ISOIS ▸ Final reports

Host country:
Host institution:
Mobility type:
Program:
Faculty:
Ac. year:
Semesters:
Study level:
Language filled in:

Sungkyunkwan University

South Korea 2018/2019 Partner universities

Personal data
Mobility type:
study

Faculty at MU:
Faculty of Education

Field of study:
Social Education and Leisure Time

Level of study during period of placement:
Bachelor

Language used:
English

Summer/winter school?:
no

Period of studies:
autumn 2018

Period of placement (from-to):
2018-08-31 - 2018-12-21

Number of months:
4.00

Activities before my departure abroad
Where can information be found about courses taught at the foreign school?:
SKKU has a course catalog which can be found on their website. It doesn't give you much information about the course itself. It is basically just the name of the course, language of the course, name of the teacher, etc. It doesn't say anything about syllabus or exams.

Which documents were needed for acceptance at the foreign university?:
First, I had to fill in online application in ISOIS and write a motivational letter. I needed a letter from one of my teachers, to recommend me as a good candidate. A part of the online application is also a record of marks from your studies in English. GPA has to be above 2.7 / 4.0 or 3.0 / 4.5 or 3.3 / 5.
I didn't need an English certificate because SKKU didn't want it from me but I took an English exam from CZS. Then there's an interview at CZS. After this, if you're chosen, you're officially nominated at SKKU. You need to send them your photo, photocopy of a passport, transcript of grades and certificate that you paid from a health insurance.

How far ahead did you have to organise your acceptance?:
The deadline from CZS was in December and I started organising around October. But I had enough time.

Did you need a visa?:
yes

Documents and materials needed for a visa:
An Overseas Study visa (D-2) was required. I needed to fill in an official application, passport and its photocopy, passport photo, original of Certificate of Admission from SKKU, Certificate of Study in the Czech Republic, copy of Certificate for Business Registration from SKKU, copy of Contract of Cooperation between universitites, original of Invitation letter from SKKU, account statement confirmed by the bank (showing you have enough money),

Length of wait for visa:
Approximately 3 weeks.

Fee for the visa:
1500 Kč / 60 USD

Studies
Did you have a Learning Agreement signed before your departure?:
yes

If not, why not?:

Before your departure did you know how your courses would be recognised by your home faculty?:
Yes.

During your stay did you change your Learning Agreement?:
Yes. I made my LA based on the course catalog from the spring semester because the one from upcoming semester was not available yet. But I needed to have my LA signed. That is why I had to change it later because some of the courses I chose weren't available.

When and how did course registration take place? Are there any restrictions? Possibilities of making changes?:
The course registration takes place online. It started on 10th August at 10 am. I had to be fast because some of the courses fill up very quickly. I still missed one I wanted, there was space only for one exchange student. You can make changes online till 24th August. Then you can make changes only after talking to teachers in person after school starts. Also, if you're undergraduate trying to get some courses for graduates, you can't do that online, only in person later.

Did you take any examinations at the foreign school?:
SKKU has exams twice. Midterms and final exams. Usually, at midterms you have an exam from the half of the stuff you learned and final exams is the second half. I took exams from 2 courses and I wrote an essay from the last one I had.

Does the school use the ECTS system?:
no

If not then explain how the credits there were recalculated into ECTS:
SKKU has a different credit system. Credits are awarded based on hours spent taking your course a week. In other words, if you have a course that takes 1 hour a week, you'll get 1 credit, 3 hours a week, 3 credits, etc.
For each credit gained at SKKU, you get double at MUNI.

Describe the teaching methods (theory, practical and projects) and assessment of students:
All my courses were very theoretical. I didn't do any projects, it was more about listening and remembering.

Quality of teaching in comparison with home school:
I would say that quality of teaching is comparable. But I am not sure how courses for exchange students look like at MUNI. I was just hoping for better English of our teachers. Unfortunately, one of the teachers had only very basic English knowledge but it was the teacher from our Korean course so it didn't matter much.

How did you receive study materials?:
I had to buy some books from a school bookshop. I also got some materials in classes from my teachers. My other course was online so I had all the materials on i-campus.

Can you recommend an interesting course/subject/teacher?:
I would definitely recommend Intensive Korean Language Course. It is very useful to be able to read Korean alphabet and know some basic phrases and words. It opens new doors in Korea for you. The intensive course is 6 hours a week and you learn a lot.

