I was asked to summarize the courses I participated in Korea, here goes!
I chose my courses first time in spring 2010 when I applied for exchange. I had to apply again in fall 2010 and reselect the courses. The usual problem of not having updated course listing made it pointless – had I known they only offer logistics courses in English during fall semester, I would have gone in fall, but then again it didn’t really matter to me what kind of studies I was to take – I wouldn’t have been able to credit any courses as my obligatory courses in Finland anyways.
So, the final selection of courses happened during Christmas holidays in Finland – in this web service that really, really needs some serious developing. Not that this really is a problem specifically to Ajou – the quality of all solutions related to course administration was poor in Canada, is ridiculous in Finland and makes no sense in Korea.
I decided to choose six courses:
- Korean language 1
- Ecodesign 1
- Ecodesign 2
- Introduction to Information Security
- Contemporary Issues in Korean Culture and Society and
- Biological Wastewater Management
During the course drop period I decided to drop the culture course (it was way too much work and not too much in my scope of interest either), Korean language 1 (Too slow, I learned more drinking with my choir mates) and Biological Wastewater Management (my math level was way below Koreans, I had no means to keep up. This course was basically calculations after calculations).
I ended up with three courses and one club. I think four courses is well enough for exchange students. At least for Finnish students – we are not used to so much homework. The courses are really time consuming in Korea. And your club also takes quite a deal of your time – they are your Korean contact and you need to socialize.
Ecodesign 1 and 2 – first one being theory course and the second a lab course. Professor Lee is a leading researcher in the field, speaks excellent English and demands that from his students (have an English- English dictionary with you in class if you want to impress him), and very demanding. He really appreciates thinking outside the box, so don’t stick to your old ideas. The topic of the course was green design – mostly re-designing and calculating the CO2 imprint. I found the course inspiring – although my Korean classmates were afraid of the professor, he is very demanding.
Introduction to Information Security by professor Tufail was also an excellent choice. Professor Tufail is a young guy who really can emphasize with students and is understanding, if you have some exchange student stuff going on. Let him know your absences beforehand though, just to make it easier for you both. The course outline is very clear, the coursebook excellent and the exercises reasonable and easy. It’s very easy to get good marks on this course and it’s useful basic knowledge on IT security.
Glee choir – my freetime activity, was my savior. I signed up on during the week they were advertising and they really took me in well. They practice once a week, 3 hours a row plus the separate themes practice a couple of hours a week. There are a lot of guys and a little less girls. People hang out in the club room all the time – they spend their nights there too, if they miss their bus or are too drunk to go home. I really, really recommend them. I just met a couple of glee members a couple of weeks ago – they came to Finland ^^.
One more thing about courses – you need to keep an eye on the course dropping dates – they are really strict.