I truly would like to share my thoughts on what to expect from the Academic system here in Seoul. It’s like no other and one might wonder how things will work out once becoming an Exchange Student at Ewha Womans University. Well don’t be too worried it will be more than alright.
Surprisingly, in the largest female campus worldwide a majority of the exchange students enrolled at the University are males. Meanwhile more than half of the professors also share the XY chromosome. These teachers have implemented very similar methods of teachings than what can be expected in Taiwan or Japan. Indeed, as a student who is part of the Humanity Department, I am expected to memorize by heart information first and foremost. From American Laws to International Political Economy doing so is what is usually expected from students.
Thus, things have therefore been challenging and very different from my past experience at The University of Manchester. As opposed to the British Academic methods, less exercise of critical thinking through the writing of essays is required. Graduates courses however are where such skills are mostly used. But as an Undergraduate the classical revisions where endless amount of information has to be incorporated is what I have gone through. I can say that I have found myself easily distracted, bored and fed up but enhanced my ability to memorize immense amount of knowledge in very short periods of time. But from what I have heard the Education System is starting to change as students finally realise that their thoughts and ability to think critically matters most in their degree.
Also, having fewer long-term assignments, I have even been able to read and enlighten myself on subjects that are not part of my degree. For instance, I have often found the time to explore Physics and Finances textbooks while studying Politics and International Relations (completely random I know). Of course, it also meant more free time to explore the city and enjoy time with friends.
Being advised to take an amount of 12 credits which is equal to four classes, I was also able to also enroll within two third year classes – all taught in English.
Speaking of class enrollment, there is something that you should know right away. Indeed, be prepared to face one of the most competitive course selection process worldwide. Everything is done online and those with the fastest Internet connection are those who gets the classes they desire. I was advised to get into a Gaming Cafe which are well known to have great Internet connection. The School online enrollment page was meant to open at 9.00 a.m. Being on time, I had just the time to enroll in two of my mandatory units and at around 9.04 a.m, the two other classes that I wanted had reached full capacity (95 seats filled up for each classes). Fortunately, I had sent emails to the professors prior to the online registration time that morning. They generously agreed on opening a seat for me within those two classes. As for the fifteen to twenty other students they did not get as lucky as I did.
In terms of the facilities, it is great here. The libraries are well planned and lots of spaces are available at all time. The library has great resources and the administration is really fast. Also all the students are very friendly whether you are from North America, Africa or Central Europe students and teachers embrace your cultural and physical difference which is a wonderful feeling.
As for now I can proudly say that you will have a great experience as an Exchange student in Ewha so don’t hesitate to enroll. Also don’t forget to get involved into the many clubs and societies available for all. Myself I enrolled into the Taekwando classes. It was much fun but I often was not flexible enough ; )
Time has flown by being in Seoul. I have been here for more than three months now and I feel blessed having landed for the first time in East Asia. Even though classes and education works differently I have been faced with something different, new and exciting every day. I am very glad to have had the chance to come here.