A simple student guide or tips to study in Korea for Malaysian students is probably much needed now. Hopefully after this, you will have a better info and ideas about studying in Korea. The followings are 6 important facts and tips that you should know.
1. The country of Korea
Korea combine with its modern cities and vibrant cultures making it naturally makes Korea a great place to live, study and work. The quality of education in Korea is on the same level with many giant tertiary education provider like UK, US and Australia. Every year Malaysian government too has its own batch of students in Korea. The students are what we called, JPA (Public Service Department) scholars or Malaysian Government scholars.
2. The Language
Surely Korean language is main language in Korea. For students who are no weel-verse in Korean language you are required to learn the language. There are many language centre in Kuala Lumpur offering Korean language for its student. It is highly recommended that you take the Korean language class before flying into Korea to further your studies.
Many Koreans can speak in English but they are sometimes they are “shy” to talk in it. If you try to speak with the older people especially the ajumas, it will be very difficult and having the knowledge some basic Korean language could be very helpful in this situation.
3. Student living cost in Korea
Nothing is free especially in a modern country like Korea. It is not easy to give a rough estimate on it because in every city, the cost of living varies. basically meal will set you back at approximately 3000 ~ 4000 Won but you can find cheaper meals in the student cafeteria. So as a students with budget strapped, getting a meal in the student cafeteria is one of the best option for you.
If you are on budget, try not to waste too much money if you are living in Seoul because you have to pay for your accommodation in dormitory (about 150000 Won ++), food, travelling expenses, etc. For Malaysians, treat 1000 Won as if it is RM 1. The cost of living in Seol the capital city of Korea is very expensive.
4. Lifestyle in Korea
This part need not requires detail explanation. Just watch the many Korean dramas in Malaysia. That is exactly how the lifestyle in Korea looks like.
Koreans especially in Seoul are generally more trendy compare to the people in other parts of Korea. Every city in Korea has high-end merchandise shops (ZARA, Guess, Uniqlo, etc) and most Koreans usually shop over there.
If you are a good “spender”, for instance, always remember that in ZARA (from my experience), the clothings will always be changed every 2 weeks so you might get a “better” price for some of the clothing if you came at the right time. But, it’s still not cheap.
In Uniqlo (a Japanese brand), a cheap jeans will be about RM 100, ZARA about RM 200 but you can find cheaper ones in Homeplus (Like Tesco in Malaysia), E-Mart and other big hypermarkets.
Usually it will be about RM 60 for a pair of jeans there. Shirts there are affordable, maybe about RM 40. Just don’t bring too much warm clothing from Malaysia because it can be easily purchased in Korea.
If possible, do not bring too many winter clothings! Buy them in Korea! The price is almost the same and there’s more variety in winter clothing’s here than in Malaysia. Just bring clothing that is for the spring since you all will be arriving at that time.
In spring, you will be needing a thick sweater or jacket but you will have a bit of problem adjusting to the cold and dry Korean weather so it’s quite hard adjusting for the first few days.
In Daegu, there are lots of places to play snooker, norabang (karaoke) and restaurant. I think it is the same as in Seoul or any other places in Korea. The price for the norabang is cheap by Korean standard, about 20000 Won for 2 hours if I am not mistaken so if you love to sing you can sing your hearts out over there.
There is not much variety of English songs but is still enough to make you “sing till you drop”. A number of Chinese, Vietnamese and Indonesian songs are also available.
5. Studying In Korea
Korean language is difficult when you start but gradually you will become better especially once you are in Level 2. With level 2 proficiency, you would be able to converse with the people though it would still be hard to express what you want to say.
So there comes level 3 and 4. To those that will be taking science related course here, frankly speaking, I would say a year of learning Korean is insufficient no matter whether you are in Level 5 or 6.
So having one of the cellphone with translator application can be your electronic dictionary, otherwise get yourself an electronic dictionary. Not all biological or chemical terms can be found in that dictionary, you will realise that buying a cellphone and an electronic dictionary that function as a dictionary is almost the same. But the only difference is that you are not allowed to bring your cellphone into the exam hall.
When you begin your year 2 after you had completed your Korean studies, try to ask your major’s professor whether you can write your answer in English during the exam or not but usually the lessons are all conducted in Korean so life can be a little hard.
Anyway, don’t worry about that, as long as you study hard, all will be fine. Learning Korean will be your best time in your life, plenty of time to watch Korean dramas (Korean broadband is super fast, everything can be watched or downloaded online), lots of field trips and plenty of foreign friends to be met. Take one step at the time.
6. The weather in Korea
Spring is cold with lots of cold gush of windy wind. Summer is hot, humid and is almost the same as in Malaysia with lots of rainfall (but it depends on the place that you will be living in). Autumn is the same as spring while winter is freezing cold and lots of snowfall (Note: Southern parts of Korea have relatively few snowfalls). Between the seasons, there will be lots of rain so just be prepared with an umbrella.
About the clothing, just bring warm sweater (if you are there during spring, during the start of semester), thick jackets and unless you cannot stand with cold weather, just bring one winter clothing will do. While for the rest of the seasons, just look and buy when needed, stores around Korea sell clothings based on the seasons so don’t worry about not finding any clothing.
Finally, we hope that this article was able to shade some light on several important things to guide you to study in Korea. Hopefully you will learn and spend your time wisely. Remember that this will only be the beginning of a long journey studying in Korea.
To read more stories about studying in Korea visit here.