Katarina Sim, a Marketing Management student at La Trobe, has always been interested in Korean culture, language and food. So, she jumped at the chance to go on exchange and study at the Kyung Hee University Global Campus in Suwon, South Korea.
‘I have been studying at La Trobe for almost five years now so I really wanted to get out of my comfort zone… the main reason I chose this particular host institution was because of its high ranking in the Top University Rankings from around the world,’ says Katarina.
Katarina loved learning in the small classes and the connections she made with her teachers: ‘Professors would invite us out to dinner in order to get to know everyone in a more casual setting. The lectures were quite interesting and helped me to learn in different way as we were given lots of real life projects to complete.’
Katarina was lucky enough to spend a lot of time travelling on weekends, exploring her surroundings. She found that the public transport was efficient, safe and cheap, so was able to see both the ‘serene and calming’ countryside of South Korea and spend time in the busy capital city Seoul, where she shopped and ate out with friends.
‘There were a lot of weird foods that I didn’t realise people ate in Korea, like lungs or live octopus, so it was a highlight to get to see people try these foods – I was personally not brave enough!’
Katarina found that campus social life was busy and full of fun activities and parties.
‘After the mid-term exams, the university holds a one week long festival for the students and it’s just a massive party with famous singers and groups coming every day to perform for the students.’
Katarina has some great advice for those wanting to experience a different culture as an exchange student. She said that students abroad should try everything, plan lots of activities and join clubs and school groups.
‘Do as many things as you can because the time flies quickly.’
She also advises learning about the culture in the country you visit before you arrive, including the language and traditional food, as well as customs. When she was in South Korea, she tried to remember that speaking formally to anyone older than you is important. She loved learning about the culture there.
‘By going on this exchange program I really got to get an in depth understanding about this country and its people’
Find out more about how you can explore a new culture while you work towards your degree.