, students here are proactive, doing all kinds of school activities which is very different from Denmark. I feel like these students are not just classmates to each other but real friends. I also like school cafeteria food where there are various menu choices that I can choose from. I like the metro system as well that it is well-functioning and takes you almost everywhere.
I live off campus and I look forward to coming to the campus every day. I love the fact that it’s in the middle of the city but at the same time, it is surrounded by nature, the Bukhan Mountain. Apart from the atmosphere, I also like the Korean culture and the people. I didn’t pay for my meals in the beginning of the semester because people wanted to treat me. I am also enjoying the variety of classes provided. I am currently taking Japanese course and this makes me motivated to learn other languages like Korean.
I like it so far. Unlike French campus where it is just a building and that’s about it for campus, Kookmin campus is very spacious with the soccer field and basketball court. I also like that there are multiple teams for soccer and the professors are friendly with great English skill. The school coordinators were a big help. They helped me with numerous issues related to housing, class registration, et cetera. There was a course I wanted to take and they helped me getting that course. I also like the school clubs and all the facilities here. My school doesn’t have anything like this.
2. What do you dislike about being an exchange in Kookmin University / Korea?
I don’t know a lot of Koreans here and it is a bit hard for me communicate that well with other Koreans especially some Ahjummas and Ahzusi who do not speak Englsih that well. But I am learning Korean so it won’t be a big problem in the end.
I don’t like how they keep track of attendance all the time. It is a bit different from my country where you come and go as you please. I want to travel around Korea but it is a bit difficult for me to do that because of the courses. Also, I am surprised by the English skill in Korea. Students in Kookmin University are fine but people in restaurants for example, they don’t speak English that well.
The class registration was really tough. There is so much competition going on. In addition, the way people drive on the road is scary so although I have my international driver’s license I don’t drive around here.
Except for students in the international hall it is hard for you to communicate with other students. Also I find that fruits and meat are so expensive in Korea. I eat a lot of meat and sometimes it’s not affordable. Regarding school, the orientation did not properly reflect the whole course for one class so I am finding the class a bit challenging.
All in all, it is possible to sum up that students are satisfied with life in Kookmin University in general. They liked how it was different from their universities. The biggest difference would be school clubs. It can be said that Kookmin University has manifold school clubs with students who are proactive enough to enthusiastically participate in these groups. Plus the school supports such activities regarding facilities and events. We should keep up with this and try to improve even more!
Kookmin Review Reporter