First Week in Coventry

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Hello! How are you doing?

After half a year of preparation for my Erasmus exchange semester in the UK I finally arrived in Coventry a week ago. The past week was full of different events. I’m going to tell about it here.

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On the way to Birmingham

Arrival

It all started on Friday, September 18th. My trip to Coventry was not a very short one. First, I had a two-hour flight from my hometown of Saint Petersburg to Copenhagen airport where I was supposed to change planes. Then I had to wait 3 hours there until my next flight. (I was so close to Malmö! I really wanted to get on a train and visit the city where I was living for a whole year.) After wondering around the airport and looking for a plug adaptor, which I found almost immediately, it was finally time to board the next plane which took me to Birmingham. The flight was 2 hours long again. After going through border control, which wasn’t that long and scary as I read on the internet, I took a taxi to a hotel where I spent my first night in Coventry because I couldn’t access my dorm that day.

The next morning I took my suitcases, checked out from the hotel, and headed to my dormitory. Luckily I had GPS navigation on my mobile phone so it wasn’t hard to find my way there.

Accommodation

Finding accommodation in Coventry was kind of a problem for me. Even though Coventry University arranges accommodation for exchange students, it is quite expensive. So initially I didn’t want to apply for it. Instead, I was hoping to find something myself. Unfortunately, it turned out almost impossible because most of the contracts for rent here are signed for 6-9 months minimum, while I needed a place for 4 months only. After several unsuccessful attempts to arrange accommodation myself, I realized that I had no other way but to apply for the university accommodation and accept the cost of it. I got a room offer in just a couple of days after sending the application. Then I paid rent for the whole stay at once, and was happy that I didn’t have to worry about it anymore.

Place where I stay in Coventry

Singer Hall

Singer Hall of Residence

It’s called Singer Hall of Residence. There are around 50 blocks. Almost all blocks have 3 floors, and each floor has a flat with 6 single rooms, 1 kitchen, 1 shower, 1 bathroom, and 1 toilet. I share a flat with 5 girls – 4 of them are Dutch and 1 is French. So far we get along pretty well. 😀

The location of the halls is really good. Singer Hall is situated almost in the city centre, it takes around 7 minutes to get to the university from here. Living here also guarantees a free membership for a sports hall. (I have yet to check out the place, though.)

 In general I am really content with the place where I live but there’s always a ‘but’. When I moved in, I found out that the kitchen was unequipped. There were no plates, no cups, no cutlery, nothing at all… So we had to either bring everything with us or buy it here. And as we are here for 4 months only, buying new stuff didn’t seem appealing at all. Oh well… we had no choice. At least we didn’t have to buy a microwave and a kettle – they were provided. So the first weekend in Coventry I spent unpacking and shopping for necessities in IKEA.

My room

My room

On the territory of Singer Hall, you can also find a communal area, where the reception, postboxes, and a laundry room are. Unlike dormitories in Sweden, you have to pay to do your laundry here. And yeah… it’s not cheap.

 

 

 

Freshers’ Week

Saturday was an official arrival day for freshers and exchange students. It was also the first day of the Freshers’ week – a week full of parties.  On Saturday there was a “Welcome Party” for all new students in a nightclub somewhere in Coventry. However, no one among people I know went there. Everyone was just exhausted after traveling.

On Sunday, when I came back to my new home after a trip to IKEA, I came across some extremely cheerful people who were collecting residents of Singer Hall for a pub crawl (another event of the freshers week). Not being a fan of that kind of having fun, I decided to skip the event and have a quiet evening reading a book instead. As I heard from some other exchange students later, the event went well, and everyone was amazed by how much the Brits could drink. 😀

Induction Week for Exchange Students

The first week of the university was an Induction Week. So on Monday morning all exchange students headed to the university to listen to information about the upcoming semester in Coventry. Finding the building where the first lecture was taking place was a bit of a challenge. The university is quite big and we just didn’t know where to go. After some time walking back and forth between the university buildings, our group of lost exchange students, which by then grew from 3 to 10 people, eventually managed to find where to go.

During the day we attended several lectures where we were welcomed at the university, told about how to use the library, how to enroll, and were also given some general information about living in Coventry.

In the evening there was another party for freshers that I decided not to attend. But again I heard that it was fun.

