I haven´t quite processed my semester in Seoul yet and here I am in Bordeaux. Yes, you have read it correctly I´m on another exchange in the beautiful Bordeaux. So a new adventure awaits me here.
I loved Seoul! I still constantly talk about it and definitely will go back. To live in Korea was challenging but mostly very rewarding. I have never lived anywhere where every day is exciting and offers something new. I didn´t change that much, since I´m used to not live in my home country. However, I´ve become a tiny bit Korean. I always to the Asian pose on pictures (my friends make fun of me), sometimes I greet people the Korean way (waving with both hands), I wear more make-up (girls will understand, people just look so flawless in Korea), I can eat super spicy food and most dominantly: I´ve become more patient. People that know me know that patience is not my thing. However, Korea surprisingly taught me to be more patient (Korea or am I just getting old ??). If you live in a city has is always busy and you are surrounded by hyperactive people, the best strategy is to remain calm. Unfortunately, I did not get very far with my Korean, but well. Let´s face it, Korean is DIFFICULT. I got by anyway.
Korea will always have a special place in my heart. I met so many great people, traveled and learned a lot about the country. I would advise anyone to apply for an exchange semester in Korea, whatever university you chose (GO TIGERS, sorry for the bias).it will be a fantastic experience. I was lucky to have people that supported me and guided me through out my semester. I would like to express my gratitude at this point! Without my buddy and the student at Korea University, my experience would not have been as great. I am also grateful that some members of my family visited me. It makes it easier to talk about my experiences if the person your talking to has actually been in Korea.
I could spend ages talking about how great Korea is, but I won´t do so. My blog entries hopefully showed you that I had a really really good time.
But now to the next adventure: FRANCE
I am extremely grateful that Malmö University gives its students the opportunity to have two elective semesters. I decided to do two exchange semesters in two different countries. Everybody should decide according to their preferences. I wanted to go to France, since I have visited it several times and know the language (at least I thought so before that entry exam, but that´s another story). I decided to go to Bordeaux, as I have never been there, the university offered great courses (IN ENGLISH, I´m not suicidal after all) and let´s face it: the location and the wine are very convincing for themselves. I got tips from a dear friend of mine, who studies at SciencePo for one year, always good to know someone.
Getting to Bordeaux from Leipzig (where my parents live) was a bit complicated. So I decided to stop by my grandparents in the South of Germany and fly from Strasbourg. Like this I saw my family and did not have to transfer in Paris. I arrived the day before the introduction day. Most people arrived around the same time.
I live on campus. The university campus is HUGE, it´s in a town called Pessac which is very close to Bordeaux (tram takes like 20 minutes to the center). My room is very spacious compared to the one in Seoul. The kitchen is shared. People are very nice on my floor and I live super close to university. Student housing is cheap and I was surprised that my room actually is nice. Many people live in Bordeaux as it is way more exciting that living on campus and you can walk home after a night out. I wanted to save money and live with many other students, as I had good experiences with student housing in Korea. Also, there´s a night bus, so no problem at all to get back home.
SciencePo offers courses in French and English. I decided to take English courses, as I have never attended any courses in French and it´s been a while since I actually spoke french. Most dominantly, the courses in English were more interesting. Nevertheless, I take French classes and one lecture in French. My ultimate goal is to improve my French.
There are not only ERASMUS students but also people from Colombia, Singapore and the U.S (to mention a few). We are a relatively small group of around 40 people or so. Compared to Korea there is no guidance for exchange students. We organized ourselves, created a Facebook group chat and always share any information. There is a student society, which organizes events, but that only started last week.
I have not managed to identify the French university system yet, but well. I (and everybody else) struggles with the French bureaucracy, you may have heard bad things about it, frankly speaking it´s WORSE. However, when I walk along Bordeaux (GOOGLE IT, if you don´t know what I´m talking about) or simply buy a baguette, I forget all of the trouble. I try to take it as the french, things will sort themselves out eventually. You just have to be patient and persistent.
Ohlala, that was a lot again. Sorry for that. Hopefully you´ll keep reading my blog, even though France may not be as exciting as Korea. I aim to make the best of my exchange!