How well is the school library equipped?:
Library has a lot of computers and places to study. There is a wide range of books in English as well. It is a bit difficult to borrow a book there so it's better to ask some of the Korean students to help you.

Availability of computers, internet access, level of software needed, requirements on notebook:
There is a lot of computers in campus. Not only in library. Wifi is also everywhere in campus.

Options from printing and copying:
There are special computers only for printing in every building so you don't have to go to a library. It is not too expensive but the system is quite difficult. There are guides you can get in library and it's written step by step what you have to do.

Does the foreign school/student organisation arrange special events for exchange students?:
yes

If yes then what?:
Compared to ESN that we have in Europe, special events organised by Hi-Club at SKKU weren't that frequent and accesible, as many of the events were very limited. There was a few events in the beginning of the semester. Welcome party, visit of a traditional village and restaurant, Student Mobility Fair where you could introduce your university to Korean students, and a few parties. ESN in Brno has way more events and I think the students feel more integrated with Czech students and ESN members thanks to it.
The price was quite high for all of the events and there was not much to choose from.
SKKU also has a buddy system similar to the one we have in Brno for exchange students. From my own experience, my buddy was not very helpful and I saw her only once in the beginning of school.

How would you assess your integration with the local students (evaluation like in school from 1 to 5 with 1 as highest):
3

or describe in your own words:
As I said before, I didn't feel very integrated. The problem was that I had most of the subjects with exchange students. The only one I didn't was an online course so I met my Korean classmates only during exams.

Practical questions on your placement
Where did you live?:
I stayed in a goshiwon. It is a bulding with separate tiny rooms with a bathroom. I had my own space, the room has a bed, wardrobe, desk, chair, fridge and bathroom with shower and toilet. It is very tiny so it is not for everyone but I was satisfied. My goshiwon was in a nice area and it was only 25 minutes walk to school.
I chose this accommodation because I didn't want to share my room with anyone and I didn't want to have a curfew as they have in dormitory. You cannot even have any visits in dormitories so we would meet with my friends in my place.

Cost of accommodation - monthly:
470 USD

Additional comments to the price of accommodation (as to what the price includes):
If you live in a goshiwon, it is normal that you have some food available for free. We had fresh cooked rice every day, eggs, sandwich cheese, kimchi, jam, toast bread and instant ramen.

Describe the equipment. Tips for future students – what should they bring with them?:
I had to buy a pillow and blanket. Koreans don't really use beddings, they wash the whole blanket. I didn't like it so I had to go to IKEA to buy some. It would be better to bring some because it is not easy to find it there. We had shared kitchen with all equipment so I didn't have to buy anything.

How and how far ahead should accommodation be organised?:
I found my place online around a month before I came. I wanted to have a bigger room but they weren't available anymore. So it is better to find something at least 2 months before coming I would say.

What are the catering options?:
There are cafes and restaurant at school but not much cheaper than everywhere else. I mostly cooked in my goshiwon.

What are the rough costs of groceries (compare with Czech prices):
Prices are higher. If you are used to eating a lot of vegetables, fruit or dairy, it will be difficult. Usual price of 6 apples is around 170 Kc. Milk costs around 50 Kc. Meat is quite expensive as well. Cheese, yogurts, all very expensive.
One shop I can recommend is "No Brand", they have a good quality food for good prices. If you don't want to give up on your veggies and fruit, find a market. The prices are slightly lower. And try not to buy food in convinient stores because the prices are way higher than in supermarkets. Cheapest big supermarket with a good range of western food is e-mart.

Transport to location of placement:
I took a flight from Prague to Seoul with a layover in Rome.

Rough prices for transportation:
The prices with layover are usually under 20 000 Kc. My flight cost around 15 000 Kc. Korean Air has direct flights from Prague to Seoul and prices are usually over 20 000 Kc.

Tips for purchasing cheap tickets and other recommendations:
Try to buy the ticket as early as you can, return if possible, it saves a lot of money.

What are the local transport options (public transport, cycling, on foot, rough prices):
Seoul has great subway system and a lot of buses. One ride costs 1 350 won which is something around 25 Kc. It is worth it to buy a T-money card that costs 80 Kc and you can put money on it and use it not only in metro but also on the buses. You can even pay with it in some shops. If you use T-money card, you get a discount on each ride. One ride costs you 1 250 won with this card. It is not possible to buy something like šalinkarta for a month or so with a discount for students. T-money is the best option.
Cycling is possible but not that typical in Korea I would say.