Societies Fair and Enrolment Problems

On Tuesday morning we had some more lectures. This time we received information about different modules and courses that we could study at Coventry as exchange students. All the courses were in the faculty od Business and Law. I picked some courses in the departments of social sciences and languages. I chose 3 different courses: Journalism, Ethics and Democracy, Foreign Policy Analysis, and A History of International Crime.

That was also a day for the non–EU exchange students like me to enroll to the university. Not everything went smooth with it, though. Unlike EU students, who could do enrolment online, I had to go to the Student Centre and enroll in person. For some reason the system didn’t want to let me enroll, so I had to consult the university staff several times.  Only after the third attempt I finally managed to enroll. After the enrolment, I was able to collect my student ID –  a card with picture (probably the worst picture I’ve ever had) that proves that I’m a student at the university here and allows to use the library facilities.

Erasmus Exchange Society

Erasmus Exchange Society

In the afternoon, the Societies Fair was held outside of one of the university buildings. At the fair lots of various societies were presented. A society is a group of people who have some common interest and usually meet up once a week to do whatever they like to do. Coventry university has more than 100 societies for each taste. I noticed several religious societies, societies for crafts lovers, bakers, musicians, dancers, scientist, mathematicians, and many others. So everybody can find something interesting to do here. All we needed to do at the fair was to leave our contact details at the society stalls that we found interesting, so the representatives of those societies could send us emails with more information later. Personally I left my email address to several societies. Among them were rock society, baking society, photography society, Erasmus society, a society with an interesting name and not very clear purpose ‘International Disaster Concern’, and some other societies that I don’t even remember now. However, to become a member of a society you have to pay a fee that ranges from 2 to 15 pounds. Obviously, I am not going to join all those societies, so I still have to choose what exactly I want to do here.

Trip to Birmingham

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Birmingham New Street Station

As I eventually managed to enroll on my course, I didn’t have to go to the university on Wednesday. (There was only one session about enrolment that day). So I decided to join some other exchange students and go to Birmingham.

We decided to go there by train from Coventry. It took us around 15 minutes to walk to Coventry train station, and then 25 minutes to get to Birmingham city centre.

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Birmingham Council Hall

First, we went to check out a big shopping centre, which was right in front of the train station there. But later also explored the city. We walked to Town Hall and the city library. Even though we didn’t really get to see much of the city, I still liked it a lot. So I will definitely go there again.

Also, Sports Fair took place on Wednesday. This time different sports that student could take up at the university were presented. As always, a lot of different things were displayed. Coventry University students are very lucky to have such a wide variety of activities. Among some typical kinds of sport, like football and basketball, very unusual ones, like skydiving, were presented. But as I’m here for one semester only, I don’t see much sense in joining any of them.

International Party

As I’ve already mentioned above I’m not really a party person, but on Thursday I decided to go out and have some fun. Moreover, it was an international party – a wonderful opportunity to meet new people from all over the world. The party was held in a night club. Students were given flags of their countries, so everyone could tell where the others were from. There were actually quite a lot of Swedish people at the party. I can’t say I met a lot of new people there, still I had fun and enjoyed the party a lot.

Overall Impression after a Week in Coventry and Some Other Comments

Today is Friday, so it means that it’s already been a week since I arrived in England. It also was the last day of the orientation week. Today we had a chance to sign our learning agreements as well as arrival forms. Without a doubt, the last week was a wonderful one (even the weather was nice most of the time here!)

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Coventry Cathedral

As for the city… well, it looks nice and old. There’re a few things to see and do. Also, it’s located in the middle of England, so it’s quite easy to get wherever you want to from here.

I like many things about being here. I like that everything in Coventry is in a walking distance, so you don’t need to buy a bicycle or use busses. I also like that my new university provides so many opportunities to its students not only to study but also to be active even after their classes.

Of course, not everything is perfect about Coventry University.  For example, organisation of the events for exchange students is not brilliant. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as ESN to bring all exchange students together at Coventry University. So Erasmus students should be proactive themselves, search for information, and join events for freshers when they feel like partying and meeting new people.

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Societies Fair

Also lack of information about events that were taking place during the first week from the university staff caused a bit of confusion among exchange students in the beginning. But, of course, one person can’t control everything. However, if we really needed to know something, we could always email a person who was responsible of the exchange students, and she would answer all our enquiries rapidly.

There were some other things about the UK that seemed a bit weird to me in the beginning, too. For example, sockets, separate taps for cold and hot water, and peculiar left-hand side traffic that was driving me crazy in the very beginning. Now I guess I am getting used to those things, though. At least I know where to look when I cross a road now. 😀

To sum up, I like being here. Despite all those small unpleasant things that I mentioned above, I do not regret coming to Coventry. I am sure this semester is going to be very interesting and full of unforgettable moments.

And if you actually managed to finish this, then I just want to thank you for reading!

September with Rolli Days and Genova’s history

I have been in Genova about one month now and the more time I spend in the city, the more I like it, really! First, I can admit that sometimes I was a little bit scared when I walked home at evening, the streets are very small etc, but I like the city more and more for each day.

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Genova is quite a big city and     sometimes I forget that when I live and spend the most of my time in that quarter, but the city has some really beautiful quarters, gardens and big streets!

 

Two times a year, everybody has the oppurtunity to come and visit the Rolli days. Lucky me who spend my time here when the Rolli days was (last weekend). I took a guided tour with a good guide who talked about the Rolli system, when Genova was a really big and strong economy, other kind of history etc. It was really interesting. You can say that under the Rolli days you have the opportunity to come and visit several of the palaces at Via Garibaldi, one of the most famous and beautiful street in Genova. The rest of the days of the year it costs to visit the palaces, but under theese days, it is free! And the tourist information also offers guided tours, which can be we good if you want to understand what Rolli means!

You can say I have really good weather here. Last weekend it was soo nice weather so I went to the beach called Boccaddesse. It is a beautiful small village, part of Genova, famous for the fishing and the small beach with cute houses and a lot of houses with strong colours. It was really nice, but a lot of people, I wasn’t alone!

blogg4Beautiful Boccaddese!

 

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More pictures are coming soon from Rolli Days!

Ciao Ciao!

Korea vs Yonsei

Annyeonghaseyo!

Last weekend we had  the annual match between Korea University and Yonsei University. After practicing cheering we could finally use all the things we learned.

First Day

The first match was held at the Olympic Park. Really impressive! The tournament started with baseball. It was my first baseball match and I fortunately had a friend explaining the rules to me (confusing stuff). We cheered through the hole match and even the break. There were dancers that danced all the time, the true heroes of the tournament if you ask me! They danced for the whole day, non-stop! Impressive! We won at Baseball. KU won the last years, so Yonsei students didn’t really bother to show up. KU fans were going crazy, outnumbering and out screaming Yonsei completely! The atmosphere was fantastic, even if the game was rather boring (I guess Baseball was neither the strength of both teams).

After Baseball we tried to get into the Basketball stadium. No chance! Public viewing was a disappointment, as the screen was way too small. Most people left. Only those who had tickets watched Basketball and Ice Hockey. I would have loved to watch the two matches. Korea won Basketball and Yonsei Ice Hockey.

At the end of the first day KU was leading with 2:1

We were all super tired and exhausted after all that jumping. We all had so many bruises everywhere. Most of us went to bed rather early, some went out to Party. Cheering in the burning sun for the whole day is an experience!!

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Second day

We had to get up early on the second day of the match. They were expecting the stadium to be packed, as no one had classes at uni. I was one of the first people at the stadium. We waited for 4 (!!!) hours to get in. We were one of the last. Patience is not my strength, I was in a very bad mood. They told us to come as early as possible and then we realized it didn’t matter anyway! ARRGGG.

We started of with rugby. We lost. Cheering was still fun. It doesn’t really matter what´s happening on the field, we cheer anyway. Weird concept.

Next was football. I love football, therefore I had high expectations of the match. Well, let´s say both teams tried. Most “westerners” actively followed the game, the koreans were to preoccupied with cheering. Atmosphere was great. Yonsei was really in a better shape. We screamed and cheered as loud as we could. At the end it was 1:1 and the game just shopped. ???? What, 1:1, so no winner? We complained and were confused (westerners again). Well, apparently, the games were over and we tied with Yonsei. Maybe for the better, Afterwards we all dance together, there were no fights and everybody was happy. I was slightly sad that we had not managed to shot the winning goal.

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Evening:

Anam was basically a party street. Bars and restaurants hung up KU posters. There was a stage, playing all the cheering songs (like we hadn’t cheered enough already). There was free beer and snacks. It is a tradition that the alumni pay for food and drinks at the bars. You basically bar-hop all the time, cheer and scream. There was so much going on. Somehow, group 2 did not do anything special. We had the usual dinner and soju and then headed for a bar. I was disappointed, I wanted to be where the people were. I wanted to dance on the street and get free stuff, not having to sit in a stupid bar where nothing was free. I left and walked along the street enjoying the view of seeing old and young people dancing and partying together. The other groups mingled with the locals and have a crazy night. Some of my friends were basically forced to drink 😉

Unfortunately I missed that, but just seeing old people completely drunk and dancing all night long was worth it.I had to get up early anyway to go to Everland, a theme park close to Seoul.

Cheering was an amazing experience. I basically have no voice and more bruises that I can count. I have never experienced something like this. Maybe the World Cup Final in when we won against Argentina, people went completely nuts is comparable! In 10 years, I´ll try to go again and claim that I´m an “alumni” too, so that I can experience the atmosphere once again 😉

I´ve been in Korea for a month now and I’m enjoying every second of it!

Lena

New Love

Good day good folks!
How has your day been so far? Hopefully its been a great day! So this past week I’ve thought about; what to post on the blog on a daily basis. Initially, when I agreed to to write on the blog, and even earlier than that, when I applied for the opportunity of studying in Canada, I wrote about keeping anyone who wanted in the loop of all things necessary regarding their future/possible time at York. The only problem is that; all I can think of is how much I love it here, and I know it gets tiresome to read about someone just yapping on about how much they love it, and nothing else. Genuinely speaking, thats all I can think of. I’ve loved every day I’ve been here, I love the people I’ve met, the residence I’m staying in, the dons in charge of the building, my classes, even the boring ones, I even love the squirrels and the even the damn raccoons.

Life here, is somewhat like in the movies. You live on campus and all sorts of unexpected things happens here. I can’t remember what movie it was due to the fact that it has been ages since I’ve last seen it, but there’s a movie about a girl attending collage and everything was so overwhelming and everywhere she want she would see people. And the instance I’m thinking of is that even when she went to a place that seemed so remote the artistic group was playing music and she got so pissed off haha! Well what I am trying to say is that, there is people everywhere and every now and then there will a little group of artistic people (people who either lives or is affiliated with Winters collage lol) who plays music, but the difference between me and the girl in the movie is that I quite like it. I love it here.

Life is so different yet with some instances of similarities from the life back in Sweden. It has to be the kind people all around you and the lifestyle, I obviously can’t speak for everyone but generally speaking, we Swedes don’t live the most social lives, we don’t hang out with people every single day, for no apparent reason, just for the sake of hanging out. But thats what they do here, and I know I know, I’ve probably written the word love 530 times so far, but I LOVE IT. I feel so at home here! And it doesn’t hurt that the weather is still warm here. I promise for next week I will try to write something slightly productive for anyone interested in York university, but for now, believe me, if you ever get the opportunity to come, first of all, DO IT! and secondly, I have no doubt you will love it as much as I do. I wish everyone could experience this euphoric feeling of being here!

Korean University System

Annyeonghaseyo!

I´ve been in Seoul for around a week, how time flies! In this post I´d like to talk about the Korean university system and compare it to the Swedish/European one. I base all the arguments on my personal experience and what I have been told about by others.

10 Similarities and Differences

1. University in Korea feels like being back in highschool. Professors check attendance and you get punished if you miss a class or are late. Furthermore, there´s homework (very simple one) and professors basically tell you what to do. However, uni is obviously more difficult.

2. Oldschool learning.  In Europe everything is about `critical thinking´ (whenever we actually think critically is open for debate). In Korea the sentiment is still: write as massive notes as possible, form study groups to go over the books and respond to the professor by quoting the text book. Even Though the professors are really trying to tell people that memorizing everything by heart won´t get them far, this has not really been effective. However, exchanges and international professors will allow the students to understand this concept. I´m positive that in around 10 years Korean university students will have understood that studying is not just memorizing everything.

3. Discussion ( at least that´s how they call it). In most of my courses the professors want to have discussions. THis is rather difficult, due to the size of the classes. In only one of my classes do we actually discuss things and people speak freely. In all other classes people are either too shy or simply rephrase what the book says. Students say something and not discussion by which I mean: EXCHANGE of ideas and opinions takes answers. It´s more like a Q&A.

4. Students sleep in lectures. Yes, we do that too by not like here. Koreans have to show up to lectures, so they are physically there but simply sleep thru the whole lecture. I personally dislike this a lot. If you make the effort to show up, then you better pay some attention or simply leave. If you are too tired or too bored just stay at home, that´s what I would do back home. Sleeping is highly disruptive, since it just looks weird.

5. Korean Unis are for catching up with everything you missed as a highschool student. Korea is a highly competitive society. If you don´t get into the top university´s you can forget about a career. Students basically study 24/7 during high school. When they have made it to the prestigious universities they can relax. Korean student´s can take various courses, even if there´s no link to their field of studies ( or maybe there is but I simply don´t get why a english major has to study international law). They can finally travel and have a social life. I was shocked to hear that most of the students only started to leave the country ( or even the city) after they graduated, before they were simply to busy. Yes, back home uni gives you more freedom and everything, but for Korean students it really is like breaking free from all that pressure before.

6. Pride.Students feel strongly connected to their university. I´m not used to this, I like my home university but don´t have strong feelings towards it. KU students adore their university. They all know how to cheer for their sports teams and are very active in the societies. Maybe this is because of the on campus university or because family is very important in Korea (really VERY!!!).

7. Societies. We have them too, sports, drama and music clubs. BUT: I´ve never seen that you have to apply and then attend an interview. I get that if you want to join the uni´s basketball team you should be good. However, joining the international affairs society does not really require much, except commitment and interest. I applied to join KIOSS ( Korea International Organization Student Society). I applied ( serious stuff) and was interviewed with three other people. Questions ranged from my personality to political questions. I doubt that the society has sooo many members that they have to be so selective. However, I know the reason. I talked to a girl that was interviewed together with me. I told her that I was amused of how the selection process works. She told me that the societies compete regionally and internationally, therefore they only want the best people to be members. Competition once again, I guess you can see the pattern. I surprisingly got in even though I don´t meet two of the requirements ( joining for 2 semesters and participating at the MUN at the end of January). I guess the chose me cause I´m rather experience and well: I´m not Korean. They claim to be a diverse society, I think that I´ll be the only foreigner, very diverse right 😉 I´m excited to join, as I want to meet more people and get involved.

8. TAs.Professors have Teaching assistant (TA). I know that professors have these too make in Europe. However, back in Malmö this is not the case. The TA answers questions, does the attendance and anything the professor needs ( getting the coffee or something).

9. Blackboard.We use Blackboard at KU; not It´s Learning, same thing basically

10. Computers. In most of the classes electronic devices are not allowed. This is surprising as everyone owns the newest Samsung tablet or computer

Things I really like about the University System in Korea 

– you can choose your courses, it´s a pain but like this you can study what you are interested in.

-cafeteria food is sooooo CHEAP!

– there are lots of societies, Malmö has hardly any. Clubs create university spirit, more of that please!

– professors are funny! I was very surprised, they actually make jokes.

– reading packages: all the reading material in one book, saves money and is better for your back

– on campus university: lots of parks, all faculties are closeby, a huge area, we have shops and restaurants on campus (Burger King for example), there’s a shuttle bus

-in every room there’s air conditioning, professors use microphones, there’s a weird looking machine/computer in every room: professors do not have to carry around their laptops ( they know how to use the thing too)

– professors are top and have very impressive CVs, elite university after all

– they merchandize of KU is impressive, I could buy everything!

-copy shops, people are super helpful and make everything for you. Super convenient, as I don´t get Korean Windows 😉

-free water everywhere

 

That´s all, I´ll tell you all about exams when I wrote them.

 

 

Weekend Trip to Busan

Annyeonghaseyo!

Last week I went to Busan with my friends. We stayed there for two nights and traveled by train. Busan is Korea´s second largest city in the south of the country. Travelling there does not take that ling (3-4 hours by train). We bought the KorailPass, which is super convenient. It is offered for foreigners and can be purchased for different number of days. We took the 3 day pass. You can travel unlimited and in any train with the pass.

Day 1

Our hostel was right next to the fish market. It is the largest in Korea and there is everything one can imagine. The smell of salt and fish is omnipresent in Busan. We had a huge plate of raw fish for a good price. Like sushi just without the rice. Really tasty! You put the fish in a leaf and add sauce. I did not like the leaf taste, therefore just ate the fish with the side dishes.

We walked around the city center on the search of bikinis (two of my friends forgot to bring theirs). We managed at the end, it´s already off season so it was a challenge to find something.

As the weather was so amazing we went to Gwangan beach. It was nearly empty. We were the only ones in the water (and it was NOT cold!). Koreans don´t swim or tan (like we did). Being tanned is ugly, therefore they just walk along the beach fully dressed! It is a strange feeling to be half naked whilst others are walking around in suits.

Swimming makes hungry so we enjoyed some chicken and beer close by. Fried chicken with different flavors are really popular in Korea. Try eating a chicken wing with chopsticks! The beer tasted like water, so a good refreshment. With our stomachs being filled we walked along the beach. The lights look beautiful. Busan has a very impressive skyline and bridge. The many lights really were something. Two of my friends bought cooked silk worms, the MOST DISGUSTING thing ever. I don´t have a problem eating weird things as long as they taste good. They didn’t and I strongly encourage you to NEVER to eat it! We walked for quite a while until we took the subway back to the hostel. Busan feels rather small compared to Seoul (it is!), but as it has 3,6 million inhabitants it takes a while to get around. We made one last stroll to the city center, where we got us a midnight snack and then sat with the hostel manager and his friends drinking rice wine. If you do not like soju, you should definitely try rice wine. For me it tastes like BananenWeizen (Germans know what I mean). I prefer it over soju, as it it has a taste and is not as sweet.

I shared my bed with Mango, the hostel cat. I don´t have any animals so it was rather weird. I tried to take up as little space of the bed as possible. Mango seemed to enjoy my company and stayed there for most of the night.

Day 2

After breakfast, we took the bus to the Cultural Village. Unfortunately the weather was not like the day before. It rained several times and the sky was not to be seen. The cultural village is a touristy area where you can look at street art, shops and eat local food. I thought it would be more historic. After the first disappointment I really enjoyed the Cultural Village. You had a fantastic view and there was lots to see. We tried Ssiat Hotteok ( Busan specialty), a pastry/pancake filled with roasted seeds. Very delicious and not too sweet.

We then took the bus and metro to the UN Cemetery. We had lunch at a very popular restaurant. We had another Busan specialty: Pork soup with rice. Very tasty and you feel super healthy afterwards (same effect as eating chicken broth when you´re ill). We then followed the signs to the UN cemetery. Somehow the sign were rather wrong and we ended up at the UN Peace Memorial Hall ( on top of the hill). The Memorial Hall is basically a museum about the UN´s involvement in the Korean war. Interesting fact: minimum number of soldiers required by each state was 1,000. Luxembourg was the exception as it only had a population of 200,000 at the time ( still makes me laugh!). We wondered were the cemetery is. It is the only UN cemetery in the world, where the soldiers are buried that died during the Korean War (except US soldiers, they are buried back home). We took the elevator to the observatory and saw the cemetery. Very impressive. The view was very good. After having seen this historic place we left.

Next on our list was the Beomeo-sa Temple. We took the subway and then the bus which takes you directly to the Temple ( if you find the bus!). Locate beautifully in the mountains Beomeo-san is very impressive. I´ve never seen a Buddhist Temple, so it was very interesting and exciting for me. It rained a bit, but the mysterious atmosphere made the Temple look even more impressive. Really, something you should not miss!

In the evening the hostel manager invited us to a party. We had pajeon (korean green onion pancake) and rice wine. There were four kids at the party, so there were lots of things going on. Unfortunately for Mango, the cat. Cats do not like to many people and the kids did not understand that. Mango hid under my seat for most of the party. We felt obliged to protect him from the “MANGOOOO” screaming kids. It was a perfect end to a really nice day.

Day 3

We took our things with us and drove to the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. The weather was fantastic! The temple was located at the ocean and very touristy. Many people were there to visit. The temple had a completely different atmosphere, but was just as beautiful. We had lunch and a perfect view over the water.

One of my friends had already left for Seoul in the morning. Two of my friends left after the Temple. The three of us left went to the beach. This time we went to Haeundae Beach, which is the most popular one. This time there were more people. But just like the other day, only foreigners were swimming or tanning. The Koreans borrowed the hanbok, traditional clothing, at the beach and then took pictures. It was rater absurd, we in our bikinis and they in their traditional clothing. I also want to wear the hanbok, but then with a more “korean” background like mountains or something. There was a group of jet-ski drivers at the beach. They let people (mostly women) sit behind them. My friend and me waved at them, hoping that one of the would take us with them. They got to us and then left, as they had no vest with them. They fortunately came back and have me a vest. I sat on the jet-ski and held on to the driver as much as I could. I could´t scream, as the driver didn´t like that. It was super FAST and FUN. I always wanted to try, but it was always too expensive. Now I got it for free. What wearing a bikini is good for 😉

We then walked around the Market and took the train back to Seoul. As it was Sunday, the train was completely booked and we had to stand. It wasn´t too bad.

We had a great trip and lots of fun!!!

That was all about the trip to Busan!

 

 

New term, new contry, new experiences!

So, I wrote her last term also, when I was visiting Vilnius in Lithuania for a half years of studies.

This term I’m doing my “socionompraktik” internship here in Genoa, Italy. I arrived for about one and a half week ago but it feels like lot longer ago. Genoa is a big city, all people say different things about the population, from 700 000 to 1 000 000 miljon habitans in the Genoa-area. Even though it is a big city, the historical center and the historical parts of the city is one of the biggest in Europe. I live in the old Historic Center where the streets are really smalled, in italian called “vico”. It different from the streets I use to know in Malmö and some times it really reminds you of “Lady and Lufsen” – the Disney movie.

So what do I do here in Genoa? I have to mainly places where I do my internship, first at a home for children and secondly on a school a little bit outside the city center where I observ the integration of children with special needs and are supporting the teachers in the english courses.
Yet, the students hasn’t arrived because the school starts official about some days. But I’m looking forward to meet the kids in the school.

So until now, I have most been at the structure as we call the home and visited different meetings at the school. I also had the opportunity to do my own sightseeings here in the city, which I needed because it is really easy to take the wrong street when you visit the historic center. There is a big aquarium in Genoa, some people says it is famous in Europe, i don’t know but it was nice to visit. I also started to drink the italian coffe which is lovely!!!

In Genoa there is an airport but if you want to flight from copenhagen it is really expensive and it take a lot of time because you have to change flight in France och Germany. So a good way to go to Genoa, and the same way I took, is to flight to Milano (2h) and then take the train (about 2h 30 min in total from Milano Airport). It was a nice experience to take the train, a lot of green areas, mountains and small villages.

 

Soon I will post some picture!
Ciao!!!

Cheering 2.0

Annyeonghaseyo!

Last week KUBA organized the cheering orientation . KU students take cheering VERY seriously, there´s an actual choreography. Why?? Well, every year there´s a tournament in various sports (such as basketball and baseball) against our rival Yonsei University. The match is called Koyeonjeon, Korea-Yonsei Rival Match (고연전). In order to make sure that KU wins, every student knows how to cheer.

We had instructors showing us what we had to do and most of us wore our red KUBA shirts. There are 18 different songs and choreography´s. Our buddies know all of them by heart. I can only remember two or so. It was extremely exhausting and FUN. I´ve never seen Koreans that excited and active. Amazing! Everybody was jumping and dancing like there´s no tomorrow. Some even hurt themselves cause they were overdoing it.

Afterwards we went for dinner and to have some soju (standard combination in Korea). What a fun day. I look forward to the match, were KU will obviously win! In cheering at least, as Yonsei apparently does nothing exciting during the match.

Picture Credits go to the KUBA, who took lots of fun pictures! Thanks for that!

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Go, KU, Gooo

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10429415_1480018805635913_484106949306788950_nTotally exhausted after that work-out!

 

Til the next time,

Lena

First Week.

First week of living on campus went by so fast. The first couple of days were a little bit slow due to the fact that I pretty much was alone on my floor not knowing anyone, but as soon as people moved in; everything changed. Never in my entire life did I expect meeting people that are so nice as the ones I’ve met so far. My floor is a coed floor but honestly it feels like we all are, in some twisted way; related. A big messed up family, that is getting to know each other a little bit better as time passes by. You know like in the movies where there’s a big family gathering around a holiday and all the cousins come by and you don’t really know them but you know of them, and during the holiday that the big family is stuck together, you get to know the distant family members better. Thats how it feels like, but not at all as awkward as they make it seem in the movies.

I am probably the oldest on the floor, and going into this life that I’m starting at York U, I thought that I would feel a lot older than the rest, that I would be isolated and all things that comes with being brought up in Sweden. But truthfully, I don’t feel the age difference at all, I don’t feel isolated and I feel like I am a part of the family that is my floor, and Bethune Residence. Very poetic and romantic, I know. But in all honesty, So far, I’M IN LOVE WITH THE LIFE I LIVE. I know its frowned upon to be saying these things back at home (Sweden) but I could not be more happy than right now. I’m surrounded by an amazing group of people that I now can call my good friends.

I’ll try my best to post at least one post per week, and if anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask anything and I’ll try my best to answer it as good as possible. In the future to come, I’ll try to write more informative posts about how life is in a different country and what my opinions are and what little advice that I could give. So welcome to my the little peek show of my life in York U, hope you’ll enjoy it and let me know what you guys think. Take care, hope you guys have an amazing day.
xoxo Lilian

Introduction Week

Annyeonghaseyo!

Uni has started. At my uni it is common to have a so called “introduction week”, where students can add and drop courses after attending different classes. The first lecture I had was held by a german professor (how ironic). For whatever reason I thought the course would be about human development and not just economics. Well, first and last economics lecture 🙂 The topic was interesting, but as I was registered for 6 courses, I had to drop one. 6 is simply too much. As I have no economic background whatsoever the first course had to go.

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All professors think that attendance and punctuality is important. Attendance is mandatory in most classes and you get points removed, if you are late or do not show up. Maybe this is because otherwise no one would ever show up. I don´t know. You can tell that KU is one of the top three universities in Korea. The professors have impressive CVs, so do the alumni. Everybody was very strict in the first lecture, to scare off as many students as possible 😉 They told us that the second lecture.

Most classes are rather small, same as in Malmö. One course, Chinese Politics is so packed. The professor uses a microphone and we have to bring a name placard  to every class. Discussion is important and also around 20% of the total grade. Easy, they just want you to talk. You don´t even have to be correct. Non-Koreans benefit, we are used to discussing and saying things in the lecture. Koreans aren’t. They were not taught this in school and are extremely shy. We also have oral presentations, some Korean students were terrified and dropped the class because of this. However, as KU is an elite university the students are really dedicated and know there stuff. I´m looking foward to learn a lot. Furthermore, students always seem very interested in Korea and how things affect Korea. This is very surprising for me. When I study Chinese politics for example, I do not really care how that would affect my home country. At an international and global level, yes not not at an national level. I´ll probably learn a lot about Korea by just listening to the professor and my fellow classmates.

Additionally to attendance and participation we have exams. Mid-terms and finals. No essays like in Malmö but sit-down exams. That’s fine for me, I can do that 😉

The best thing ever! I have no clue how copyright works in Korea, but it seems non-existent. For each course there´s a reading package, with photocopies of all the chapters and articles we have to read. The copies are nicely bound into a book. The book then costs a fifth of what one would spend if you buy it new. Also another benefit: you don´t have 10 books but just one! I love it, so convenient!! Malmö should have this too.

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In most classes we didn’t do much. The professors just talked about the outline of the courses. However, three of my professors actually started with the course on the second meeting in the week. Others cancelled the lecture. I had no problems with my courses and I was lucky to have an extra course just in case. Many exchange students had lots of problems registering and getting enough credits. We are rather limited what we can study, in Korea it is okay for a English studies student to study international law for whatever reason.

I´m impressed my the atmosphere at uni. The professors are strict but nice (perfect combination). I’ve been told that Koreans catch up their teens at uni, as before they study 24/7 for the final exam. Getting in is hard, when you´re in it´s not that difficult… At least I hope so. The workload is more, as I have two more courses than in Malmö. Lots of reading, but that´s easy for me. I have most of my classes on Tuesday and Thursday. Mondays and Wednesday I´ll use for studying and doing the readings. Fridays are free!!

I wish everybody a good start for the new semester!

Lena