By Yvonne To Yi Man, Year 3, Diploma in Accountancy & Finance
Greetings readers! I know it has been quite a while since I’ve last wrote and many of you (hopefully) must be wondering where I went. Well, this article will be your answer. I am definitely excited about sharing my experience with you guys.
The School of Business Management (SBM) offers students a chance to travel abroad and spend a whole semester in a university of your choice in an exchange programme, and I chose Kyung Hee University (KHU) situated in South Korea, Seoul.
I’ve decided to write this article just like how I would write in my diary because I wouldn’t want to bore you to death with my text-book writing style and drown you in information. Besides, I am pretty sure you are well-equipped with Google, if you ever do need any additional information.
Kyung Hee University (KHU)
(From left) Me, Syuhada, and Abraham
Let’s start with a picture of the lucky three of us(who are deeply grateful and thankful to be given a chance to study in KHU) in front of the magnificent KHU administration building. I’m on the left followed by Syuhada from Business Management, and Abraham Banking and Finance. Here are more pictures of the campus!
Central Library shot at an artistic angle
Grand Peace Palace
A glimpse of how the school looks like during the fall season. Aren’t those yellow amber leaves gorgeous? Trust me, with a sight to start your day, you wouldn’t mind walking a mile to school.
Kyung Hee University offers a wide variety of modules taught by both highly qualified Korean and International professors from all around the world. My favourite professor named Louise Patterson from Canada taught me both Business Ethics and Human Resource Management. I enjoyed every lesson because each lecture encourages me to think beyond the four walls of the classroom. She touches on moral topics and how we should make the right decision when faced with a tough call during work. What I really love about her is her honesty, sincerity, cuteness and her great sense of humour. She's eccentric, but I admire her uniqueness.
I've also taken other modules like Cost Accounting taught by Professor Bonita Daly from America - she reminds me of a sweet loving grandma who bakes cookies whenever she smiles at the class. She's adorable especially when she tries to make the subject interesting with sarcastic jokes where I'll be the only one laughing.
There was once when she had a hard time figuring how to work the light switches, which are labelled in Korean. A Korean student FINALLY stood up after 10 minutes to offer her some help and she figured it out! And so.... she said this which really got me cracking, "Wow, that looks easy. I wonder is it because I'm stupid, or because (content censored)”.
I also learnt Consumer Behaviour taught by Professor Kim, and Financial Management taught by Professor Choi who studied in America when he was a lot younger. He's definitely a professor worth praising because he is patient and willing to hear students’ point of view on concepts taught, and is willing to learn from us as well.
A cosy café that I frequent often because it’s a nice brown colour and their banana muffins are so good! I promise anyone who tries it will have a serious addiction and strong craving for it every day.
That’s us dining in a restaurant with the other exchange students.
I managed to make quite a number of Korean friends in class because of group work which was pretty exciting since it's broad based and it allows us to express our ideas freely.
It’s nice to actually sit down at the end of the day and ponder about what you have seen and experienced at your desk – nicely decorated with pictures of your loved ones.
To be honest, I didn’t miss any of my friends or family during the first month because I was engulfed by all the attractions around me – the buildings that dazzled my eyes, the foreign language that enthralled my ears, and the local food that tantalizes even the most determined dieter.
You might probably be thinking why I’ve chose public transport as a sharing topic. Well, the thing is I’m fond of the simplest things in life. I tend to notice little details in everyday life that can be explained by the pictures. Did I mention that the public transport in Seoul – especially the train – has taken up as many as 10 entries in my diary? That’s how interesting it is my friends (Nods head in agreement).
Sleeping in the train is a common sight after working hours. You’ll see working adults in their neatly pressed suits and polished shoes, young teenagers in their thick hoodies and baseball caps tilting their heads slightly to sleep or lowering their head completely on their laps with their arms folded.
The overall atmosphere in the train is mellow and seemingly quiet as it is considered rude to converse loudly, and for those who know me, I’m pretty loud so I got scolded once by an “ahjumma” (a Korean term for middle-aged woman).
However, not all ahjummas are fierce and scary because there was a romantic sight that touched my heart – the sight of an old couple going out on a date! Awwww how sweet isn’t it?!
Taking the public bus may not be as peaceful because bus rides in Seoul are SUPER bumpy and jerky.
I risked my life having this shot taken in the middle of the road but it’s worth the while because I’m really satisfied with how it turned out to be.
