I have always been fascinated by Korea so I jumped at the chance to be among the first GCU students to visit the country at a summer school at Hansung University.
I have been teaching myself the language for a few years but, having only been abroad once before – to Spain on holiday – it was daunting to consider travelling there alone. So, having the opportunity to study in Seoul as part of an international student group and really immerse myself in Korean culture with the support of GCU and a dedicated team at Hansung, as well as readymade travelling companions, was amazing.
I came to GCU as a direct entry student in third year from City of Glasgow College and was thrilled within a few months of arriving to be selected to go to Seoul and to receive a £1000 Sir Alex Ferguson Mobility Award to help fund the trip.
As well as studying the country’s politics, history and language and learning about its culture and arts, we travelled extensively. One of the most fascinating trips was a visit to the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea, the most heavily armed border in the world. There were tourists everywhere, yet there is still technically a war going on with the ‘hermit country’. We also visited Gyeongju, which was the capital of the Silla kingdom for 1000 years, and historic sites such as temples and tombs. We also took in a baseball game – the sport is huge there – and were credited with breaking the home team’s losing streak! I also loved trying all the incredible food and spending my free time exploring the city.
As I haven’t travelled extensively at all, I was worried about the challenge of going halfway around the world but it has given me confidence and experience. I would recommend Hansung to everyone; it’s packed with experiences and opportunities. It will be the busiest month of your life. Korea has so much to experience. It’s friendly and welcoming and Seoul is a huge, crammed city that never sleeps. I loved it and am eager to return. I feel like a completely different person.