Ik moest een verslagje schrijven voor de KU, dacht als ik het dan toch moet schrijven dan gooi ik het ook maar meteen op de site. Ja toch?!

Het was niet voor een cijfer dus even snel kladje gemaakt…

Draft Report by Sam Gertsen

Student ID: 2009950***

Keywords: Korea, exchange student, report, Korea UniversityMy life at Korea University.


Korea University is considered to be one of the top 3 universities in Korea. This is something which became obvious when I started my study at KoDae 2 months ago.

Korea University has superior facilities, great English speaking professors and a wide variety of international students. This creates a dynamic atmosphere where a lot of interaction happens between the students, professors and people from different nationalities and cultures.

Presence in class is considered very important. In the Netherlands presence is also recommended however an active social life at student associations and extra work experience is regarded as equally important. Therefore I had to adapt to the fact that I have to be present in all classes. As an international student I want to make some trips to for example Japan, China etc. This sometimes conflicted with the presence in class. However most professors are very kind and offer me the opportunity to experience North East Asia to the fullest.

I joined the division of international studies soccer team. We already won a match against another faculty. This offered me the opportunity to become active in sports activities quite easily. I met a lot of Korean friend and we learn a lot from each other.

The cultural exchange is one of the most important factors of studying abroad. In class I gave presentations about Dutch companies, trade between The Netherlands and Korea. Afterwards we always had various interesting discussions. I think it is from upmost importance that interaction in class happens. I think most Korean students are quite shy to tell their opinion in class, however when discussion started the students gave some very intelligent and interesting insights. I think active participation in class can be improved. Some professors for example Youn-Min from DIS is very good in opening up a discussion.

I opted to execute the following courses:
– Advertising Management from P.Boyle; we watch Youtube videos and start discussing about the various concepts of marketing in that particular video. I think this is a very practical and attractive way to learn about the concepts of advertising.
– Korean trade policies: I chose this course because I’m interested in working in the international business profession, besides the Netherlands trades a lot with South Korea.
– Korean economies in a globalized world: Taught by professor H.Moon, it is very interesting to listen to this professor. He tells us a lot about how Korea could achieve such an economic growth in such a small amount of time. H.Moon has got a lot of experience gained all over the world and this makes his classes even more interesting. This is my favorite professor.
-Leadership and communication skills: Professor Youn-Min tries to enhance our competences in the field of leadership, writing resumes, presentations and discussion. I already had some similar classes in the Netherlands.
-Management of innovation and technology: In this class dynamic and popular markets such as the telephone market, internet market and all other markets are analyzed. We had to deliver two assignments on a Harvard Business Case; we have done two quizzes, 1 mid term and two presentations so far. This is the most intensive course of all five.

Overall I regard my stay at Korea University Business School and Korea University’s Division of International studies as highly valuable for the rest of my life. I think the new established exchange contract between The Vrije University of Amsterdam and the Korea University is very useful for students of both institutions. I would recommend Korean students to come and study at my home university, because ‘Koreans’ and ‘Dutchies’ have got a lot in common but can also learn from each other.


My life in Korea:


Me and two Dutch fellow students have arranged an apartment in Yongsan-gu. This was the first thing we did when we were in South Korea. It surprised me that we could arrange an apartment in such a short amount of time. I think this typifies Koreans, their thoroughness made them succeed to build a strong economy and substantial social welfare. In Amsterdam it would probably take 3 months to arrange an apartment!

It has become clear to me that a lot of Koreans still live with their parents. In Holland when students are 19 years they are going to live on their own to learn how to deal with several issues such as dealing with money, making friends on your own, cooking, washing and become independent. I must admit that I did not want to go in the dormitory of Korea University. There are too many rules and I do not like to share my room with another person. Firstly I though this would put a barrier on the contact with international students. However this was wrong after 2 months I have a lot of friends. Most of them are Koreans.

The Korean people are most of the time very kind to help foreigners and like to talk, however sometimes their level of English is a barrier in the communication. Of course I am the first to admit that everybody is geared towards learning the English language.

As a foreigner I want to experience Korea the way it is. Therefore we spend a lot of time to be in the city, go to museums and go to a jimjilbang, noraebang or galbi barbeque. This poses a problem that you constantly feel very busy and get a lot of impulses. However I can truly say that I know a lot more about Korea and its culture then before.

Korea is a country with a lot of rules and traditions; I think this can be a barrier in international trade. For example when I am having dinner and I poor myself a drink, my Korean counterpart will feel offended. However I think that traditions such as showing respect to elderly people are very important.

The Korean food I like very much, in the beginning I had difficulties to adapt to the level of spiciness but after a while I got used to it. I miss some Dutch cheese in Korea and having a breakfast with some bread and yoghurt. But nowadays we have found a Korean entrepreneur which has its own coffee company which can provide us some bread.

Before I went to Korea I had not many expectations about how life in Korea would look like. I think throughout the years people in Western Europe did not recognize the tremendous growth of Korea and North East Asian countries. Therefore not much is known about these countries. Gradually we are learning more and more about Asia and for my exams at high school I had to learn about the Korean War. My thesis on high school was about ‘how to execute’ outsourcing to China.  This was how I became interested in Asian and especially Korean culture. Now that I am here I am really surprised about the metropolitan area of Seoul. The Subway system is one of the most efficient subway systems in the world, everywhere I can get money from an ATM machine and a taxi drive is very cheap. Also the hard working mentality of Koreans and the eagerness to improve is one of the core assets of the Korean economy. As I learn more and more during my stay here I became very surprised by the economic development of Asian countries.

I regret it that it is hard for me to get a job here; I would like to work in a bar or for another company. It opposes too much difficulty with insurance and visa. However I am still capable to work for an internet business in the Netherland because Korea’s internet accessibility is considerably good. However some of my fellow students have a hard time in earning money over here.

It is stimulated to work for a Chaebol in Korea. The power of the Chaebols can be seen everywhere. In our apartment, the doors are from LG, our shower is from Hyundai, the steel is probably from Posco and we have a Samsung Airconditioner. First I thought the Chaebols had too much influence but Chaebols do a lot for Korean society. Besides at our class Korean Economy we learned how the Chaebols played an important role in the development of Korea after the Korean War and after the Korean financial crisis of 1997.

To conclude I would like to point out that the Korean focus on globalization envisioned by president Lee Myun Bak is a very ambitious and good vision. Korea had been very good role figure for developing countries however nowadays Koreans have to be aware of their competences to engage in global trade and converging cultures. I think the Netherlands can learn a lot from Korea but also the other way around and therefore interaction and trade between both countries should be enhanced.

Kind regards,

Sam Gertsen

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