Lovel Lee, ’25, is a Graphic Design major studying at Hanyang University this Summer 2023.
Going to Korea was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. Korea is full of kind people and a place where I felt comfortable exploring. I would never think about venturing out alone near midnight in Philly but in Korea, staying out this long was not much of a concern. Although with foreign fashion and a tanner complexion, I did stick out to a certain extent and found myself on rare occasions attracting unwanted attention. However, I never really felt severely threatened or questioned my safety.
In addition to safety, Korea’s healthcare system is wonderful to take advantage of. During the last couple of days, I decided to go to the dentist and skincare clinic. Hours before heading to the airport I decided to walk into a skincare clinic and I got a couple of moles removed by a laser. The procedure was really quick and cheap. It was 20,000 won per mole which is around $30 usd for two moles. At the dentist, I removed some glue leftover from my wisdom teeth removal back in the States. I also walked into the dentist an hour before closing and got it done for around $24.
One thing that I believe worked to my advantage is the ability to speak Korean. As a Korean American who grew up in a Korean-speaking household, I was able to speak fluently with employees. I realized how much this skill could open opportunities up. Whether it be asking for help, getting a refund, or requests that would generally be denied, being able to speak Korean could really be a helpful tool. I felt really blessed to be able to communicate in this way with the people around me and would encourage people if they can to learn Korean before going.
Another thing I loved about Korea was how cheap everything is. Just like the healthcare, everything is relatively cheap compared to the states. The conversion rate makes your money go farther. The payment system is also easy because there is no tipping. The price tag is usually exactly what you pay.
There’s so much to do in Korea. I would recommend visiting Jeju, Busan, Everland, Lotte World, Wolmido, and Gyungbokgung Palace. Going to the spa in the Starfield mall and getting your hair done at Juno Hair is also a wonderful way to treat yourself. Other things I would do is go to Hongdae and Myeongdong for shopping and food. The location of this program is so accessible and honestly a month felt too short. Every day I was outside exploring and not one moment felt boring.
Hanyang University also had so many fun classes. I think Hanyang really made the courses enjoyable and the scheduling was perfect because Fridays had no classes and there’s enough time between classes for food and socializing. The first week also had a couple days before the actual start of the program which allowed us to ease into the program without stress. The courses also had teachers that I felt were a perfect fit and passionate about what they were teaching. I definitely think Korea should be on everyone’s bucket list for studying abroad. It was a surreal experience that I am so thankful to have had.