Can we really say that studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea in the spring is the best thing ever? Let’s see if we can convince you with the top five reasons to spend your spring semester in one of the world’s most dynamic capital cities.
1. View the infamous cherry blossoms.
Escape a gray, dull winter and replace it with color and life. Since spring semesters usually begin in late February or early March, so study abroad students can miss out on the snow and skip right into spring (it is called the spring semester after all). Spring in Seoul is most famous for its beautiful cherry blossom trees, so you’ll feel inspired every day to get some fresh air and explore the city. Imagine all the likes you’ll get on your Instagram photos while studying abroad in Seoul!
2. Join new student organizations.
Unlike many other countries, the spring semester is the beginning of the academic year in South Korea. That means you won’t be the only newbie in town. There will be plenty of welcoming activities and student organizations looking for new members no matter what university or study abroad program in Seoul you choose.
When could it be a better time to join the Cat Video Lovers club? Okay, there is no guarantee that there is a Cat Video Lovers club, but there should be a student organization for you. Some real examples are an educational service club that is part of UNESCO, game clubs that play traditional Asian games like Baduk, and even a ping pong club that can be joined. Or you could consider joining an International Relations Group, and you might just be able to enjoy visits from world leaders, including President Barack Obama!
3. Attend student festivals.
Pretty much all universities in Seoul organize student festivals at the start of the spring semester. They’re typically free and open to students from any university. These parties are a great way to meet new people and explore different parts of the city. There is usually a concert and other games and activities that go along with each festival. What better way is there to start off your semester abroad than being surrounded by hundreds of new friends?
4. Avoid FOMO.
You can’t have too much fear of missing out if you skip one spring semester at your home university. You won’t miss the start of the school year or the winter holidays in your home country, plus everyone is going to want to come visit you in Seoul during spring break. The official Korea Tourism website has some great information about spring festivals in Seoul (and other cities in Korea), including the Lotus Lantern Festival and the Seoul International Marathon. Better start training now!
5. Discover the truth about Seoul.
There are numerous misconceptions about life is Seoul, but it turns out that not everything is as expensive as you might have heard. Lunch prices are quite reasonable, in fact, so you might miss your mother’s home cooking, but won’t go hungry with so many tasty meals available on every block.
In a city with so much technology and innovation (this common assumption happens to be true), it should come as no surprise that e-sports and videogames are a thing in Seoul. You can play or cheer on the pros, just like in any other sport, while studying abroad in Seoul. Seoul was even the host of the e-Sports World Championship in 2015, so there are gamers galore.
Ever dreamed of becoming a superstar? The K-pop music industry might be able to give you your first big gig, if you get lucky enough to be offered a paid role as a background actor in a K-pop music video; they just might want some international people in the video (but seriously, it has happened before).
Seoul is so much more than the Gangham Style music video that we were all obsessed with in 2012. Many people forget that Seoul is located right next to the mountains, allowing students to get out of the city using only the metro and enjoy some hiking during free time.
You’ll get all the joys of culture shock that you would get studying anywhere in Asia, but if you study abroad in Seoul specifically, you’ll still get the high-quality education and social services, like healthcare, that you expect from home.
So, what are you waiting for? Fill out an application and study abroad in Seoul next spring!
This article was contributed by Asia Exchange, a study abroad provider based in Finland that partners with leading Asian universities to organize affordable study abroad programs. Students from around the world can spend a semester or more abroad in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, or Thailand with Asia Exchange and take courses in English at top universities.