WHY GOING TO STUDY IN KOREA WAS ONE OF THE BEST DECISIONS I EVER MADE
By Connor Doyle, BESS Student on Exchange at Seoul National University, South Korea
My name is Connor Doyle and I’m a 3rd year BESS student at Trinity College Dublin, studying Business and Politics. On the 24th of February 2019, I set off to Korea to spend the next 5 months studying Business at Seoul National University. Despite my original worries and reservations about studying so far from home and having to deal with such a different culture, honestly, it only took a few days before I was settled in and having an unbelievable time.
Firstly, some of the reasons I wanted to study in Asia (and specifically Korea) was that I actually wanted to be immersed within an environment far from my comfort zone, experience something drastically new and I hoped that in the future it would be something that would really set me apart from everyone else on my CV when looking for a job after my time at Trinity.
Well it’s safe to say I definitely wasn’t disappointed with Asia in general or getting to experience something different….Korea is both a crazy and wonderful place. Honestly, I feel Korea is one of the most underrated countries in the world and it’s kind of sad that in the western world as soon as you mention Korea the first thing people think about is North Korea or Kim Jong-un.
The food is just incredible and living costs are extremely low (food, drink and even rent). The people are so friendly and respectful, their culture/history is so interesting and Seoul is generally such a vibrant city.
Furthermore, to get the opportunity to study Business there was incredible. Seoul National University is officially ranked the best University in Korea, the 10th best University in Asia and the 35th best in the entire world. The facilities at the university were simply amazing (from the lecture rooms to the library, everything was state of the art).
Coming from a busy city campus like Trinity, it was wonderful to experience life in a campus that was so different (literally halfway up a mountain and surrounded by nature). It was such a picturesque spot especially in Spring when the Cherry blossoms were blooming.
While at SNU, I studied International Business Mangement, Case Studies in Marketing, International Financial Mangement, Management Information Systems and International Business Environment with the Business School. The lecturers were honestly fantastic and it was so interesting to learn about Asian economies and their perspectives on global business.
Furthermore, honestly, I don’t think that any other college in the world offers a better buddy/ mentor programme. In SNU there is a fantastic society called “SNU Buddy” where they not only provide you with your own extremely helpful and friendly personal Korean mentor but they also put all the international exchange students into various small groups.
It was a fantastic idea, as it was such an easy way to not only make friends with the locals but I also got to meet some amazing people from right across the globe. I was able to learn so much about so many cultures and I have definitely made some friends for life.
I was a member of group 3 and with this group we would not only have weekly meet-ups but we did fantastic activities together (such as hiking, ice-skating and trips to the cinema), had delicious group lunches together (where we tried the local Korean cuisine) and went on countless weekend trips to some great tourist spots.
SNU buddy even organised a variety of big events for all international students to participate in together. These events included things like an SNU Olympics, weekend trips, sponsored runs, arts & crafts and even a weekly “office pub” where the society literally rented a whole pub every Thursday for international students to socialise together.
Here is my team at the SNU buddy Olympics
Honestly the whole society was exceptional and I really hope other colleges could replicate this kind of programme in their colleges. I really think if there was no SNU buddy system my whole experience in Korea would have been very different.
At the end of my college semester in the middle of June 2019, this whole fantastic experience thankfully didn’t come to an end as I decided to do some travelling with some of the friends I made in Korea. This was my first time in Asia and I didn’t want to waste this opportunity and just head straight home.
Therefore over the next four weeks, I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to travel and see so many amazing places in Asia and South-east Asia including Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Russia, Macao, Vietnam and I even got the opportunity to visit the DMZ (Korean Demilitarized Zone) which separates North and South Korea.
Honestly, you hear a lot about people saying how “travel broadens the mind” and how “it really changes you” but I never quite understood what they meant until I experienced this semester abroad.
I have not only come home with so many fantastic memories but thanks to the time away I have grown so much as an individual. In total, I was away for 164 days, I got to visit 13 cities, 7 countries and had such an unforgettable experience.
Visit www.tcd.ie/study for more information on studying at Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin