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.
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.
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!