Category : International Students
Dec 08, 2014
Finally exams were over, and I was officially on vacations again. Now, it was time to enjoy! As you will realize when you spend your freshman year in SNU or any other Korean university, Summer and Winter vacations tend to be really long in Korea (About 3 months). For this reason, it is a good idea that you decide what you really want to do on your vacations, months before they actually start. Let me tell you why. As you will realize later on, most international students and Korean students whose hometown is not Seoul go back home by the end of every semester. This means that if you want to do the same as them, you must either save money in advance- or define, before all your friends go back home, what you want to do on your vacations. Otherwise, it will be more difficult for you to enjoy your vacations. In this entry Ill share with you some of the things I did during my last Summer/Winter vacations and how I managed to stay busy when most of my foreign and Korean friends were gone.
Although most international students who back home during summer/winter vacations because they find it boring to stay here, there are dozens of things that you can do to actually enjoy- your vacations in Korea. In my case, my first summer vacation in Korea was one of the busiest periods of the year. I was working for KBS on the weekends and given that I couldnt really practice any sport during the semester, I decide to apply to some summer sport courses in SNU to keep myself busy (Remember that not- being busy is homesicknesss best friend.) At the same time, I heard from some of my friends at school that several conferences and useful short courses are given specially during the vacation period so that students can work on improving certain areas that they might not be too good at. Some of these courses range from English writing, Mathematics, Languages, to advanced topics in Engineering and others, and are available to all students for free. This was a great! I decided to attend most of them, and so you would see me always looking for information about these events and attending as many as I could. My other vacations were pretty similar in the sense that I always try to attend conferences and short courses on my vacations, but I have also tried other things that helped me to really enjoy my vacations. Let me give you some ideas of some things that you can do too:
1. Traveling around Korea
Although you can also do this on your winter vacations, traveling around Korea is better during summer. If you havent been around a lot, and you want to learn more about Korea this is a great opportunity for you! Get some friend to travel with you and visit some nice place in Korea like Busan, Jeju, Daegu, etc. Im sure youll have a lot of fun.
2. Getting a part-time job
Although you will hear that its illegal to get a part-time job in Korea from some other international students, this is NOT true. The Korea Government has established an special process that you can follow in order to get some extra-permission to get a part-time job while you are attending college in Korea. My advice: Go to the international office in your university and get more information about the application process that you must follow in order to get a part-time job. Youll be impressed when you see how easy it is. It doesnt matter whether you are on a scholarship or not, this is something you should definitely try before graduation!
3. Taking vacations courses
Although this changes from place to place, in SNU, most of the students who stay around the campus on their vacations love taking summer/winter courses. Actually many international students do this too. Why? I believe that taking courses during your summer/winter vacations might not be too exciting but can help you a lot lower the pressure during the semester and can help you graduate sooner. Nonetheless, I must warn you that most of the courses offered during summer/winter vacations are harder than the ones you can take during the semester, basically because you are supposed to learn in about one month what usually is taught in three. So, think about it! Maybe taking that course that you want during the semester is a better option for you!
4. Preparing for your next semester
This depends actually depends a lot on what you are majoring, but if you are majoring on Engineering at SNU, youd better consider preparing for your next semester on your vacations. Why? This is what most students who get A+s do when you dont see them around. So, if you have a lot of free time and you dont know what to do, get yourself a copy of the book youll study next semester and read it! Believe me; this will improve your scores throughout the semester magically.
5. Making new friends
Your vacations in Korea dont have to be only about studying. Take advantage of this new free time you have and join a student club or association in or outside school and make some new friends. Youll never regret about!
6. Going back home
Finally, if you dont feel comfortable with any of the previous suggestions I made, going back home may be the best thing for you to do. Get yourself some information about the airfares to your country beforehand and start saving money! It is for sure that youll enjoy going back to see all the people you love. 

Sergio Flores