Hannan Nassir-Deen, a BSc Psychology student was awarded funding by Santander Universities to study at the Yonsei University summer school in Korea. You can read about her experience below.
I found this opportunity online. I think I just searched up summer schools in Korea, something along those lines. I had already heard about the university (Yonsei) beforehand, so I was comfortable pursuing studies there.
I explored the area around the university.
After daily lectures, I would explore the campus, finding places to study and admiring the buildings. The campus had so many areas to study and relax. They even had dedicated napping areas!
My favourite part of the trip was experiencing a different culture. I loved my experience at Gyeongbokgung Palace. It was an opportunity to truly immerse myself and learn Korean traditions.
I made sure to see both the modern and traditional sides of Seoul. Aside from a rich history, they also have modern innovations different from what I have seen in London. For instance, this Samoyed café. A café where you just play with and feed dogs.
Food was a struggle at times. It was difficult to find food suitable for a halal diet. If you have dietary restrictions I would recommend staying in a place where you can cook your own meals.
I gained so much independence during this trip. I already viewed myself as independent. But having to navigate in a foreign country takes it to another level! This trip also strengthened my communication skills. Learning to communicate with others despite language barriers or cultural differences is so valuable.
My top tips are to do your research! Google is your best friend. Find out how public transport works, get a sim card, and note down emergency numbers.
I also got a lot of information about weather, food, culture etc. from a Korean friend. But you can pick up a lot of information from YouTube videos and blogs. Some places have special passes you can buy for tourist attractions etc.
I also recommend making a list of all the top things you want to do. You can bunch up things are close in proximity to maximise your time.
It is important to deeply research your accommodation. Not only to make sure the room itself is suitable, but also to ensure it is a suitable area. Make sure the area is safe and check what surrounds it. Consider its distance from the placement and its distance from central activities/tourist attractions.