My first weeks in Seoul

The first days in Seoul have been full of things to do, see and experience. Now I have been here for over two weeks and it has been really great. Here are some things I found especially interesting.

The kindness of Koreans

On the first day we were lost in the subway with a new friend and many Koreans asked if we needed help. And this is apparently a normal thing that strangers talk to foreigners as it has happened many times. One happened to be a teacher and now we get together to learn Korean! How happy I am for this? VERY. All of this makes me wonder why I never got myself to go on an exchange earlier!

The cuteness

There are cute things and characters basically everywhere. Even in the subway: the subway cards have Kakao Friends characters on them and the jingle when the subway arrives is cute and catchy. Everything is branded and they go all in here with marketing.

south korea subway card
My subway card.

As for the people, I noticed that many Koreans dress really well and simply look great. What does that lead to? That the shopping is great. It can be expensive or cheap, you just need to find the right place. (Why did I bring so many of my own clothes!?)

seoul shopping streets
Shopping street.

Kyung Hee University

KHU campus is huge. So huge that you easily get lost. Well, to be honest, I get lost easily. I got lost in Turku as well during the first weeks when I started studying, haha. Kyung Hee has a kindergarten and a high school, which perhaps explains the size of it.

It has also been great to get to know both Korean and exchange students. IFCC, “International Friendship & Culture Club”, organises a lot of events so you can easily get to travel more and meet new people. The courses only started this week so I do not know a lot about them yet but they seem interesting.

As for other “firsts”, I live in a dormitory now and have a roommate. It works really well. However, I never ever had to experience a curfew before. But now – at the age of 24 – I have. I know I chose the dormitory myself, but I’m used to freedom, so it feels really strange. But I’m slowly getting used to it and I am able to register out if needed.

Food, food, food

Kimchi, Korean barbeque, fried chicken and beer (which apparently is a thing here and I am very ok with it). They have basically everything here. Especially in Itaewon you can find foods from different countries. I really like that it is normal to share the food here. You just order some meat, then grill it on the grill in front of you and enjoy the company.

sulwon galbi
Suwon galbi.

Of course not everything is only great. Other things are that the beds are really hard (many exchange students share this opinion… it hurts) and it is surprisingly difficult to find trash cans. And of course I miss my friends and family back home. But I imagine 4 months will go by quite quickly in Seoul.

It is safe to say that I really like big cities. There is so much to do so you cannot get bored. Already we went to another city, Suwon, and visited the Louis Vuitton exhibition, a palace and went to the Seoul Friendship Fair where I tried on a hanbok, traditional dress. Every day I feel like I’m were I’m supposed to be and really hope everything goes well. So far so great!

hanbok korea seoul student exchange
Wearing the traditional Korean dress, hanbok.

This weekend I am going on a trip to the south with 200 other students and on the itinerary there is a battle festival and some time at the beach – let’s see how that goes! 🙂


Have you been to South Korea? How did you like it? Was this blogpost helpful? Please let me know by leaving a comment or sharing, thank you!

2 Comments

  1. Hello Catherine!! Finally I get to see your blog. You have spent a lot of time to share your life in Korea. That’s what I appreciate:) It is very true that Korea is a good place to visit and experience. Through exchange semester, we can get to experience differently and widen our horizon which are very good for our memory in the future:D

    1. Hi Christy! Thank you for your comment 🙂 true, it takes time but it is fun as well! Hope we meet up soon again 🙂

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