Seoul – SKKU and some faq

1. Korean Language

Fret not if you are not familiar with the Korean language but will be visiting the country anyway. If you can managed simple and common words such as
“hello” (an nyeong ha se yo) and “thank you” (kam sa ham ni da)
you should do fine.

There is also growing number of people in South Korea that can speak English.
Go to the right places and to the right people, they will be able to help you with what you need in English.

Places frequent by tourist will be a safe bet. Such as tourist information centre, Myeong dong area or beauty shops have staff that can speak either English, Japanese or Chinese/Mandarin. You can also turn to guesthouses, hotels, convenience stores, banks for help in English.

If you are still worried, I would suggest downloading an app, bring a small phrase book along or get a headstart here at omniglot.

2. Travel insurance

I took Chartis travel insurance at $133 for 6 weeks. The SKKU group insurance wasn’t offered in my year. I chose Chartis as it was an easier process to buy online compared to the others. You could try NTUC and ACE travel insurance too.

3. How to get into SKKU summer international program.

For those not in a University in Singapore, you may head straight to the SKKU International Summer Program website to check out more details.

For those who are from NTU, you may need to check with your school’s website.
(Sorry i am not from NTU!)

For those who are from SIM, you may head to the SIM summer abroad webpage to find out more.
The website says qualification to get into the SKKU program is 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.

4. SKKU 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.

You could switch though but i would advise you to do it discreetly between yourselves as it is unlikely the in-charge will allow.

If you do switch rooms, just be reminded that both parties will have to bear the risk of being forced to move back to their original rooms when SKKU does checks.

On a happier note, you can always make new friends and get to know more people other
than the friend of your choice by being in the same room! 🙂

5.  Jeju Island

2 days may not be enough. There are waterfalls, caves, peaks, museums, factories and exhibitions to visit. You may use yeha tour as a guide. It is recommended you get a taxi/bus tour as places of interest in Jeju Island are quite far off the main roads.

As a student, recommended number for a taxi tour would be from 3 people onwards so as to not hurt pockets. Also, as a student, check the entrance board for youth rates to get cheaper entrance fees.
You may read someone’s recount of Jeju Island here while i try to gather and organize my own information in the meantime.

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19 thoughts on “Seoul – SKKU and some faq

  1. Hihi, more questions, sorry to bother once more! I think I need to get you something in Korea cos you’ve been oh so lovely in answering all my questions.

    Anyways:
    For the payment of fees, how do you go about doing that? Because according to skku site, after confirming your courses and stuff, you have to wait for a confirmation email before bank wire transfer, but I have already confirm my course for like 4 days till date but received no confirmational email. Did you receive a confirmation email from SKKU before going to the bank to transfer $?

    Next, what’s the weather like in Korea during the month you went? Because some said it’s cooling and perfect weather, some said it was crazy hot, some said it was raining and wet all the time, so I don’t know what to believe in.

    Also, how many pairs of shoes did you bring/ and also you wore mostly jeans or shorts? Like I’m not sure if I can get any clothes there since I’m abit on the larger side.

    I also heard that Koreans don’t wear slippers at all, is that true?

    Thank you 😀

    • Payment – yes you have to wait for skku to send you a confirmation email. they have many students confirmation to process, please be patient. i think they will send it all out together as a bulk.
      i transferred mine in end may, so that’s one month before the program. don’t worry so much.

      Weather – you can also try to google. it was supposed to be summer there in june/july/aug. but the weather is abit like singapore.
      in korea its mainly warm and dry, so bring moisturizer. whatever you wear in Singapore can do, except Singapore is warm and humid.
      There were a few days in the evening and on weekends where it rained very heavily so maybe that’s why people said that.
      Bring a jacket and an umbrella will work well whether rain or shine.

      Clothes – i brought 2 pairs of shoes and i slippers. you can always buy there! 🙂
      I wore mostly shorts. i bought 1-2 pairs of jeans too because i need it in the plane, wore for presentations, and some days in the cold lecture hall.
      If you mean slippers like flip flops then no, it was not common there. They sell and wear mostly heels, sandals and rain boots but hardly slippers.

    • Hi I am a SIM student who will be going to Korea for the summer abroad this year! The confirmation is already out, you can check via the SKKU portal 🙂

      • Okay, I went korea in MAY before and I loved the weather there. I shall use my laneige water bank there, haha! (:

        I see, i was thinking of bringing around 7 sets of clothes and then interchangeably wash and wear them + whatever things I buy there and perhaps like you said, 2 shoes and 1 slipper (: I wonder what do the koreans girl wear to the mud festival. Do you remember? Were the people barefooted? I want to wear my Havaninas there.

        Haha, I love all your information, it’s so helpful. They should appoint you as a SIM summer abroad ambassador.

      • YOU have to buy the Laneige water bank there at those Myeong Dong smaller/less well known brand retail stalls like Holika Holika or Baviphat.
        Because they sell trial packs in like 5 to 10 bottles of 10ml for $30 to $50 SGD. That’s like a standard 50ml bottle for 50% to 70% of the price!
        I think because it was the summer sale too.

