“…there is no experience similar to this and you will get the chance to do things that you have never done in your life before!”
About Kangwon National University
Kangwon National University (KNU) was founded as a provincial agricultural college in 1947 and transformed into a state university in 1978. KNU is among the top 30 best educational institutions in South Korea and is one of the 10 core national universities across the country.
Kangwon National University is a jewel of Chuncheon, where the university constructed its campus. The university manages to secure high ranks in the national ratings of South Korea every year. It has steadily expanded encompassing a full spectrum of academic fields, comprising 19 colleges with 93 departments and 5 graduate schools. It also offers a special Korean language program from the Division of Language Education designed especially for non-native speakers and foreigners.
KNU has one of the largest number of students among universities in Korea – with over 38,000 enrolled students and about 1,600 academic and faculty staffs. It has a solid network of 281 partner universities in 58 countries around the world. KNU is operating academic courses as well as a variety of international programs including exchange students, dual degree, language study abroad, summer programs, etc. every year to provide full support towards the training of future talents with global senses and communication skills.
An exchange student for a semester at Kwangwon National University in Korea
My name is Thanapa Prommeechai or you can call me ‘Beam’. I am in my final year as an Economics student at the EEBA program in Kasetsart University. I applied for a scholarship from KU to be an exchange student at Kwangwon National University in South Korea. There are several reasons why I chose to study in South Korea. Firstly, I had been to Korea before as a tourist but only for a few days. I was only able to experience Korea and its culture and language roughly. I realized that staying in Korea for just a few days was not enough so I jumped at the opportunity with assistance from KU and ECIA to study abroad.
How did you adjust to your life in Korea?
My life in Korea was not as simple because I had to adjust myself not only for the new environment but also because I was an exchange student during the pandemic. Most of my activities and routines had to be changed to be appropriated for the new regulation. In general though, I had a lot of fun while I was studying there. Kwangwon National University offered trips to travel in several parts of Korea such as Busan, Seoul and Chuncheon. I had a lot of impressive moments for my exchange year and I was able to do things I’ve never done before. It was definitely a memorable time!
As a student at Kwangwon National University…
Because of the Covid-19, the university has adjusted their regulations to avoid all risky situations to protect their students from getting infected. The classes there also turned into an online system. The professors would teach the students though Zoom classes. The courses from KNU are useful and practical. For example, one of them was about a South-East Asian comic teaching everyone how to protect themselves from Covid-19. The professor in this class desires the students to discuss the topic with their own perspectives. I was very interested and I actively participated in our discussions and shared my ideas with the other students.
Was Korea very different from Thailand?
Yes, the lifestyle in Korea is different from Thailand. Most of the Korean people are well-behaved under the government laws. For example, they are tidy to separate the trash before throwing it out to make it easy to recycle and organize. On the other hand, Thai people aren’t very familiar with the proper sorting of waste and recycling.
Also, Korean people are strict about the time of appointment. They are never late, which is a contradiction to Thai people because I know and we all are aware that Thais are usually late.
What are some of the experiences you’d like to share with us?
I have met a lot of new friends from different countries. There are many activities outside class for students to do, for example, the club activities. I have learnt about the Korean culture from my native friends.
Also, I joined the club activities where I got the chance to do things that I’ve never done before. For example, there is a calligraphy class that teaches students to draw the Korean alphabet into an art figure.
Moreover, I have been traveling to many places in Korea which are Busan, Seoul, and other cities on the university’s budget because they wanted us to find new experiences. There is also a free Korean class for us to study the basic lessons and daily conversations. It is significantly useful for international students.
These are just some of the positive experiences that I have gained from being an exchange student in Kwangwon National University.
Why do you think your fellow students should participate in an exchange program opportunity?
My answer to that is because it’s not everyday that people would be able to go abroad and get the chance to experience an overseas country’s cultures often. So, if you have a chance to go as a student, I would definitely suggest that you do it because there is no experience similar to this and you will get the chance to do things that you have never done in your life before. I think it is worth having these types of memorable experiences at least once in your lifetime!