Seoul, South Korea – Finals, Drinking with professors and Farewell (by Lea)

My four months in Korea passed by in the blink of an eye! I can’t believe time flew by that fast, but I can say that I have made lots of memorable experiences along the way. In this last blog post I want to talk about how the final exams at aSSIST and what my last weeks in Seoul were like.

 

Let’s start with the finals. As for the exams, I have to say that they were quite different from what I knew from Macromedia back in Germany. During the semester, we already had to do lots of presentations. I must admit, I’m not the biggest fan of presenting stuff, but honestly, doing it over and over again in class definitely helped. So, for our final exams we had to to do two presentations, write a reflection paper and two written exams. What kind of final exam you have to do is up to the professor’s decision, just like the mid-terms. However, the written exams were so-called „open-book-exams“, which was completely new to me. During the exam, we were allowed to use our laptops and materials from class as a help to answer the questions and tasks, although for some tasks you didn’t really need to use any of those, because it was more about making a decision and bringing your point across and convincing the professor about why you think like that. In my opinion, those kind of exams make more sense to me. I’m not saying that because you don’t need to study much for exams like that. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice not having to memorize a lot of stuff that you’re gonna forget later anyway. But those kind of exams, as well as the presentations, made me think a lot more about the things we did in class and showed me, whether I actually understood what was going on during the semester or not. Those of us who did the basic Korean class from the beginning till end also had to do a little final test, but nothing too serious.

In general, classes at aSSIST were a lot more active than in Germany. We did lots of presentations, team work, quizzes and little games that were referring to the topics we were discussing. We also did some interesting excursions and even went to Yonsei University (연세대학교), one of the best universities in Korea, to attend a class of one of our professors.

All of our professors were really nice and caring. Several times we were even invited to have lunch by the school and the professors. Once, towards the end of the semester, our Business Planning professor invited us to dinner. We had fried chicken and beer (typical combination in Korea), also called Chimaek (치맥), which is just the words for chicken and beer (치킨 + 맥주) combined. Later on, our professor showed us how to make a toast the Korean way, and we even played a dinking game, where you put several glasses of beer in a row and on top of that place shot glasses filled with Soju (소주), a popular alcoholic beverage, on the rims between the beer glasses. Now you just need to push over one of the outer shot glasses with a chopstick and the ideal case would be that the shot glasses move like dominos and fall into the beer classes.

It was a lot of fun and we were always cheering for the person wo had to push the glasses over and chanted when it worked (which it did every time). Even the owner of the chicken restaurant seemed excited, but his wife, who watched everything from the kitchen, probably wasn’t because it was quite messy with the drinks. We tried to clean the mess the best we could after each time (we did it like three times), and the owner also said it was fine.

After Chimaek, we all went to a karaoke room, also called Noraebang (노래방), with our professor and spent a couple hours there.

After our last final presentation in the middle of December, which was also our last day at university, we had a nice little semester-end-party at the café which was in the same building as our uni. We had pizza, chicken and beer, took some pictures together and also had a look at the photos that were taken during our time at aSSIST. Even some of our professors were there as well and were giving us some final words of encouragement for the future. Also, we received a little gift from the school, which was a set of pretty soap bars in a special traditional design. When the party was over, it was time to say goodbye to everyone.

During my last few days in Seoul I went to the COEX Aquarium, did some last shopping in Myeongdong (명동), watched street performances in Hongdae (홍대), met up with my Korean friend for the last time before leaving, and, of course, enjoyed some more delicious Korean food before going back to Germany.

In conclusion, I gotta say that the four months I stayed in Seoul were probably the best time of my life so far. Our university aSSIST was great, even though it was quite small, and I met awesome people from other Macromedia campuses, who I spent the semester with. Although it was a shame that it was only us 11 people who had class together, instead of class with other foreign students or Koreans, we had a really good time together nevertheless.

I really enjoyed living in Seoul, because there is a mix of modern and traditional elements. Living there is really convenient compared to Germany, because shops are open everyday (even on Sundays), except for big holidays, and late till night. They are everywhere, as well as restaurants and cafés. Literally everywhere, which means there is no long search for anything. I also really liked the public transportation system, the subway especially (except for no operation from midnight till morning), and the concept of the T-Money card.

After being back home in Germany for several weeks now, I definitely miss Korea a lot. I’m really craving Korean food, which is why I wanna try my best at cooking something at home. Also, I just generally miss living in Seoul. Right after a couple of days of being back in Germany, I immediately wanted to go back, so I hope that I can visit Korea again in the near future and explore even more, not only of Seoul, but also outside of the capital.

 

In case you’re thinking about spending your semester abroad in Korea, feel free to contact me if you have questions and I will try my best to answer them for you :)