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A day with Maddy – How is it being a student and living in South Korea?
The co-founder of Asia Exchange, Harri Suominen, met our student Maddy Brown in Seoul, South Korea, a few weeks ago. She is from Colorado, USA, and is an international degree student at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul. She was glad to share her thoughts, experiences, and insights into the intriguing student life in the bustling capital of South Korea.
Why did Maddy choose to study abroad in Seoul, South Korea?
“I had this opportunity and I took it”
When asked what brought Maddy to South Korea, she has an answer ready. It was her general interest in East Asia as she thinks that Asia and especially such a big city like Seoul is so intriguing. “My entire life I’ve wanted to do something different like this, in a different culture. I had this opportunity and I took it. Good decision.”, she says. Maddy describes South Korea and Seoul as huge, vibrant and bright, where one never gets bored. There is always something interesting happening and something to do no matter where you go. Korean people are very friendly and warm. “You can go with your friends or even sit by yourself in a restaurant and the old lady comes down and gives you free food and she’ll try to exactly show you how to eat it.”
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The Co-founder of Asia Exchange Harri went to Seoul to catch up with our students. Photo by Tom Hill / CC BY
What is it like to study at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies?
Maddy is one of the first Asia Exchange students doing a full degree at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. She is a transfer student and in the US school system, it means that the student comes into HUFS as a junior or third-year student. She describes the process as very nice and easy. She was in direct contact with HUFS the entire time and just sent her college transcript and the university helped with everything. As a transfer student you can accredit your previous studies and get your degree fast. For Maddie, it will take 2 years.
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies is ranked among the highest of universities in South Korea.
When it comes to differences between the USA and Korea regarding the university and studying, she says: “There are always differences, but honestly not too much. I think it’s a very typical university here too. Always something going on campus, clubs, people practicing on a football field, people talking to you. It’s very nice because most Korean students can speak English too.”
HUFS is a highly ranked international university with students and teachers from all around the world. It’s a very international environment when everyone comes from different backgrounds and cultures. “It gives you a new and very global perspective on a lot of things.” Diversity and passionate people make HUFS one of the best universities in Korea. “Students are here to learn about the rest of the world, that is why everyone gets along so well.”, she explains.
Hearing this makes Harri, the Co-founder of Asia Exchange, wishing he was a student.
There are a lot of things to do after classes
“It’s easy to have fun”
Seoul is a perfect mixture of traditions and the modern world. One example is the Great East Gate along Seoul city wall, the oldest standing figure in Seoul. Next to it is a massive shopping district and an area full of good street food. The shopping district is open until 5 am every day and people go shopping. After classes, Maddy goes out, explores and enjoys the great food and drinking culture of South Korea. She likes playing games with friends and singing in private karaoke rooms. “It’s so easy to have fun. There’s always something going on. Seoul is always open.” A good example is a student district Hongdae where you can have fun 24/7 and be a karaoke star.
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Should you study abroad in Asia?
“Don’t stay home, do something”
“If you are considering going abroad at all, go abroad.”, is Maddy’s opinion in a nutshell. She recommends Seoul as it’s a beautiful city, but when it comes to going abroad, she thinks that the destination doesn’t even matter. “Don’t stay home, do something.” She describes it as an amazing life-changing experience. “A city like Seoul can really show you a lot and will give you a new perspective on the world.” She advises to meet new people and eat new food. Maddie is actually considering going for a summer school program in Bali after graduating from HUFS. “There are so many opportunities and I’m so excited. That is amazing that I’ve been able to get these opportunities.”
A city like Seoul can really give you new perspectives in life. Photo by 301+ Kim / CC BY
There are more than 50 Asia Exchange students in Seoul right now and most of them joined a delicious dinner with Harri and Maddie later that day.
Thank you so much Maddie for sharing your excitement about Seoul! We hope all the students will have an amazing semester and the best time of their lives in South Korea or any other destination!
Do you want to study, live and learn in Seoul, South Korea?
Asia Exchange is a Finnish company providing study abroad opportunities in Asia Pacific for students from all around the world. Want to get travel tips and new blog posts straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter! If you have any questions about studying abroad, feel free to contact us! We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
This article was conducted by Noora and Fabian!