My Study Abroad Experience in South Korea

During the June/July semester break from the 26th June 2017 to 9th July, I received the opportunity to take part in the Environmental and Sustainability Tour in South Korea as part of the subject POL3ESC. This subject was created in collaboration with La Trobe University’s Department of Politics and Philosophy, CERES Global and La Trobe Study Abroad. Students were selected on a competitive basis based on their CV, academic results and a short letter on the reasons why we would like to take part in this tour.

The tour was mainly based in the capital city of South Korea, Seoul. I stayed in Seoul for 12 days at the Hotel Skypark Dongdaemun 1 and spent two days in Busan. The objective of the tour was to learn the key environmental and sustainability issues in South Korea. 

The tour group engaged in a number of local host organisations in Seoul who provided the opportunity for us to learn through hands-on experience. Some of these organisations include:

  • Hansalim: The world’s largest organic food cooperative
  • Seoul Green Trust
  • Australia Chambers of Commerce
  • Yonsei University
  • Institute for Far Eastern Studies
  • Yangpyeong District Office

We also had the chance to visit the countryside and several tourist attractions such as:

  • Seoullo
  • Gwangjang market
  • Dongdaemun History and Culture Park
  • Seoul World Cup Stadium
  • Seoul Museum of History
  • Insadong night market
  • Namdaemun
  • Seoul Museum of History
  • DMZ tour (To see the border of North Korea)

Some things were challenging such as navigating Seoul and Busan, understanding the Korean language, keeping up with the class, surviving the flu and walking long distances especially in the humid weather. However, the Koreans were really friendly and willing to help if you needed it.

During my time there, I tried many Korean cuisines such as bibimbap, gimbap, kimchi, blood sausage and much more. Their food was spicy but, I slowly got used to it.

Overall, South Korea was an amazing place to visit and I never thought that I would be lucky enough to experience the beautiful country as a part of my university studies.  

Stephanie Yu is a third-year Commerce student at La Trobe University. She loves to travel and has been to Shanghai, China and Seoul, South Korea as part of the La Trobe University’s short study programs. She enjoys cooking, music and badminton in her free time. She is also currently the Director of Careers of the La Trobe Commerce Student Association (CSA) and an intern at the Adecco group.