What do you want to achieve during your university life? There is no model answer. For me, I wanted to gain a once-in-a-lifetime, eye-opening experience, and so I decided to go on an exchange trip.
In short, an exchange trip for only one semester was not adequate. Exchange offered me a memorable experience where I could step out my comfort zone. While may get homesick, my experience was more like integration into a new home. The friends whom I met during my trip were helpful, and the place where I studied was peaceful and had some stunning scenery.
I chose Ewha for my exchange experience. Many people felt shocked when they learned that I, as a male student, chose to study at a female college. This was in fact one of the biggest challenges for me at the beginning of my exchange. I sometimes felt embarrassed to sit in a classroom with only girls (except for the professor). But I soon adjusted. The classes I chose were all taught in English so I understood my professors, most of whom spoke fluent English. Meanwhile I was able to contact them via email if I needed to ask a question.
The most extraordinary thing was that my Korean teacher treated me like a friend! I also had many chances to learn Korean. All students used Kakao Talk to share our feelings during our exchange journey using Korean. Moreover, during my team project, my Korean classmates were willing to explain Korean words to me in English so that I could follow their progress smoothly. It was a precious opportunity to meet all of my teachers and fellow students in Ewha.
My exchange experience was made more fruitful because of a program, held by Ewha, called the Peace Buddy Program. When I first arrived at Ewha, I didn’t know any of the students there. The program put me in a team of 7 people, with whom I developed strong bonds and shared our cultures. Both my English and Mandarin communication skills have improved because of it. We visited many famous attractions in South Korea, such as Myeongdong, N Seoul Tower and the Lotte World. At the same time, I experienced many cultural Korean activities such as making kimchi and kimbap during my time there.