I arrived at Incheon International Airport on the 31st of July, flying from Taipei, Taiwan. Having been greeted with a long immigration line and sweltering weather, the trip was off to a great start.
Getting the basic necessities out of the way (buying a SIM card and navigating myself to the bus stop) I began to frantically check the dormitory information that I was sent to make sure I would be alighting from the right bus stop. Nevertheless, the heavy traffic and pleasant views allowed me to relax a little before settling in.
The email sent out stated it would be a 10 minute walk from the bus stop to the dormitory. I would rather struggle with a heavy suitcase than pay the taxi far for a 5 minute ride I thought. Big mistake. If you complained about Edinburgh having so many hills, please make a visit to Seoul. Hills everywhere you go, and many are at a steep incline. So much so that I pushed my suitcase up the hill. Anyway, I made it safe and sound with a lot of sweating.
That was me! Cooled down by the miracle invention that is air conditioning, I was ready to get studying. My roommate’s stuff was already there but I didn’t actually meet him until the morning as he arrived home very late. I spent the evening exploring Woojungwon dormitory (there are separate floors for genders (and very strict rules about visiting the opposite gender’s floor – it’s Asia….), a lounge on each floor, a workout room, laundry room, study room, self-kitchen and unmanned convenience store. Overall the room was not bad, but it wasn’t entirely clean when I arrived so if you stay in a dormitory here, be prepared to clean when you move in.
Now onto the language school itself….
Yonsei University’s Korean Language Institute (or KLI) is the oldest in Korea so it is pretty popular. Two days after I arrived I had to take a placement test since I had studied Korean at Edinburgh before. It lasted about 1 hour (including the welcome talk), but because my speaking was not too good, I got placed in level one first (the students in this class are complete beginners and cannot read or write Korean). After my teacher realised I was finding the class too easy, I got bumped up to level 2 which was more my speed. It was a bit of a struggle at first, because the majority of the students (I’m talking 90%) are either Japanese, Chinese or Taiwanese so they seem to pick it up faster and are good at memorising large lists of vocabulary. If anything it pushed me to study harder. Overall, the teachers were very nice and the programme was run very well. I recommend it if you are looking for a short term language experience. Thank you to Edinburgh who allowed me this opportunity! Especially now that I’ve graduated and living in Seoul!