One thing that I definitely miss is the weather in Seoul, which leads me to the next topic – Fashion. You can get really great fashion deals in places like Dongdaemun. Even if you’re not getting any clothes, teenagers along the streets dress really well, so feel free to snap a few shots because they’re just way too appealing – especially the guys *wink*
Also, one thing that you can never miss out in Korea is their street food which I adore by the way. They are really simple dishes but what makes it different is the whole atmosphere and environment. I love how everybody crowds around a stall along the street to warm themselves up with food and spices – it really does make the food taste a lot better.
The next thing that I would like to share with you guys is the MUSIC in Korea – I am not referring to mainstream music but music by independent artistes. See that guy in the picture? Oh yes, I’ll travel all the way to Hongdae (a place known for busking), which takes me more than an hour, just to hear him sing because his voice and charisma sends me chills! He really got me mesmerized even though I don’t understand half of what he’s singing. That’s the beauty of music – having the ability to pour your emotions out.
I brought my guitar there to perform along the streets just for the fun of it, and I really enjoyed myself even though I was competing with the music blasting from speakers from the stores. Then I wondered, why can’t busking be a common thing in Singapore as well?
What I love about buskers is that they perform not for money but because they love it – it’s that simple really.
Streets in Seoul never fail to amaze me because it’s always filled with activities. One would call it a city that never sleeps. Here are a few sights that caught my attention when I was walking around.
A carousel in the middle of a bustling city, now that’s cool
A news reporter at work.
I LOVE THIS PICTURE SO MUCH – it reminds me of how innocent we all used to be, faces filled with bright smiles from the simplest pleasures in life. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we are not happy now but we are just more “complex”.
The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants to Gyeongju
(From left) It's Heidi, me, Cindy and Candy. They are from Hong Kong :D
I SERIOUSLY MISS THEM. Anyway, let’s not dwell on that. We went to Gyeongju National Park. We were really lucky the weather and the colour of the leaves were astonishingly perfect. It’s my first time back-packing with my friends. We had no plans in mind and were walking aimlessly. We just called each other to ensure that we are all free over the weekend, and packed our bags and we are all ready to go. Somehow everything just collided together naturally.
It was as if we were fated to be together because all four of us love nature! We also decided to hike without proper shoes or maps! Hold that gasp because the fact that I’m writing this article simply means we made it through safe and sound.
Don’t you love nature?
Classic shot (:
I love this shot too, well actually I love all the shots.
I find this majestic looking.
You’re probably wondering where we spent the night. Well I’m telling you, the best place that gives you both comfort and exposure to the Korean culture at the best possible price (APPROXIMATELY NINE DOLLARS FOR UNLIMITED HOURS) is at a “Jiljimbang” (large, gender-segregated public bathhouse with sleeping quarters).
Our jiljimbang has sleeping rooms, several saunas made from various precious stones, a public shower with Jacuzzis and comfy clothes to change into!
A word of advice however, is to go with an open mind because everybody showers naked in the public toilet. Also, don’t expect queen size beds because we do need to snatch “unattended” pillows and share the sleeping room with other users.
There are of course other places we went but it’ll take me forever to tell you. All in all, you should really give it a try yourself. I shall end our Gyeongju trip with one of my favourite pictures (I’m repeating this line way too many times but the use of repetition only stresses how much I love these pictures that I am sharing with you guys) taken along the road while waiting for a bus home to our dormitory in Seoul.
Everland Theme Park & Kids
To be honest, I’ve actually been to Everland theme park three years ago with my family, so it wasn’t the rides that fascinated me because I think I’m pretty immune to the exhilaration of thrills (especially in GENTING).
It was however, the people around me that caught my attention – well, it’s the kids actually so I hope you’ll like the pictures that I am about to share.
A younger sister pleading for her older sister’s attention
A mother who embraces her son with unconditional love
Adoring mother nature. The colour and alignment of the feathers screams perfection
A couple getting a portrait done by a few street artists
Home, Family & Friends
Me (left) and Yixi. She's from Shanghai in China (:
That’s my room-mate on the right and I would like to thank her for all the advice and good times that we’ve been through – stretching exercises, rummaging our wardrobes for our fashion displays in the room, ordering loads of food, and studying together as well.
One of the many things that I’ve acquired from this trip is that it’s never hard to make friends or to say hi but it’s the separation that brings about tears. If you were to ask me what was the toughest of it all – It is saying goodbye to my friends who are scattered all around the world.
As much as I hate sad endings, I will probably be meeting my room-mate again when I graduate from NYP.
“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page” - Saint Augustine.
I would love to finish this book that I am currently reading. Wouldn’t you want to finish it as well?
Yvonne is a student studying Accountancy and Finance who enjoys travelling and making music. She is currently trying really hard to save a huge sum of money as she aims to travel as much as she can when she graduate. She loves to read JOHN GREEN books and making random music covers with her friends or brothers at home during her free time.