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University in Seoul: A Student’s Guide

University in Seoul: A Student’s Guide main image

Abhas Maskey, from Nepal, is studying mechanical and aerospace engineering at Korea’s Seoul National University. He shares what he’s learned about life in Korea and some of his favorite things to do in Seoul – where he says there’s never a moment of boredom.

Moving from Nepal to start university in Korea meant a total change in lifestyle – as was to be expected. After all, I’d lived my whole life in a different culture, accustomed to a specific set of rules and experiencing the same flavors.

For me, the biggest challenges in adapting to life in Korea were learning the language, and adapting to the food. Having been here two years now, and had a chance to get used to both of these, I think there’s a level of comfort here which is hard to come by back home in Nepal.

Things to do in Seoul

There are just so many things to do in Seoul – it’s a very happening city. One weekend you’re out taking a bike ride along the Han River, the next you’re busy cheering your favorite baseball team with amazing fans.

The movie theaters here show an array of blockbusters, the amusement parks have excellent rides, and the local markets and restaurants offer lots of delicious food to try. There’s not a single moment of boredom.

I can spend hours hanging around in cafés or sulchibs (local drinking spots) talking nonsense. I also like walking on the banks of the Han River in the evenings, as I enjoy the tranquil ambience. I’m not sure going there in winter is a good idea though…

Life in Korea

I’ve found that Koreans can keep a distance from foreigners, but it really depends on your behavior towards them as well – being an introvert doesn’t help. Although at times it can be frustrating, if you are amiable enough, you can get along with them very well. I now have a great Korean ‘family’ looking after me.

Another key aspect of life in Korea: Koreans also tend to be highly competitive. This can help you to improve and reach your full potential, but the pressure can get a bit too much at times.

My advice for new students would be to get a map, grab some of your new friends, and go out exploring. If you get lost, remember the subways are a lifeline – just find your way to a subway entrance and you’ll soon be back on track.

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Written by Laura Bridgestock
The former editor of TopUniversities.com, Laura oversaw the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edited the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributed to market research reports, including 'How Do Students Use Rankings?'

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