Seoul Incheon International Airport

People travel overseas for all sorts of reasons; to experience a new culture, to understand the wider world around them or maybe even to look good on their social media. But some of these reasons may not be so relevant when it comes to travelling to study for a term overseas. After all as compared to studying in a new country for the entire university life or going abroad just purely for leisure, there are some who feel that going overseas for a short term of study is too short for the full cultural experience, since one has to take lessons and study during the weekdays- and sometimes this eats into the weekends too. But others may also feel that such an experience would be too expensive because the potential cost that one may incur over this exchange which would include the school fees, accommodation, living expenses, flight tickets and many more, is way more than just spending a simple week or two overseas purely for leisure travelling. So people would then think that the quality and satisfaction of such an exchange would be neither here nor there, but that’s where it actually is ironically the best part of it! Here are some reasons why:

A typical day in a Korean lecture-tutorial class
  1. Experiencing school like a local can be interesting, because no where else would one be able to attend class just like how normal students do so thousands of kilometres away from home. Besides, experiencing school isn’t just about class or the hostel, one would be able to learn the way of life of the locals as the universities are usually away from the usual tourists spots. Living like a local can actually help to cut costs (plus there are also subsidies or scholarships available which one cannot make use of in a normal vacation). Additionally, one would be able to get recommendations and tips from locals, students and teachers alike, to experience the true local culture. As in the case of Daejeon, Korea where KAIST is located at, what initially appeared to be a mundane Korean city turned out to be full of attractions which are just walking distances away from school- from  shopping streets (Gungdong District) to the National Science Museum (which even has an operational maglev) and many more. Plus, there are also interesting modules that one can take which are pass or fail during credit transfer that one wouldn’t be able to do if one had studied full time overseas!
    Seongsan Illchulbong, Jeju
    Sangdang Fortress, Cheongju

    Jagalchi Market area, Busan
  2. Aside from experiencing school, since one would not be chasing grades, it would also mean that one would have time to do extended and extensive travels. Take for example in Korea, most of the other locations are relatively near each other (reachable by train or inter-city bus), so one can literally visit many sites around the country and not need revisit in the future just to see another city of the same country. And if you are wondering what’s the difference between the cities and towns.. aren’t they all part of the same country? The short answer is no, because regionally culture varies no matter how subtly, in terms of the language, food, terrain, and way of life. For example whenever Korea is mentioned, one would mostly imagine the bustling city life of Seoul or Busan, but there’s more to that in Korea. Daejeon has a sub-urban feel to it, while places in Gyeongju or Jeonju have more traditional style architectural houses (in fact Jeonju prides itself as a slow city) and then there is Jeju that has a unique assemblage of tourist complexes but at the same time retaining its traditional and nature-centric rustic feel. So if one doesn’t take time to explore, I highly doubt one would have experienced the full culture of the country.

    Street food hawker at Jeonju
  3. Youth privileges when one is travelling as an undergraduate at such a young age is also another perk. There are various discounts at attractions for “youths” and besides now that one is traveling while still young, one can travel more independently, quickly and further too (not forgetting the drinks and street food the one can binge on).

Hence instead of getting an incomplete experience, one would actually get the best of many worlds and experience multiple things through such a short period of time without getting bored too.

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