Getting classes pre-approved before departure is a headache, but registering for them is a migraine. Class registration at SNU is different and there are a few things that you should keep in mind to ensure that you will be getting the classes that you want. The time ticket for registering is a bit odd. The ticket will be opened on a certain day at the certain time and will be closed by the end of the day. Thus a ticket will not be opened for more than 12 hours every time it’s opened. You will have to wait for the next day when it’s opened if you want to make any changes. Also, some classes (mainly business classes) are only opened on a certain day for a few hours so if you want to take those, make sure you know the exact time that they would be opened for registration.
The number of seats in a class is divided into two: half are for students with student ID ending in an odd number, and half are for even numbers. This means that you would have a higher chance of getting into the class that you want. However, Korea has super fast internet and the students will camp out for the classes so gather some magical powers and get ready for a bloody battle.
If you fail to get into the classes that you want, don’t worry too much as exchange students are given the override privilege where we can simply ask the professor to sign a form at the end of the first class and you can just turn that paper in to get placed into the class. However, make sure that you send an email to the professor before hand and explain your situation as some professors might not take too many override forms. Also, during the add/drop period, check to see if students have dropped the class in addition to using the override form. Students at SNU will register for more than what they need and will drop the ones they don’t like after the first class. I got into two of my classes this way and ended up not using the override form.
I took four classes at SNU: one major, and three electives. Major classes are required by the school for the specific majors, and they are a lot harder compared to the electives. So if you want to have a easy semester and to travel around more, try to take all electives. They are more interesting, and the amount of work required is a lot less. I have friends who took all major classes, and all they did was complaining about the assignments that they have to do for their classes.
Below are my opinions on the four classes that I took. I hope you will find them useful.
- Corporate Strategy (approved for MGMT 450): A difficult class but very fun. You will learn a lot. Each week, you will be studying an HBR case being presented by one of the teams. Then at the end, you have a big project where you have to get in touch and interview a manager at a firm. Though you might feel that there’s a lot of work for this class as there are two team projects on top of the weekly case study paper, it’s a very neat class. I would definitely recommend.
- Introduction to Korean Musical Culture (approved for MUSC T180): Traditional Korean music is a very cool class. You will be learning about traditional music, not pop. Do not register for this class thinking that you would be learning about Kpop… Anyways, this might be the most boring class that you’ve ever taken in your life. You will be sitting in the auditorium without your electronics and listening to the professor who would talk nonstop for 3 hours straight. Sometimes, the class gets a little interesting but only when there are performers. Despite it being an elective class and a music class at that, this class requires a lot of time and effort. There are a total of 5 papers that you would have to write (7 if you count the two essays that you have to prepare for the 2 exams), and 1 of them requires you attending a show. This class will take up a lot of your time and you will not learn much. You will be spending time learning Korean terms that you will not use outside of class as all of the music terms will be in Korean. If you can take another class, I would recommend you not taking this class.
- Two Koreas: Modern Korean History and Society (approved for HIST T280): Honestly, this was supposed to be a very interesting class as you would be learning about the history of the two Koreas. Unfortunately, the professor was underperforming and turned the class into a joke. I learned more from the TA and the class discussions than from the professor herself. However, this class was an easy A. There’s a midterm quiz (15 mins), a short presentation, and a final paper. Despite the class being subpar, you will learn quite a bit about the development of the two Koreas after the war. The class discussions are also very interesting.
- Modern Korean Fiction (approved for ENGL 325): Very cool class. Despite it being a morning class, and myself not being a morning person, I enjoyed this class very much. We basically read a short story every week and come into class to discuss the short story and its relevant to the history of Korea. You will learn a lot about Korean history in this class as well as being able to read famous Korean novels. However, do not get tricked by the word “modern” and think that you will be reading love stories with the Korean drama feels to them. No. Not at all. This class is about Korean history, and you will love it. I would definitely recommend.
When making your class schedule, be sure to give yourself plenty of free time as you will regret it if you have to spend most of your time in Korea working on assignments and/or going to class. You will be joining SNU Buddy, and they have so many events that will keep you busy. And you will also want to do independent travel either by yourself or with a group of friends. So do not feel like you have to fill up your schedule with classes because you’re afraid that you would not have anything to do. Trust me, you will be busy!