Kind regards from South-Korea

Sharing my thoughts and experiences about my exchange period in South-Korea

Monthly Archives: February 2016

From Incheon to Suwon pt.2

When we arrived to the new dormitory, I was quite impressed. It was build last year, so students has live there for two semester, so everything is clean and working. Everything is also high-tech door code and gates etc. Security cameras are also everywhere.

dormitorydorm2

First when we got through the front door, we had to fill a application for the room and set the code for the door. No physical keys or anything, only code or student card that will be given to us bit later.

The room is really warm (water heated floors), atleast mine is, I heard that few girls had colder rooms. Theses rooms also really clean and good looking IMO.

dormroom
dormroomb dormroomb2
The idea is you will live in this room with Korean student, who will try to help you adapt and survive in Korea, but I heard few stories and the roommate didn’t spoke english at all. I hope my roommate can speak english. And yes, there is an other bed, but I was too lazy to take a picture of it.

On my floor there’s no kitchen, but instead 2 common rooms, go figure.. There’s a kitchen on every second floor, 2, 4, 6, and 8. I live in 3th floor so not so lucky. I know I won’t be cooking much but still it would be nice to have a kitchen on my floor just in case I wanted to heat something up. We also have community bathrooms, showers etc. These pictures will help you to image what I go through here.

WC shower elevator changingroom bathroomcommonroom

Well atleast there’s fridge in every floor and there’s a security camera pointing at the fridge, so you can count on it, that nobody will steal your food. You have to get a sticker from the lobby and stick it to your food, so people know who it belongs and when it should be thrown away, because there’s a rule that you can store your food for like a week. After a week you should put a new sticker on it.

There’s also laundry room (1000won per use) and gym.

gym1 gym2 laundry

As you can see, there’s boys and girls washing machines. They are really strict about this gender division and the dormitory rules are ridiculous. We also have only boys elevators and only girls elevators.

Here’s the link to the dormitory rules if you are interested. http://edorm.ajou.ac.kr/edorm/guide/guide03_01.jsp

That’s all for now.

Kind regards,

Tam

From Incheon to Suwon

Okay, so about my last post. After talking a while in skype, I decided to get something to eat before going to sleep. There was a lot of restaurants near by, but I didn’t want to go far so I just took the first restaurant that was busy. It’s usually a good sign.

It took about 15 minutes to order something to eat. Nobody spoke English and nobody understand a single word I said. Luckily the menu is in Korean and English, so that kinda helped me a bit. I decided to order something “familiar” with small price tag, end up with ham and cheese dish.
dinner

All that cost 8000 won, which is less than 6 euros. I think it’s pretty decent. I don’t know the names of the side dishes or even main dishes. I recognize the kimchi and then there’s sticky rice, fried fish?, beans in sweet sauce, nori, seaweed and the last one is a mystery.

After I was done eating, I went outside and saw this.

outside

Sun went down like in 30 minutes. But yeah, after I took this picture, I went to convenience store and bought few bottles of water and noodles just in case if I get hungry at night.

Then I went back to hotel room. Skyped for couple of hours and then went to sleep.

Woke up like 10 times during the night. I might have a small jet lag. Went to hotel breakfast, it was okay. I didn’t take any picture of it, but pretty sure there was all the necessary. Bread, cereals, hot beverages, juices, eggs, salad and few Korean warm dishes, like Bulgogi.

After breakfast I went back to my hotel room and packed all my stuff and about 8.15am reception called that the airport shuttle is ready to take me to the airport. I had to go back to the airport because the Ajou’s airport pick up services is only available from there.

There was 3 people from A.G.A. (Ajou Global Ambassadors) at the airport, they check the names and helped us to buy tickets(12 000won) for the bus to Suwon. Bus ride from Incheon to Suwon took a bit less than 1,5h. Met few other exchange students at the airport.

When we arrived to Suwon, we had to take the taxi (about 4000 won) to University. Usually the taxi drivers leaves you on the older dormitory, that’s okay if you are staying in there, but I got a place from the new dormitory. With heavy luggages walking to the new dormitory is quite challenging. Luckily I went with Denis and he knew this would happen so he gave the driver instructions to the new dormitory.

I will continue this post bit later, now I gotta go meet the others down the lobby.

Kind regards,

Tam

From Jyväskylä to Seoul

I spent the weekend at my parents. They wanted to spend couple of days with me, before leaving, so I drove to Järvenpää on Friday evening. Järvenpää is where my parents live and I used to live. I really like it even thought it’s kinda small city, but it’s close to everything I need.

Monday noon I did the check-in online to save some time on the airport. It was easy and fast. Leaving goodbyes on the other hand.. not so easy. I started to cry a lot and so did everyone else. 🙁

passport

On the finnair’s airplane they served two hot meals. First hot meal: They had two options for dinner, pasta bolognese or Korean pork and rice. Here’s the Korean Pork.

krpork

The other hot meal was kinda like english breakfast or something. I didn’t enjoy it, but I think it was mostly because I was so homesick to eat anything. When I’m feeling bit down I loose my appetite.

Breakfast

I planned to go to spa, pedicure and stuff, but I think I’ll rather stay at the hotel and skyped home. I didn’t get any sleep during the flight so I think it’s better for me to stay inside. Maybe later I’ll go grab something to eat. I feel hungry, but still can’t get anything down.

Btw, Soon there will be first Video post on this blog. I took few pictures and recorded few clips already. I just need to motivate myself to edit these together and think about what I should say on this video.

That’s all for now.

Kind regards,

Tam

Ps. This might be bit weird post with no logic, I was on the phone with mom while writing this.

Edit: Fixed few typos and added pictures

Last preparations

Last week all the exchange students had to pick their courses. The system didn’t work at all, it was horrible to use Ajou’s course registration website. I had to use 3 different browsers to get it done and on top of that, I didn’t get any of the courses I wanted to take. Well okay it was my own fault, I woke up one hour later than the course registration opening time, early bird gets the worm.

Courses that I had to take:

  • English conversation 2
  • English composition 1
  • Korean language 1
  • Domain analysis and software design

Total credits are 12 if I remember correctly. But credits will be doubled after I get back to JAMK because Ajou University has different credit system than JAMK.

I’ve been also packing and printing/copying all the documents just in case something happens. It’s hard to pack clothes, because I don’t know how one should dress to school in Korea. And I should start learning a bit of Korean to survive in the airport and hotel, Korean people are not famous for their english skills.

Starting to regret this whole studying abroad thing, I feel so bad for leaving loved ones here in Finland. Seeing them crying and talk about this spring without me makes me feel a bit down. Well I hope this bad feeling will pass. Anyway I’ll be gone just less than 4 months.

that’s all for now.

Kind regards,

Tam

Less than 20 days

Just got my passport back with the visa, yay ! No stress about that anymore 😀 It only took 3-5 business days, I thought it would take like 2 – 4 weeks so I wrote them a letter asking if they can call me and tell me how long it would take normally. They did call me and the lady from Embassy of the Republic of Korea who spoke with me in the phone was really nice and friendly. All the fees including posting was around 70-80€. Plus I had to pay 50€ to the bank for writing a letter of confirmation about my finances for the visa.

I also got the extended insurance, it cost me 130€ and bought a new phone, Oneplus X and new laptop, Lenovo U31. Im spending too much money :’D not good..

Finnair finally answered me, they might actually compensate for the loss. I had to book a night at the hotel (60€) near the airport beacuse I’ll arrive to Incheon airport on 23rd and Ajou University’s free bus ride is on 24th. Dormitory opens on the same day too.

Lists of courses was released 2 days ago. It’s not complete yet, but they will release the final version of it this Friday. They supposed to release it last Friday actually, but it got delayed. There was few interesting courses, like Taekwondo, Jazz dance or something like that, Golf etc.. I must get the Taekwondo course ! 😀

Lists of room assignment results was also released. I got a 2-person bedroom in new international dorm and I’m sharing the room with Korean student. Got a e-mail from AGA Ajou Global Ambassador, there’s a guy that will be my buddy for this semester.

I’ll better go eat my breakfast now.

Kind regards,

Tam