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Gaga: Rest in Peace (b.2002 - d.2010)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tips for Students in Korea

There are a few things I would like to recommend to students who are already in Korea or are planning to study here:
1) Learn Korean, try your best and do NOT take it for granted.
2) Korean language proficiency can open many doors of opportunities which you'd miss otherwise.
3) Hang out with Korean students or the lot who do not mind speaking Korean - it is hard to find such people because the natives indulge themselves in practicing English - more often than not.
4) Choose a major - which interests you & you are passionate about.
5) Korea is becoming more diverse in the choice of schools for kids from Pre-school to High School - which wasn't true a few years back... therefore, if you have kids - it should not be a big problem to find a school of your choice and in your budget (for people in doctoral, post-doc or research programs).
6) Get yourself enrolled in extra curricular activities - martial arts, music, painting and many other choices provided by the Korean government, NGO's or universities themselves.
7) Stay positive.
8) No matter what religious background you have or what sort of baggage of restrictions you have in terms of food choices or interaction with people - Korea has it all.
* Itaewon (Line6) is an area where you can find all sort of groceries from around the world-including 100% Halal food @Foreign Food Store. This store also owns Foreign Food Restaurants located on the same street. Itaewon has the highest number of halal food restaurants in Seoul and the cost is reasonable.
* Haehwadong(Line 4) -has a street market every Sunday specializing in Filipino goods-give it a shot.
* Dongdaemun (Line 2,3,4,5) - has pretty much everything from huge shopping malls to street markets. It is also considered as the center of whole sale vegetables and fruits markets as well as an area specializing in clothing, footware, leather products and the biggest socks making center in Asia.
* Jaegi Dong" near Cheongneangni (subway line no:1) is another interesting place to explore. It has fruits and veges usually sold in a slightly bigger quantity but at a really low rate. In such a case you can split the price and the produce between freinds. This area is the main supply center to the entire Seoul.
9) You can also volunteer - there are many options like orphanages, old age centers, foreign community centers, translators, teaching positions for the underprivileged children at various schools, cultural exchange teachers and so on. Options may be available within your field of study as well.So stay informed.
10) Avail the option of internship - both paid/unpaid as well as domestic/international- which is provided by almost all universities during the term breaks. It is a good way of networking as well as future job prospects.
11) Seoul's student neighborhoods and areas of activity are:
- Sinchon (line:2) center of learning with four major universties (Ewha, Yonsei, Hongik, Sogang) with a student community of about 200, 000 bustling with a great number of restuarants, cafes, clubs, book stores, libraries and shops.
- Second area is again Haehwa : it has International Student Hostels etc.so again, it is good for the people with budget & a willingness to try fusion culture.
- Another area is Gangnam (line 2) and Sadang also on line 2....a huge number of students hang out there - a real treat indeed.
- Seoul has about 56 universities in all and the list is long. All university localities have their own distinct culture and budgeted outlets...do your research.
12) Seoul in particular and Korea in general has the highest number of Womens' universities and among them Ehwa is considered as one of the oldest women's university of Asia. If you have reservation to study in a women's university then there is a plenty of choice for one to choose from.
13) There used to be an option of National Insurence but now it is being replaced by AVG, ask your admin office - it is important because medicare is very expensive, one trip to a doctor would cost you minimum 50 dollars (US). If you do NOT have any health insurence than you have a choice of 'absolutely free' medicare at any of the Migrant Centers in and around Seoul. Please call first before heading out. Oriental medicine, dentistry and general medicine are the areas that they cover.
14) Last but not the least, contact:'Seoul Global Center for Foreigners (SGC)'. It is the best source of information and on top, they are extremely efficient. You can either visit SGC personally (it is located near the City Hall on line 2, exit 5)or can check their website at http://global.seoul.go.kr

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