Zofia about going on exchange
According to our IBA student Zofia, going on exchange is as much about studying as it is about experiencing other cultures. She is originally from Poland, which makes her an international student at Tilburg University in the first place, but she decided to take her adventure of going abroad even further. She went on exchange to Seoul, South Korea, for one semester. “Starting at Tilburg University was already a great new experience for me, but I also really wanted to go to Asia.”
“The culture in Korea is really different from Europe: everyone is less individualistic and more focused on the best interests of the group. And the people are really helpful even when there is a massive language barrier.” Zofia tells about one time she and her friend needed help from an older man who did not speak any English. “We were looking for a shop and he took us there. However, the shop was closed. So we thought: we’ll come back tomorrow. The man left but came back – with the shop owner!”
Studying at Sungkyunkwan University was also different from what she was used to in Tilburg. “We only had lectures and almost no practical classes. And the material was different as well. Whereas, in Tilburg, we go deep into a few topics, in Seoul, there were more topics, but the material was easier to learn.” The exams were different too: “All the exams were open-book, so they really made you think about the material. You could open the book and read the theory, but you needed to know more about these theories to answer the questions.”
“The campus in Seoul, however, is comparable to Tilburg; I had all my classes in one place. And it was 40 minutes away from my room by public transport. Believe me, that’s actually nearby by Korean standards!” Zofia found her room on Airbnb. “It’s really popular with students. Although most of the universities here have dorms, those are all double rooms. That didn’t suit me because I value my privacy. I lived with four other people in the Airbnb appartment, but we all had our own space so I could withdraw when I wanted privacy.”
Zofia’s advice to everyone would be: “Just go on exchange. It’s the greatest experience! You can meet people from all around the world, not just from the place you are staying. Having contact with all these different cultures is so valuable!” Do you want to explore the idea of going abroad yourself? Visit our Hybrid Study Abroad Fair on October 4. And another tip from Zofia: “Check out the Mobility Portal! Especially if you would like to read more experiences of students who went abroad.”
The next application deadline is November 3.
Disclaimer: exchanges in the academic year 2022/23 will be organized as the COVID-19 situation at the time allows.