What kind of formalities have to be arranged before arrival, for example residence permit?:
There is one thing you have to do after arrival. You need to get an Alien card, which is something like a Korean ID. Everyone who is staying in Korea for more than 90 days need it. SKKU will help you with it, you need a passport photo for it so have some ready. This ID allows you to leave Korea and come back. The visa you'll have is only one entry.

What health insurance did you use? (rough price, advantages, disadvantages, is it necessary to arrange insurance at the university other than your home (Czech) insurance?):
I used Česká pojišťovna. Czech insurance is enough to have. Rough price is 7000 Kc. But it depends what you want to include in your insurance.

Did you have any experience with medical treatment abroad?:
No, I haven't.
I recommend taking pills you usually take with you. Especially contraception and other that you can't get without a prescription from a doctor.

Did you work during your studies?:
D-2 visa doesn't allow you to work.

What are the conditions for working for MU students?:
It is not possible.

Tips for free-time activities:
Seoul itself is huge so it's enough for your exploring. However, Korea has beautiful national parks, you can visit DMZ, other Korean cities like Busan, go to the seaside or one of the Korean islands, for example Jeju. Try street food, have a soju night with your Korean friends, celebrate Korean holidays... There is a lot to do. You can go for a lot of daytrips from Seoul too. Incheon has beaches, Gapyeong has forests, rivers and gardens.

Financial support and expenses
Total grant from Centre for International Cooperation:
80000 CZK

Monthly grant in CZK:
20000 CZK

Number of supported months:
4

Total number of months:
4

What other sources did you make use of to finance your placement?:
My own finance, help of parents.

If you received another grant, state which and how much in CZK:
I applied for a scholarship from my faculty. It is supposed to help with flight and accommodation expenses. You can get this scholarship only after you come back and prove how much you spent. So it is needed to have enough money.

 
Total fees associated with enrolment at the university:
0 CZK

a/ amount of enrolment fee:
0 CZK

b/ amount of tuition fees:
0 CZK

c/ amount of other fees (which):
0 CZK

 
What was your average monthly expenditure?:
25000 CZK

a/ of which for accommodation:
10000 CZK

b/ of which for catering:
10000 CZK

c/ travel and recreation:
5000 CZK

Any comments to the average monthly expenditure:

Recognition of foreign studies at the home faculty
How many credits did you gain during your studies (in the system of the foreign school)?:
12

How many ECTS credits were recognised at MU?:
24

Did you know in advance which of your courses would be recognised by your home faculty?:
Yes.

What problems did you have with recognition?:
None.

Overall assessment
Assessment of personal benefit (1 = excellent):
1

Assessment of academic benefit (1 = excellent):
2

Evaluate the information and support provided by the foreign school (1 = excellent):
1

Did you encounter any serious problems during your stay:
The first time I tried to take out money from ATM, ATM just ate my card. It was on my second day, I didn't know anyone, didnt know the language or anything. Luckily, after 30 minutes, one girl helped me and called the company. One man came in 10 minutes and gave me my card back. It is better to take out money in ATMs that are in banks so you don't have to call anywhere. Especially when you don't know the language. Also, take out money when the bank is open. Just to be safe. I know about 2 other people who had the same experience as me.

What would you recommend to take with you:
Any medication you need, beddings, USD or KRW in cash, international driving license, deodorant (very expensive and harder to find in Korea), adapter if you travel outside of Korea.

What most surprised you at the partner university in a positive way:
I really liked one of the courses I took, Social Work with Adolescents. It was taught by a teacher that spent a lot of time in US and he was giving us information not only about social work in Korea but also in the USA and it was very interesting.
There's everything you need in campus in Seoul. From cafes and restaurants to nail salon or post office.

What most surprised you at the partner university in a negative way:
I was surprised that our teacher for Korean course didn't speak English. It made our studying harder and I had to study on my own after our lectures because I didn't understand grammatics.
I was also working on my thesis in Korea and I was doing interviews with Korean men. I asked school if it's possible to use one of the classroom and the process was so difficult and time consuming that I gave up and used cafes instead. I am also used that our university in Brno is able to lend us some equipment we need. For example, I needed a voice recorder but SKKU didn't have it.

Further comments: