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South Korea

My exchange program in South Korea

🕒 6 min read

Category: Travels

Tags: travel, korea

Update January 12, 2017

During my stay in South Korea, we also went to Busan (we slept at Kimchee Guesthouse which I highly recommend). There, we went hiking in the mountain to reach Seokbulsa Temple. We also went to beaches, namely Gwangalli and Songjeong. At the end of the semester, we went back to Seoul and had a chance to visit Gangnam. In addition, we went see the gigantic and impressive Lotte World Tower, the tallest building in OECD and the 5th tallest building in the world.

Changgyeonggung
The Changgyeonggung palace.

I was given the opportunity to go abroad do an exchange program, during the 2016 Fall semester. My destination? South Korea! My school there? Apparently one of the best of the country, KAIST, in Daejeon. It had no idea about its ranking back when I applied for this school.

Seoul

In August 2016, I landed in Seoul. With other people from my French school we spent a week there, mostly visiting and discovering the Korean culture. Our guesthouse was located in a great neighborhood called Hongdae. Very lively area!

View from the N Tower
Views from the N-tower (pictures above and below).
Another view from the N Tower
A Korean barbecue
A Korean barbecue.
Gwangjang market
The Gwangjang market.
Gyeongbokgung
The Gyeongbokgung palace (pictures above and below).
Gyeongbokgung
Rooftops
Rooftops.

Funny facts about South Korea

A magic toilet

KAIST (Daejeon)

One funny thing about KAIST is that, when you mention that you're studying at KAIST, people are very impressed and respectful. They almost immediately assume you're very smart. Weird feeling at first, then you kind of get used to it... ha ha. Let us now talk about what it is like to study there.

The campus is just gigantic.

The campus

With more than 10,000 students, it has any kind of facilities you might expect, and even more:

A soccer field
The sports complex
My bike
A fitness center

All dormitories are not mixed and most of them are made of small rooms shared by 2 people of the same sex. My roommate is a French man studying Computer Science as well, called Bastien.

My room
My bed is the one on the left.

I took 4 courses for the whole semester:

For every course, I have two classes per week, each of them last for 1 hour and 15 minutes. So in total, I have 10 hours of class per week, which may seem very little but on the other hand we get so much homework to do. Most of the time, between two classes of the same course, we have a bunch of papers (publications) to read online, that we're supposed to sum up. Sometimes, we even get questions to answer. I'd say we have an average of 6 hours of homework per course per week. By the way, all Fridays are off. Here is my timetable:

My weekly timetable

During our first week at KAIST, we had the chance to attend many performances in the auditorium. It was kind of a welcome ceremony.

Welcome ceremony

Finally, here are two photos taken in Daejeon.

Daejeon
Dinning in a restaurant
This term, there are more than 250 exchange students, mostly coming from Europe.

Travel tips

Things I wish I had visited

Useful links