The stress and constant workload of midterms has finally ended here in Seoul. After a hectic week of exploring during the Chuseok Holiday (Korean Thanksgiving.) Myself and other students were quickly plunged back into the responsibilities of a student, including papers, group projects and a quickly approaching midterm schedule! The academic side of my stay in Seoul has been not too overwhelming and fairly comparable to my workload back at Temple. The only difference is during my stay here I feel very compelled to explore and find myself engaging myself in responsibilities that clash with my classes (ex. visiting cultural sites and travelling.) With this in mind it is extremely important to manage the balance between work and your studies.
I have a full 15 credit course-load here consisting of 5 classes. This has allowed me to continue fulfilling my fly-in-four obligations. Graduating in four years was a big emphasis for me and with this in mind, any possibility for studying abroad needed to allow me to stay on schedule. Luckily, with ample courses to choose from Yonsei University provided me multiple options for classes to take and Temple’s supportive staff helped me along the way. All of my courses are taught in English with my gen-eds/electives consisting of mostly other international students. However, my business classes have a majority of local Korean students with only a handful of students on exchange. This set up has allowed me to befriend many people from various backgrounds, from both Korea and abroad!
Of course, one of the most important aspects of class while abroad has to be understanding when you have class and when to pursue absences in order to explore once in a lifetime opportunities. My class schedule if pretty ideal to my situation, since I have a fairly condensed chunk of time when my classes are, which allows me to pursue whatever I please during the rest of my day. Additionally, I only have one class on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays! Luckily my professors allow for a fairly liberal attendance policy, in which I can miss three classes without penalty. I have only utilized one absence in two classes throughout my entire stay so far, so it is not so difficult to fit in travelling despite the fact that I am managing a full course load.
The most stressful of academic life so far has definitely been the midterm period, especially after such a relaxing holiday and such a short study week. I had it easier than some of my friends with no midterms on the same day and most of my work consisting of papers. I found it hard to get back into the rhythm of consistent studying since so much of my time here has been about experiencing the culture and landscape of Korea as opposed to devoting my time to my studies. However, as the pressure of midterms got closer and I sequentially completed my assignments, it became easy once again to slip into the cycle of work. I think the most important aspect of managing the two sides of studying abroad is that you need to realize how essential your classes/grades are to your future and the fact that it is an extended stay, so say that even if you can’t pursue a trip with your friends you could always go by yourself at a future date.
In my next post I hope to return to the more enjoyable aspects of studying abroad, including my travels during holiday and visiting various tourist attractions in South Korea! See you next time!