Just a few days before the start of the lectures, all exchange students were invited to go to the Orientation Day. This event took place on the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus in Seoul but luckily the university provided some shuttle buses for student’s from Suwon. After the one hour bus ride through Seoul and some interesting conversations with other exchange students we finally arrived at the Seoul campus.
First, we had to pick up our welcome package consisting of our name tag and some papers we will have to fill out during the semester. In the presentation that followed we received general information about the university, for example that Sungkyunkwan University is one of the oldest in Asia and that many of the people on the Korean banknotes had some relationship to the Sungkyunkwan University. They also informed us about the next steps we have to take regarding immigration and our studies. So basically all the information that is necessary to get settled.
For the campus tour all of the students were divided into a few groups. We had to wait some time until our group could start the tour, which left me some time to talk to other students in my group and to get to know my Korean buddy. Every exchange has a Korean buddy who will provide some help in case of problems or if you just have some questions. During the tour my buddy even provided me with some additional information about the buildings on the campus. However, as all of my lectures are on the Suwon campus, I probably won’t be spending much time on the Seoul campus.
After the reception, where we had some snacks, we went to a nearby Korean pub. We had to pay 15,000₩ as entry fee which covered all the drinks and the food we got there. As we were the last group the entire pub was already packed and it took us some time to find some free seats. I was lucky to sit right next to a Korean girl that shared some insight about the Korean drinking culture and also taught us some drinking games. For the most part the atmosphere was really nice, however because about 180 (or more) people were in the pub it was really noisy and communication was only possible through screaming. Nevertheless, it was nice to meet some exchange students from the Seoul campus, although I will most likely not see them again.
At around 22:30 I left the pub with a group of students from Suwon to get on the last subway back to Suwon. After the one hour-long ride we all arrived safely without taking the wrong subway. All in all, the Orientation Day was perfect to get know other exchange students also eager to explore South Korea. A few of us already made plans for a trip to Nami Island the next day. But I will cover this in one of my next posts.