107年度海飛颺計畫學習心得 - 李欣珂
研修期間：2018 年 8 月 30 日至 2019 年 1 月 3 日
Firstly, I want to personally Thank NTOU for giving me this precious chance to be chosen as an exchange student to Chung-Ang University. It will be an unforgettable experience in my life. Since I am an overseas student, I will write my review in English.
Before I went to Korea as an exchange student, I have written some missions that I should accomplish. The missions are, boldly communicate with Korean language, learn more about Korean culture, participate in campus activities and to make as many friends as possible. Luckily, all of the missions have been accomplished and I am very satisfied with all the things that I have expected from the beginning.
On the first day, the day I arrived at Korea, there are some students from CAU called “GLAM” or “Global Ambassador” who came to the Airport and personally picked us up. They were very friendly and speak fluent English, some can even speak Chinese! Every small group has their own GLAM who will be responsible for the group tasks, or if we have some problems with our stay in Korea. My group’s GLAM name is Sally, she is very friendly and warm person. She always helped us anytime and communicate well with us.
For us global students who studies at CAU, there are some activities specially held for us called “CKEP” (CAU Korea Exploration Program) and it will be held 4 times in 1 semester. It will be held approximately once a month. The 1st CKEP was watching a baseball match, because baseball is one of Korea most popular sport. During the 2nd CKEP, we visited a traditional cultural village where we learned how to make traditional Rice cakes (떡) and fermented rice wine (막걸리), picked some sweet potatoes (고구마), and also tried Korean mix vegetables rice, which were all Korean popular traditional dishes. At the 3rd CKEP, we visited folk cultural village but we made DIY pottery using clay and also watched some performances. During the 4th CKEP, we visited Insa-Dong and made a DIY Stamp, which looks like our name stamp in Taiwan. All the activities were very interesting and fun. No fees were needed for participating! Bus were prepared by CAU so we did not spend any transportation fee. Meals were also provided by CAU. Overall, I learned many Korean traditional culture from this experience.
In CAU, there are some courses that can be taken in English. I took Advanced Nutrition, Food Processing and Food Chemistry which was taught in English. There were also an experiment class for Food Chemistry. Since the students in class were mostly Korean, the professor still needed to use some Korean language for better understanding. But all the presentation and exams were provided in English. So, it was not a burden for me to attend the class. The professors were all well prepared and taught the lesson clearly. The class environment was also very good and new. I also took two extra courses which were Basic Korean Language and Korean Culture Class. Overall, the learning experience was very interesting. One thing that I found not quite satisfying was, the lab experiments was mostly theoretical and not practical. One lab group consisted of 6-7 people and I found it quite hard to do the experiment personally. Some experiments were only explained by the professor and 4 without personally doing the experiments ourselves. Therefore, I guess I did not learn quite much from the lab class.
Next is the living situation in Korea. I stayed at the school’s dormitory. 1 room consisted of 2 students. My roommate was a Chinese student. The dormitory was very comfortable and there was a small kitchen provided for common use. Opposite of our dormitory building, a minimarket, fitness center and cafeteria were located there. It was very convenient and near. There was also a shuttle bus which runs around the campus and the main gate, since our campus is quite large. There were also direct buses to Seoul from our campus, around 18 routes per day. The services from CAU was really good, such as, they provide a health center for the foreign students which we can get a free consultation with the doctor if we felt unwell. CAU also helped us with the domestic bank card which made it more convenient when purchasing. They also provided free breads, instant noodle and drinks for every student during the examination week.
My friends were mostly from the China Mainland because we were assigned in one group. We spent a lot of time together, shared our cultures too. Since most of them came from different cities and provinces. Most of them were majored in Industrial Design and Photography. Even though our studies are quite different but we still make good connection and stayed together until the end of the semester.
For the living cost in Korea, it is much higher than Taiwan. For example, dining costs (including fruits and snacks), transportation fees and daily expenses. The cost for one portion of meal is approximately NTD$200 and above per person, while it is the basic restaurant in Korea. Transportation fees is quite the double price of Taiwan. So, my expenses in Korea is much higher than during my studies here. Even daily necessities such as tissues and cotton pads are quite expensive comparing to Taiwan.
Korean culture is different from other Asian culture. Firstly, they emphasize the honorifics. Such as the honorable manners of the younger towards the elder and seniors. It is very rude if the younger did not address the elder with specific honorifics even though the age gap is not far. It is also a must to bow down and greet to every elder/senior that we recognize. It will be known as rude if we did not greet them. It is also not recommended to shake hands/hug people that you just recognize, they will usually just greet each other. Secondly is table manners, they have different kinds of tableware, such as metal-flat chopsticks. Korean really love alcohol beverages. There are even several manners to be followed when drinking.
My impression towards living in Korea is really good. I think that Korea is a very modern and busy country. They have good public services, such as efficient transportations, roads are clean and have good manners. I have heard before that Korean people are cold-hearted and not welcoming, but I have never experienced or met these kinds of people. They were very kind and warm, like shop keepers or drivers were all well-mannered. One thing that is lacking, Korean like to spit everywhere, especially men. They did not care if there are people in front of them. It is a bad habit of Korean. Also, I think some immoral Koreans like to litter.
Lastly, I really recommend students to study at ChungAng University. They have excellent teaching quality and satisfying facilities, such as the dormitory and fitness center. ChungAng University treats foreign students really well and really care for us. But I suggest that the students should at least learn Korean or at least know how to read. It will be quite hard if they completely do not understand. Since Korean does not speak English or Chinese well. Based on my experiences, Korean students will not actively approach us foreigners and say Hello, I am not sure if they were not welcoming or because of the language barrier (because they would not speak 6 English and only prefer to speak Korean). So, if I want to make more Korean friends, then I guess I should be active in approaching them or make friends with people that are willing to speak English or else it is really difficult to make Korean friends. But I recognize some Korean friends and they were very friendly! Because they were willing to learn and speak English even though their English is quite poor. I also learn some Korean from them. Later, I also figured out that Korean university students really study hard and competitive when it comes to exams. So, they will be very serious and busy before the exams. I learnt many new things and collect new knowledges. It will be better to first look through Korean culture and the living habits of Korean before studying there. It will be also better if you had some interests in Korea or else you may be not used to stay there for a period of time. It is such an amazing and unforgettable experience, such a waste that I could only stay there for 1 semester. If I still had the chance, I would wish to go there again for my Graduate School.
Once again, Thank You NTOU and Overseas International Association for giving me this precious chance as an ambassador of NTOU and also lending this valuable scholarship for me. I am very honored to be chosen. I hope my review can used as a short introduction for the next batch of exchange student. It will be even better if NTOU can cooperate with other Korean universities as well and expend to broader connections.