This week was my first week at CAU.
Where to start! All of my classes have been going very well. Sunday night, I met my roommate. She’s a Korean girl named Minjy in her fourth year at CAU, and is majoring in Business. We have been getting along really well 🙂 I’m so happy I got a roommate that I really click with.
Monday morning, I went to my first class, Promotion Management. Although I’m majoring in Global Studies, I thought it would be still useful to take the odd business course, as many of the skills are still very transferable, especially in the public/governmental sector. It turns out Minjy is also in that class with me, which is really cool.
After Promo MGMT, I had Theory of Visual Communication. Basically, the point of that class is to learn how to effectively communicate with visuals, and to learn why visual communication is often more effective than verbal in terms of making a message “stick”. I took it because I’m interested in graphic design, but it’s not very useful for my degree so I may drop it (as I’m already enrolled in four courses, plus two grad school courses).
That night, we went out and drank.
Tuesday I had Project Management, the class I had most been looking forward to! I was a little worried upon arriving though, as I was the only person in the classroom and I was only five minutes early. I double-checked the schedule for the room outside the door, and it turned out I was in the right place. Finally, another exchange student I knew walked in, and we both became worried. Someone earlier had told me they wanted to register in the course, but the online system said it was full… What was going on?? Finally, one more exchange student showed up and we were all feeling pretty confused.. At this point, it was 10 minutes after class was supposed to start. At 15 minutes past, the prof walked in, apologizing for his lateness. According to him, no Korean students enrolled in the course; there were only four students total and all were international students.
The prof had a really interesting background as he’d worked for the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and a variety of other international firms around the world. His English was quite good too, and the lesson was very easy to follow. I think this will be my favourite class this semester!
That night, we went out and drank. And had Korean BBQ. I, the vegetarian still struggling with the communal meat-eating concept here in Korea, ordered a pajeon (fried Korean pancake) to eat/share. Of course, lots of beer and soju to wash it down.
Wednesday morning I had my “Korean Language Placement Test” along with all the other international students. It basically consisted of a personal interview-type portion at the beginning (“Why did you come to Korea?”, “Why do you think learning Korean will be useful?”, etc) followed by some grammar questions afterwards. For those of us who can’t read Hangul (Korean characters), we just had to leave it blank!
Later that night, one of the Korean “Global Ambassadors” (CAU domestic students who’d applied to help out exchange students throughout the semester) had her birthday party on the steps by the Dragon Pond at CAU. Now, public drinking is 100% legal in Korea, and one can easily buy cheap beers and soju (Korean hard liquor) at one of the many convenience stores scattered around the streets. It was a lot of fun!
Thursday/yesterday, I had International Relations of Northeast Asia. It was a cool class, but I was one of the unlucky students who got selected randomly to make an individual presentation the following week on a specific IR concept. I chose Collectivism, falsely mistaking it for another theory I thought I knew 100%. Thankfully, I found some good resources online so it won’t be a big deal.
Later Thursday, a bunch of the international students went to a baseball game in downtown Seoul; next to the Olympic stadium. Doosan, the corporation that sponsors our school, had their baseball team playing that night, and were generous enough to offer all the exchange students a free ticket to the game. It was a lot of fun! The highlight of the night was definitely the “fat contest”, where staff ran out into the audience and selected a few lucky “large” men, got them to each stand on a scale in front of everyone, and awarded the fattest with a case of beer. There was also a contest where they took to women, gave them a can of beer with a straw, and gave the fastest drinker – you guessed it – a case of beer. Of course, there was also the Kiss Cam that usually frequents sports games in North America. Apparently baseball games are pretty cheap here (tickets being only around $15) so a bunch of us will probably go back at some point.
And today, I had my “Politics, History, and Culture of Pacific Asia” course. The prof was nice, and was very well-educated. He’d also had his own talk show on KBS, a major Korean news station, and had lived and worked around the world.
It’s Friday night, so later I’ll go out to the club with all the other exchange students 🙂
Here are some photos from around campus that I took Tuesday: