The GoGlobal Blog

For Prospective Kookmin(or Korea) Exchange Students

For Prospective Kookmin(or Korea) Exchange Students

taken offline
Chicago summers1

Hello, and welcome to my first blog post! Today is August 2, 2016, and the end of summer is in sight, which also means that the fall semester is just around the corner!


For my study abroad trip to Kookmin University in Seoul, South Korea, I am expected to be on campus on August 27, the weekend before classes start on August 29th, for a one day orientation. With less than a month before I start a whole new chapter of my life in South Korea, I’d like to share with prospective students what the summer has been like for me (since it might be the case for you)!


Initially, I had hoped that all the details for my study abroad trip would be set in stone before the summer started, heck, even before finals were over, but, alas, that was not the case.


I am not sure if it is just Kookmin University or perhaps all Korean colleges, but one should consider that your host university might operate on a much later schedule than is the norm for US colleges. I applied to Loyola’s study abroad office and USAC, the University Study Abroad Consortium that creates the study abroad experience, by mid-January and received my approval from both of these institutions by February and March respectively, and then waited to hear back from Kookmin University.


During this time, I went ahead to get course approvals, applied to the Benjamin Gilman International Scholarship and the Loyola sponsored USAC scholarship, and renewed my passport. Finals came and went. Students all around me announced their study abroad plans and were registering for class, but I  still had not received word from Kookmin University.  I emailed my USAC advisor and was told that Kookmin University doesn’t actually close the fall registration application window until July 1st, so waiting was inevitable.


Two-thirds of a summer flew by, and then it finally happened! I was notified on July 14th by email that I was accepted by Kookmin University and admitted to their International School of Business. At this news, I was ecstatic and felt 20 pounds lighter with alleviated stress and uncertainty! Immediately, I booked my flight to Korea’s Incheon airport. I received some additional materials from my USAC advisor and was officially free to prepare for my trip during the next six weeks.


However, the waiting didn’t stop there. Another week passed(understandably) before I received my original acceptance letters from Kookmin University through the mail, signed by the college president himself. As soon as I could, I took those documents and everything else necessary to the General Consulate of the Republic of Korea located on the 37th floor in the NBC Tower in Chicago and applied for my student visa on July 26th.  I actually got a call from the UPS store, letting me know that my visa is ready for pickup as I was writing this. The visa process only took me a week!


I also received an email just this past hour from the International Affairs Division manager in Kookmin about class registration, so that process is underway, too!


Besides that, I have been checking into what items I need to buy and pack for my journey abroad, printing backup copies of my identification and insurance cards as per USAC’s suggestion, and am just trying to enjoy my last few weeks in the states. I downloaded an app (Tengugo Hangul) to learn how to read Korean and am now working on learning how to make sentences with an online resource ( I’ve started watching a handful of videos on Youtube about Korean etiquette and norms, too, and am getting so incredibly excited to immerse myself in a new culture and to share the experiences with Kookmin’s 200 other exchange students. With just a little bit more than three weeks before departure, all the pieces are finally falling into place.


I hope that if your study abroad plan to Korea feels delayed like mine that you not panic like I nearly did. Your study abroad trip will happen- just a little bit slower than what you’ve come to expect, which might honestly be your first cultural lesson. 



The next post will be more emotional and personal as I will only have one week before I depart, but until then an-nyeong-hi-gye-seo (goodbye)!



Comments are closed.