The third month of exchange

The dreaded midterms have arrived…

As an EPD student, the courses I took at Hanyang are MEE3008 Robot Engineering, EIS1015 Embedded System Design, ITE2037 Object-Oriented System Design and CUL1189 Contemporary Korean Studies. Studying for the engineering courses at HYU was definitely not easy because some of the courses were final year courses which meant the class materials was pretty advanced. The lecture style for one or two of my courses in HYU were also very different from SUTD’s style of teaching which made it challenging to adapt to. And so the midterm grind begins… Thankfully, HYU campus has some really nice spots to study in.

Study spot #1: HOLMZ at Hanyang Plaza

HOLMZ is a really cozy study place at level 2 of the Hanyang Plaza building (Building 105). It is one level below the main student cafeteria which makes it really convenient to go to after meals. While there are some free-seating available, most of the seats must be booked using the kiosk at the entrance and the booking can be made by using the campus app (Heyoung Campus) or by tapping your student card. There are also more spaces available on level 4.

Study spot #2: Paiknam (백남) Library

Paiknam Library is the main university library and the building is 501. If you’re looking for very quiet spots to focus on studying, Paiknam library is a good place to be in. You will need either your campus app or your student card to enter the library though! During regular hours, most levels of the library is open to free-seating. Outside of those timings (including weekends), only certains levels of the library are open 24/7 for students to study in and the information can be found on their website. For certain study and reading rooms, the library enforces rules such as “no usage of mouses” or “no typing on computers” in order to ensure the environment is very quiet. Do make sure to check the signs outside the rooms which indictate the rules before you pick a seat! My favourite place to study in Paiknam library is on level 3 where most of the reading rooms are as there is a outdoor balcony with a nice view that I take breaks at.

Level 3 outdoor balcony with a nice view

Other study spots

South Korea has some crazy cafe culture including study cafes where you can pay a fee to study at the cafe for the whole day (for some cafes, its by the hours). For me, I preferred studying in school but I do recommend checking out these cafes at least once just to experience it!

A weekend getaway to Jeju-do (제주도)

After the tiring midterms, I made use of a long weekend to travel to Jeju island for a family vacation. The plan was to meet my family members who were flying directly to Jeju on a Thursday afternoon. However, this plan fell apart when my domestic flight from Gimpo Airport into Jeju was cancelled due to strong winds and rain in Jeju. Apparently, this happens quite frequently so pray for good weather when visiting Jeju!

GG… look at all those cancelled flights.

As a result of this bad weather, I had to reschedule my flight to the following day. Fortunately, although there was still a bit of a delay (also due to weather), I managed to arrive in Jeju-do safely. Our family rented a car from Lotte car rental and I recommend doing so as it is the best way to commute around Jeju. With that, our Jeju roadtripping through misty roads began.

제주도 roadtripping
Due to the cloudy weather, the roads had a misty and nostalgic vibe

Stop #1: 성산 일출봉 (Seongsan Ilchulbong)

Where you can see 해녀 (Haenyo) – traditional female divers, dive for fresh seafood.

Stop #2: 외돌게 (Oedolgae Rock)


Stop #3: 주상절리대 (Jusanjeollidae Cliff)

Unique rock formation from lava that flowed into the sea

We went to many other places such as the Haenyo Museum, 만장굴 (Manjanggul) Cave, and 천지연 (Cheonjiyeon Waterfall).

Of course, not forgetting the amazing food we ate:

  • 전북죽 (Abalone Porridge)
  • 해물탕 (Seafood Stew)
  • 갈치조림 (Hairtail Fish Stew)
  • 흑돼지 (Black Pork)

Out of all the foods, my favourite was the 해물탕! For a price of 60,000 won (about $60 SGD), it consisted of 14 abalones, 1 whole squid, 2 small crabs, 10 prawns, clams, mussels, vegetables and it fed 4 people including my brother who is a big eater.

Probably the most worth-it and delicious seafood meal I have eaten in my life

It was my first time in Jeju-do and the scenery and food definitely blew me away.

Emerald seas of Jeju

I highly recommend coming to Jeju-do for a short getaway during exchange!

A school excursion to Everland Theme Park

Somewhere at the end of April, HYU organised a free trip to Everland Theme Park for its international and exchange students. It has always been a bucketlist activity for me to take the T-Express roller coaster which is the infamous wooden roller coaster that I have seen many Korean celebrities ride in variety shows.  Safe to say, my brain was very well shaken after the ride.

The day I found those Korean celebrities were not exaggerating their reactions on this ride.

Wandering around Namsan Tower and Seoul City Wall

Even though I have visited South Korea prior to this exchange, I had never actually been to Namsan Tower. So on a fine day, I decided to aimlessly explore Namsan Tower with my camera. The views were beautiful on a nice day.

Namsan Tower from a park near Seoul City Wall
Famous locks near the tower

The walk up to Namsan Tower was pleasant and its even easier to come down since there is a bus that comes to the top frequently to ferry people back down.

You can also walk around the Seoul City Wall which isn’t too far from Namsan Tower and also has really nice views!

Hiking Seoul’s highest mountain: 북한산 (Bukhansan)

What’s more fun than hiking up Bukhansan alone? Dragging a friend who has never hiked before with you. So on a nice warm early summer day, me and Karlene (also from SUTD) got off at 구파발역 (Gupabal Station) on line 3, took bus 34 for 10 stops to 북한산성 (Bukhansanseong Fortress) stop, and started our hike.

The beginning of the hike to the base of the mountain was deceivingly nice and smooth.

Since Bukhansan is about 800m high which is similar to what I already climbed in Sokcho, I thought it was be a walk in the park. It was not. Well, for starters, the two of us didn’t bring enough water so we had to ration our water intake (we kinda felt like Bear Grylls doing this). Secondly, towards the summit, the path turns into slopes that were steeper than 45 degrees and you have to pull yourself up using steel ropes. And this is after all the steep rocks you had to climb to get towards the top. I mean, eventually we made it after like 2 hours of climbing and wheezing but hey, the view was rewarding.

Smiling on the outside, dying on the inside – fake it till you make it

Stumbling upon the Lotus Lantern Festival

With our wobbly legs coming down from Bukhansan, me and Karlene were on the hunt for some 짜장면 (jjajangmyeon) in Dongdaemun area for dinner when we stumbled upon the Lotus Lantern Festival which is an annual festival parade similar to Singapore’s Chingay festival. The festival is a celebration of Buddha’s birthday and is usually held in May.

Korea’s lion dance, 사자놀음 (saja noreum)


A beautiful endless parade of lanterns

We were lucky to stumble upon such an interesting and colourful celebration of culture.

More to come in the final month (and final blog)!

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