        Yea you could was and wear them interchangeably. I actually did that and bought new clothes that i didn’t wear some of the clothes i brought from Singapore.

        MUD FESTIVAL. oh gosh we went there! as in SKKU brought us there.
        I wore my slippers there and fyi, bring clothes and undergarments that
        you are ready to throw after playing in the mud or else use a swim wear.

        We were there the whole day and the hot sun caused the mud to be stuck
        to our clothes so it was hard or almost impossible to wash off.
        I threw away my tank top and shorts which i wore to the mud festival
        because my purple tank top turned brownish/dirty purple.
        Slippers was fine cause its made of plastic, mud could be washed off.
        Also, the bathing facilities there is a open concept like those in jijimbang.
        So you see most of the girls exposing something but because that day
        it was mostly flooded with SKKU Singaporean,
        you see alot of people bathing with their clothes on. LOL.
        So bring toiletries, towel, plastic bag to throw your stuff, extra clothes and undergarments.
        And pick a corner to bathe and bathe fast!

        haha you are so sweet. If only SIM would sponsor me for the next summer abroad program
        and i shall be happy to share info, experiences and promote for whoever.
        So thank you for your kind words:) It makes me happy to know that there are people like you
        out there who can benefit from my information 🙂

      • TO SIM STUDENT:

        Hello fellow korea-summer-exchange-friend 🙂 Thanks, I saw it already! Oh btw, if you have any good deals on flight could you contact me at redtrafficlight@gmail.com? I’m also searching for flights but hard to co-ordinate with my friends because I am thinking of staying another 1 week or so after the programme ends.

        But anyways, like you, I’m planning to drop by korea a few days earlier, maybe 2-3 days earlier to check the area out. Maybe we can fly together? It’s easier to navigate from airport to SKKU if we are in a bigger group as well. I think we’ll see each other anyways because I think SIM will have a talk before our korea trip ( I THINK).

  2. Thanks for the heads-up. I wonder what’s the deal with Koreans and open-concept showering/bathing.

    Well, so in the end, did you have to bathe naked in front of everyone? Hoping to avoid this. Was any of your friends successful in bathing with clothes on? But is there changing rooms with doors?

    After the mud festival, everyone gathered for dinner or went their separate ways?
    I saw the mud festival on TV before and it seems super cool! Mostly people (girls) wear bikini or wear tank tops or shirts? Haha, but seems like despite their open-ness in terms of showering, they are quite a conservative country (as in no boobs baring, only legs baring).

    Did you visit a jijimbang? I want to go the sauna (with clothes on) section only, can I get in there w/o having to shower myself first or is there a rule that no matter which section you go, you have to shower yourself. The jijimbang, means girls still have a showering-length towel while soaking in like the tub or just bare naked. LOL, the idea seems so weird to me. Even when in the fitness gyms I used to go, there are women who would walk naked around the lockers + showering area. Guess I am not used to it.

    Haha, I still have one normal size tub of laneige that I bought in 2010, haven’t used it yet. But I remembered it was around $30+ for the normal size too. Maybe the price increased as the popularity rose?

    You deserve the ambassador title 😀

    • Yeah my Singaporean friends bathed with their clothes on.
      We went in together but we took different shower heads. Probably at extreme ends.
      Don’t want to see anything that we will make us feel awkward you know.
      But its hard to be clean so we went back to our dorms to shower again and also to get the mud off our hair.
      Changing room with doors are away from that bathing area. They are actually toilets and dirtier.
      The bus sent us back to SKKU after Mud festival.

      Yes, i visited Jijimbang with only one room mate. Thank god!
      You cannot go into the pool area with clothes on but you can go into the steam area with their set of comfy pajamas on.
      Bare naked, towel is only big enough to cover on part or one side of body. lol.

      You know what, i will list down the things i need to share on this blog like info and places of interest etc.
      I will find and dig up the relevant pictures and quickly post them up soon.
      Please let me know what you would like me to share as well.

      -Some info about courses from my friends and i
      -Mud Festival
      -Jijimbang
      -Global Forum
      -Noraebang
      -Fish Spa
      -Jeju Island
      -Lotte World
      -Lotte Mart
      -interesting places around SKKU/hye hwa
      -4D movie

      • Sorry for the late reply, cos of prelims. Haha.

        Oh gosh, haha, I don’t I am comfortable to be naked in front of others even though they are girls. I just find it weird. But it would make for an interesting experience for some others.

        Btw, the mud is really impossible to wash off? Did you throw away your undergarments too? Dang, I don’t have any tops or shorts I want to throw away in particular. Was thinking maybe of wearing fbt shorts there, haha.

        Btw, what is the nearest mrt station to skku, it is hyehwa station? There is a sungkyunkwan station too if i’m not wrong, is that further? Which is nearer to skku and which is nearer to your dorm?

        Oh it’d be useful to do a post on what to pack there, how many sets of clothes, sort of clothes, what you brought, etc. Also things like what time departmental stores close and what would I expect to find in korea. There’s pantene and p&g shower items there right. Did you bring a bath towel or bought it there? I was thinking that towel is too bulky, so I wanna buy a cheap one and leave it there.

