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International Exchange

Getting started in Korea

11 September 2017

Hi everyone, I’m Nick, I am doing Mechanical Engineering in Cardiff and I decided it is a great idea to spend half of the year in the extended range of North Korean artillery.

So far, it is great, even though a nuclear trial triggered some F-17s and fully armed choppers flying over the campus at least a few times a day. To be fair, I never had an experience like that, so it is quite exciting.

Apart from that, life is great, if significantly hot and humid. Every glass door at the university proudly reads that it is one of the best S&T Universities in the world, and it really is the feeling you get around the campus, with home-baked electric buses driving people around, experimental cars in the parking lots and a real proliferation of recruiters from all the major tech companies.

Apart from Google. Google is not great in Korea, maps do not work at all, the government says it is because of the data protection, but nobody believes. As a result, if you ever find yourself in Korea, download Kakao Maps when at the airport. Alternatively, as one of my friends said at a Smart Cities lecture: To really know a city, you have to get lost in it. Well, I don’t know if Incheon counts as a city,  but I feel a bit enlightened.

Finally, the social life. There are few lectures on Fridays, which makes for a 3-day weekend. You can probably imagine what it means for a student bunch. Another advantage is, that drinking on Fridays is an actual tradition in Korea, called Pojangmacha. It was also the first cultural event we were invited to by the International Students Organisation (locals, who want to get to know other cultures). I got closely acquainted with soju- a mid-strength, cheap alcohol that should be drank mixed with beer. And it comes with food. Most of it is very palatable, if slightly spicy, but at some point, we were served a raw octopus. A MOVING raw octopus. Thanks, no doubt, to exuberant amount of soju, I have tried some. It is nothing special, slightly wiry.

On that positive note I am going to finish this blog post and hope I come up with an idea for a new one sooner rather than later. Ciao 🙂