My Study Abroad Experience

Alana visits a traditional South Korean village with friends

Alana Parker chose to spend a year abroad in South Korea. She shares her experience so far.

“I’m often asked why I chose South Korea to be my destination for a study exchange, and I never really know how to answer! I believe I wanted to experience an entirely opposite and new culture to my own; and that is what I got. Assimilating into a new culture was a scary experience, but the rewards have been wonderful. As one of many exchange students studying at Korea University, I not only met many kind and welcoming Koreans, but also people from all over the world, from the US, to Sweden and France. Making friends from such diverse backgrounds really opens you up to the world and broadens your horizons.

As a Sociology student, it was interesting to soak up this new culture and learn how different societal values work to produce different hierarchies, norms, food and drinking cultures and so on. As a high culture and a collectivist society, there are many visible differences. Importance is placed on small gestures such as bowing, and also on status as respect is expected to be given to those older than or of a higher status than you. Alongside learning about Korean culture and language, I chose North Korean Human Rights and the History of the workers party to study which have proven to be incredibly interesting subjects. My experience in South Korea so far has been amazing. The things I have learnt and the experiences I have had have been invaluable. I highly recommend anyone who is considering a study abroad experience to take the plunge!”

You can see some of Alana’s pictures from here. If you are studying at Northumbria University, and are interested in study abroad schemes, you can find out more information on our dedicated webpages here.