        Also, did any of your friends ship things back to korea, due to luggage overlimit. I have a feeling I will buy alot of stuff and sure to exceed baggage limit, so I was wondering how much it costs to ship things back to singapore.

        Those are the above things I can think of right now that I am curious of.

        Thank you. Haha. You have lots of ideas what to blog about next 😀 Can’t wait for your next posts 😀

      • yes nearest is hyehwa station. the other station has the other skku campus.

        I bought about 12 sets/2 weeks of clothes and 5 sets of PJ worth.
        actually what to pack there depends on your clothes combination and wearing habits.
        eg if you wear more dresses than tops and bottoms combination, then you will have lesser to bring.
        also depends if you need to wear something different everyday in the 4 weeks or you are fine with repeating your clothes etc.
        hmm i am sorry but i don’t remember what time the departmental stores closes there. i think by 9-10pm.
        I don’t remember the brands they carry there sorry. I brought my own toiletries there, shampoo, towel etc.
        You may want to google a travel pack list.

        Yes we shipped our stuff back. You may want to check where is the nearest post office at your living area.
        There is one at the corner of Lotteria if your dorm is at Migaon Ville.
        I think i paid about $60 SGD for express courier for 13 KG.

      • wow. $60 for 13kg sounds reasonable. I might be doing that. Going to buy so many things back, just those mask alone would be a hefty weight! Thanks for the info! 😀

  3. Hi, I will be going for the summer studies at SKKU this coming june-july. Do you recommend staying in SKKU hostel is better or outside hostel as i understand there is a curfew for SKKU hostel ? Can I still stay at SKKU hostel after the programme has ended if I intend to extend my stay in korea?

    If I wanna stay outside of SKKU, which area do you recommend to stay at so that travelling around Seoul will be more convenient and nearer?

    • Hi, yeah there is a curfew for the hostels but you can work your way around it for some of them.
      I would recommend staying in SKKU hostel as you will have the chance to get to know more people from SKKU and you all can keep each other updated and informed. At the same time, making use of the facilities provided in the SKKU hostel.
      However, if you are someone who prefers to have your own room and privacy then you should get a single bed room from the hostels outside.
      Bearing in mind that outside hostel will cost more than SKKU hostel.

      Yes, you can extend your stay at SKKU hostel after the program for up to 2 weeks.

      If you are staying out of SKKU, you can try Bong house at HyeHwa area which is very near SKKU.
      If you like shopping you can stay at MyeongDong, DongDaeMun or Ewha area.

  4. Hi,
    I have a question to ask with regards to ATM withdrawal of money. Did u withdraw money over at korea during the summer semester. Are there ATM machines that allows us to withdraw money from our POSB account over in seoul?

    Thanks loads!

    • Hi,

      Sorry i am not too sure about withdrawing money with POSB cards/accounts.
      But we can use citibank cards over there to withdraw or change money over at the banks which can be found easily.

      🙂

  5. Hi. Your blog is really very informative. *thumbs up*
    I have a few more questions here.
    Do you know if our friend can visit and stayover in ssku hostels ?
    What the price like for extending our stay at SKKU after the program ?
    You mention you went Jeju, from what I know jeju air only allow a check in of 15kg baggage, I am sure after a month stay there our baggage can easily exceed that.. so did you just pay for the excess baggage or if skku allow us to deposit our baggage with them for many around 4 days ?

    • Hi, stayover is not possible as the korean house leader will do checks. You may have to do it discreetly and at your own risk.
      Can’t really remember but the cost of extending skku accomodation was either pro rated based on the fee you paid for the summer exchange or can be slightly cheaper.
      I left my luggage at my skku accomodation when i went to jeju after the summer program because i extended my skku accomodation. You can also check if your friends staying in seoul if its fine with them taking care of your luggage when you are away.

  6. Hello! Chanced upon your blog when I am doing research about SKKU. Have several questions, hope you could kindly advice on them!

    I am going for an exchange program at SKKU this August. May I know what is the cheapest airline to travel to South Korea from Singapore? Where do you book your flights?

    For accommodation, were the checks very strict? And are visiting students allowed to rent a place at SKKU?

    For food expenses, usually how much does it cost?

    How much did it cost for your Jeju island trip?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Dave,
      I chose the national carrier of Korea – Korean Airlines. It was one of the cheapest but you could google for promotions and use http://www.skyscanner.com.sg/ as well.

      The checks are to keep things in place. Sometimes they close one eye on things, sometimes they can be very strict if they find people abusing their system. Just try to keep things low and depends on who is your housemaster who does the checks.

      Nope, as far as i know, visiting students are not allowed to rent a place as you need to register with the school.

      Food expenses can be cheap if you go to the right places. SGD 10 to 20 per meal can be found as the korean bbq there is more affordable than in sg.

      I spent about SGD $500 plus/minus for my Jeju trip inclusive of flight, accommodation and places of interest and food. It wasn’t too expensive as i stayed at hostel in Jeju for less than a week. We went to places of interest on our own via accessible public transport. If you would like to go for private tours then you would have to pay more for those.

      Hope this helps!

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