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Day-in-the-Life: Summer School in Seoul

Jessica Jha, ’23, is a Data Science major studying at Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea during the Summer Quarter 2022.

My first class begins at 9am, and luckily my accommodation is only a 2 minute walk to the train station. It takes about 30 minutes to get to campus and I have to take 2 trains to get there (it’s an easy transfer though). However, the rush hour is unlike anything I’ve experienced – I’ve seen pictures of people jam-packed in trains in India and Japan, but I didn’t know South Korea also had this. I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Koreans, expats, and international students, in a silent, clean subway car.  Once I finally make it out of the cramped train, huddling together like penguins down the crowded escalators and up out of the station, passing delicious smelling bakeries and clothing shops in the station. I stop by a convenience store to pick up something to eat before class, if I didn’t already pick something up from a street vendor before boarding the train.

Crowded train stations at 8am in the morning

I am not taking any core classes for my major, but rather courses for my minor, which is Behavioral Economics and Business. My first class of the day is Consumer Behavior, from 9am to 11:30am. All the classrooms have face shields and we are still required to wear masks in the classroom. My professor is very friendly and has a lot of experience in his field, and engages the class with case studies. 

I go to have lunch with some Drexel students or other students from my classes – sometimes we go to the cafeteria, sometimes to some places near campus. Cafeteria food is inexpensive and you get huge portions – this whole meal only cost me ₩3500 (Korean won, the local currency), which is $2.66. 

After lunch, I go to my Traditional Korean Fan Dance class, which is held inside the Information and Biotechnology Building from 1 – 3:30pm. I’m glad I had room to take a fun class that gets me up and moving. There are only 4 other STEM majors in my class, so I’m glad I get to talk with people I wouldn’t normally get to – Design majors, Dance majors, Communications, and more! Students from Guam, Indonesia, Jamaica, China, Puerto Rico,  Singapore, and America are the main students that make up this class. We have a performance in front of the entire HISS (Hanyang International Summer School) cohort on the last day. Here is a picture of us practicing in hanbok, a traditional Korean dress. 

After that I stop by a cafe before I go to my last class. My last class is Integrated Marketing Communications from 4pm – 7pm. This class is very heavy on group work, and I am the only American in my group – the others are from Indonesia, South Korea, and Singapore. It’s a long day of classes, but I like the structure it gives me! I get to have Fridays-Sundays to explore, so I have a good balance of work and fun. 

Depending on if I’m tired that day or have homework or if it’s raining, I would go back to my dorm room. But since I want to make the most of my stay here, a couple students and I try to either go out to eat or visit somewhere new after classes. One afternoon, we went to a Japanese ramen place and then went to a Dog Cafe to play with dogs of all shapes and sizes, and got to  try a Sweet Potato Latte. Another day, I was able to go to a traditional Korean Spa and Sauna in Insadong called a jjimjilbang to unwind after a long day of classes. The Spa owners were very kind to us, we came 30 minutes close to closing (typically 2-3 hours is spent there, sometimes more!) but since we were a group of 7 people, they gladly kept the place open for us and we had an impromptu private treatment with just our group, complete with complimentary drinks <3 . 

Cloud in the Sky Dog Cafe in Hongdae! There are many animal-themed cafes here.
Forgot to take pictures inside since my phone was in a locker the entire time… :’)

For homework or work related to Drexel (online class, e-board work for organizations, senior design prep) I like to go to either Hanyang’s library or study cafes! I’ve never seen a study cafe before I came to South Korea, but they have a very nice atmosphere and private study stations. You are charged by how much time you stay there though, but it came out to less than $1 an hour. 

My days are busy, but I am almost done! Since this is an intensive program, it’s shorter than a term at Drexel. I’m staying for a little while longer after my classes end to explore more of Seoul and South Korea, so it will be nice to have my daytimes free – it will be weird having free-time during the day when the program is over xD 

Thanks for reading!

A Message from the Office of Global Engagement:

The safety and security of Drexel students is a priority for the University. As part of the efforts to support Drexel students that are studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Global Engagement has conducted a rigorous review of programming and provided additional support to participating students with customized pre-departure orientations and regular check-ins during the required self-isolation period and the term.

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