• Study Abroad
  • Sungshin University
  • What is the most crucial thing in preparation before leaving Japan?
    It is important to set an academic goal of your study abroad, but it is also important to plan how to spend your spare time and where to visit during staying in that country. Those plans make your study abroad more fulfilling. I recommend making a wish list of things you want to try and places you want to visit. In my case, I was too anxious about being away from my family and staying in a foreign country for a long time. I didn't make such a list before leaving Japan. Once the study abroad started, I realized I had more free time than I had expected. I had no idea what to do and I spent the first couple of months wasted. It will be very useful to plan things you wish to do even if they are trifle things like visiting cafe or watching movies.
  • What was your proudest accomplishment during your stay?
    I felt a sense of accomplishment when I was having conversation in Korean without using a translation device. Even though I had studied Korean in Japan, I often needed the help of the translation device for the first few months of my study abroad to follow conversation with native speakers since my listening skill and vocabulary was not good enough. My skills got improved through those conversation opportunities, and I eventually became able to communicate without the help. In particular, when I talked about hard topics like politics without the device, I felt a great accomplishment and happy that I had taken a politics course during my studying abroad.
  • What was the biggest hardship you faced?
    I had a difficult time to make friends. While it is easy to be friends with international students if you go to a language school or international courses, you have to be very active to make friends with local students. I might feel so because there were only a few exchange activities in my university and I sometimes felt I was sticking out as an international student. There was a buddy system in the university and each international student was introduced to at least one local student. Still, it doesn't guarantee a friend; it happens that you can't get along with your buddy. Even when you build a good relationship with your buddy, expanding a circle of friends from there is still not easy. My buddy helped me my university life but she had her own friends and schedule. It was not like I could always hang out with her or be introduced to her friends. Even if you take a course with local students, there is almost no chance to talk to them unless there is a group work. To make local friends, I used an internet forum that only students in my university can access. If you will go study abroad, I would suggest checking Youtube and blogs to research how international students make friends in your destination university.