Korea – summary of trip

Back in late June 2012, i took part in the SIM Summer Abroad Program
and applied to go to SKKU, a university in Seoul, Korea.

It was a 4 week program and a very great summer experience.

Here are the statistics:

$2600 on 2 courses and cultural trip,
$949.50 on Korean Air round trip tickets,
6 hours between Singapore and Korea,
$133 on Chartis Travel insurance,
1 hour time difference,
$1800 and a few loose change for entire cash expenses,
100 or more acquaintances, friends and people met,
1 Global Forum,
2D1N free weekend trip to Confucius Vilage,
$171 of an hour flight to Jeju Island via Eastar,
$80 accomodation in Jeju at HK Jeju Guesthouse via Hostelbookers
10 or more Korea BBQ tasted

total: spent close to 6K for my 6 week trip and a very fruitful experience.

Some of the best people i met from all over the world includes
my Global Forum groupmates from Korea, Hawaii, Malaysia,
people i met along the trip in Seoul, my roommates, my classmates, Confucian Village and Jeju Island from Peru, Germany, USA, Austria, Colombia, Czech, Mexico, Japan, Switzerland and Singapore.



18 thoughts on “Korea – summary of trip

  1. Hello,

    I stumbled upon your blog when I did a search on WordPress and I am really curious to find out more about the cultural experiences you have had when you traveled to South Korea for the SIM Summer Abroad program. Just curious to know, did you travel to South Korea knowing Korean? ㅇㅇ

    • Hi,

      I managed only a few words such as hello and goodbye when i went to South Korea.
      It will be good to know things like “how much is this?”, “thank you”.
      i would suggest maybe you can download an app or bring a small phrase book along.
      but not to worry if you do not know how to speak Korean as if you go to the right places and to the right people, they will be able to help you to what you need in English.
      I would suggest you can go to guesthouses, hotels, convenience stores, banks for help in English.
      There is also growing number of people in South Korea that can speak English.
      Also tourist information centre as well as places frequently visited by tourist like Myeong dong area or beauty shops as they have staff there that can speak either English, Japanese or Chinese/Mandarin.
      I hope my reply helps answer your questions.
      Feel free to clear any more doubts, i am happy to help! 🙂

      • Oh wow! Thanks for the detailed reply & helpful tips ^^bbb I’m actually looking at a Summer Abroad program in South Korea and intend to go for it during my last year when I’ve cleared most of my core modules 😀

        Also, I was wondering if you could help me out as an interviewee for one of my feature story assignments which I have to complete as part of a module requirement at school. From the interview, I wish to find out more about your opinions on the program, your experiences, and some tips on surviving overseas without knowing the native language!

        If you wish to know more about the interview, or wish to help me out with this interview, please do feel free to contact me at the e-mail address provided in the contact details of my comment ^^

        I can’t wait to hear from you soon 😀

    • Hi Vanessa,
      Sorry for the late reply! I didn’t get an email notification of your comment.
      They website says its based on results but i think anyone can go as long as you can handle the summer school course requirements such as fees, take the number of modules they require etc.
      Hope it helps! 🙂

  2. Hi, thank you so much for your blog. It certainly has tons of helpful information. It’s weird that it’s so hard to find information about skku iss. By the way, for your accomodation, we cannot choose our room mates right? For chartis travel insurance, it’s for the entire 4 weeks? Why didn’t you choose to take SKKU’s group insurance for $80 usd (I’m actually wondering which insurance to take up, a check with NTUC income travel insurance cost about $400+).

    Next, for your jeju trip, did you plan ahead, or did you go during one of the weekends with the people you meet there? Also, do you have any idea when are the korean language classes held? Like around what time and for how long. I’m interested but it’s not listed on skku site, so I was hoping you might have some friends who took it last year. Thank you so much for reading this and I await your reply. THANKS 😀

    • Hello, you are welcome. In fact, i haven’t got the time to blog and share more info on my entire trip. There is simply too much information.

      For accommodation: room allocation were made randomly by SKKU and not with friends. Mostly, friends could be in the same building but different floors, or same level but different rooms.

      For Chartis travel insurance: mine was for 6 weeks. I didn’t take the SKKU group insurance as it wasn’t provided in my year. I chose Chartis as it was an easier process to buy their travel insurance online compared to NTUC.

      For my JeJu trip: I went with the people i met in SKKU after the SKKU program. 2 days over the weekend is not enough! I was there for 5D4N if i didn’t remember wrongly. You would need to hire a taxi tour as places of interest there would be a bit troublesome and far. Recommended number for a taxi tour would be from 3 people onwards so as to not hurt your pockets.

      For Korean language classes: It was held once a week, every Tuesday and Thursday from 4:30pm to 6pm when i took it in 2012.

      Hope my information helps in your decision making! 🙂

  3. Hi
    Really appreciate all the detailed info. u hv provided on SKKU summer program! Anw just curious what are the 2 courses u took up? and are any recommended/ popular courses u know of? I was reading the brief introduction on the courses and i thought it sounded pretty stressful with lots of assignments and presentations. Making me wonder if you guys really have time to head out for some fun.
    And also, dont mind me asking.. is it cold at night, though it’s summer? Cos i heard tt the weather does vary alot from day to night. Thanks so much if you could answer these!!

    • Hi,

      I took innovation, ethics and leadership and contemporary finance strategies.
      Sorry not sure which is popular as almost all courses have lots of students in the class!
      Some courses will have a mid term test and a final test.
      Some are based on assignments, usually to submit an essay or presentation.
      Yes we did have time for fun as the school encourages cultural and bonding activities.

      Depends on your dorm. Most nights are cold if your air condition is central based.
      Or else, it will be warm/room temperature.
      Yes it varies but its bearable, don’t worry. 🙂

  4. Hi! Really glad to have stumbled upon your informative blog! 🙂 Can I ask you, did you set up a bank account in korea or bank accounts under Citibank (for example) that have ATMs in Singapore and over there too? Or did you just bring a bulk sum? Thank you for your help! 🙂

    • U can bring/use Citibank cards over in Korea too so no worries.
      I brought some Won and some Sg and US dollars.
      If i am not wrong, you can withdraw with mastercard/visa there but u would have to pay for the differences and charges.

  5. Hihi, I came across your blog while googling about studying abroad! May I know if you applied for it alone? I’m thinking of applying but my friend isn’t keen to do so. And also, are there any interviews from SIM? My results are kinda bad so I’m worried about not being accepted by the school!

    Hope to receive a reply soon. Thank you 🙂

  6. Hihi, may I know if it’s advisable to be going alone for this summer exchange? And are there any interviews that we have to go through in order to be selected? 🙂

  7. Hi,
    Since you went alone, did you find it difficult to make friends when you first got there?

    And if you don’t mind me asking, which school did you study under SIM?

    • Hello, no it wasn’t difficult to make friends there, on the contrary, most people are open to making friends.

      I was under rmit from sim.

      • Since RMIT new semester starts in July, does that mean we can only choose the summer programs that ends before July?

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