저는지엔웨이예요 (I’m Jian Wei), EPD Junior on GEXP in POSTECH (Pohang University of Science and Technology) and welcome to the first of many blog posts coming from the Eastern side of South Korea, Pohang!
First things first, let me introduce the four of us who are here.
(From top left, clockwise: Tan Rong, Dan, Tee Meng, and me)
Coincidentally, all four of us are from EPD.
Whenever people mention South Korea, the places people think of are cities like Seoul, Jeju and Busan, so what’s Pohang all about?
Pohang is a major industrial city located at the eastern side of South Korea and it’s the main seaport of the Daegu-Gyeongbuk region. The nearest metropolitan city to it is Daegu, followed by Busan, which is about 2hrs away by bus. It’s also the home of POSCO, one of the world’s largest steelmaker. It’s also where the university I’m on exchange, POSTECH, is at.
POSTECH is actually established by POSCO, which is pretty cool since their main aim of establishing POSTECH was to provide advanced education for budding engineers, and what better university to go for exchange in other than one set up for engineers, by engineers?
POSTECH is also one of South Korea’s top universities. Recently, it was ranked THIRD on the 2019 World’s Best Small Universities list by the Times Higher Education. THIRD IN THE WORLD!!! POSTECH also boasts a Student:Faculty ratio of 3.2 : 1 (sounds familiar?)
Settling down in POSTECH
Together with Tee Meng, we landed in Seoul and headed to Pohang by KTX (the train you see in “Train to Busan”).
The journey to Pohang takes about 2.5 hrs and costs ~S$60 one way. Alternatively, there’s also a bus that’s half the price but the time slots are limited and takes at least 4 hrs. Afterwards, we had to take a cab to POSTECH, where we met the International Relations staff to settle some of our administrative matters, followed by checking-in to the hostel after a loooooong day. The hostels are double room, and was pretty comfortable as they renovated the rooms recently.
Shortly after, we went to explore the POSTECH campus itself.
Even though the number of undergrads in POSTECH is similar to SUTD, the POSTECH campus is so much larger. The campus is split between the residential area and the campus area, where all the classrooms are, and the whole campus is surrounded by lush greenery everywhere. Probably feels relaxing to walk around the campus after all that studying.
Orientation + exploring Pohang
Over the next 3 days, POSTECH International Relations conducted an orientation session for us. It was mainly an administrative orientation (no, not the one where you gotta
chant about a bird do cheers) to help us adapt to South Korea and to learn more about what the school has to offer. Other than the 4 of us from Singapore, there’s also another 5 students from NTU as well. We also met lots of international students, hailing from France, Germany, India, Canada, China, Mexico…the list goes on. On the last day, we were supposed to go on a fieldtrip to POSCO and the Homigot, but due to some issues they had to replace POSCO with Yangdong Folk Village, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which was a little disappointing since you don’t really get the chance to visit one of the world’s largest steelmaker, but all is good, gotta be adaptable to changes when you travel 😎
The above was taken at Yangdong Folk Village, which is a traditional village from the Joseon dynasty. We were brought around to see how a traditional village was like, how their way of living was, and how the houses are organized, which reminded me of my Term 5 HASS mod, “Building, Dwelling, Belonging” hahaha
Next up, we visited the Homigot, which is a famous attraction in Pohang. Basically, it’s South Korea’s most eastern point, and people like to come here on New Year’s Day to catch the first sunrise of the year. It’s also where the “Hands of Harmony” is at, which is something like a landmark in Pohang.
It’s also where we understood the idiom, “A bird in the hand”.
Other than the orientation, we also explored the nearby vicinity of POSTECH on our own. Pohang itself isn’t a metropolitan city, so there’s no metro systems, only public buses. Near POSTECH, there is a neighborhood called “Hyoja”, where we can get groceries, fast food, Korean food and such.
Being a fan of football, we also went to catch one of South Korea’s top football league matches in Pohang, as they have a team here known as the Pohang Steelers. Tickets costed us 15000 won each, which is about S$17, but we were quite close to the action. In fact, we were seated so close to the action that Dan caught a free Pohang Steelers football when they were throwing it up from the field LOL
The match was against Seongnam FC, and wow the atmosphere at the stadium was great, there was a section for the hardcore supporters, where they brought drums, cheered and sang throughout the match. There was great support for the Steelers. Regardless of the young or old, everyone was cheering loudly.
Booing the away team…part of the game I guess?
GET REKT, BOI
Game ended with a 1-0 win to the Steelers, was hoping to see more goals but wow we all had a good time, should probably catch a baseball game next!
I guess that sums up our first week in Pohang, I think the next four months should be pretty interesting…stay tuned for more updates from the rest of us!