Balancing Fun While Taking Courses

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In my last blog post, I talked about my first week of classes and the few obstacles I came across. Since then I’ve been able to kind of get into the swing of my courses and find a rhythm that will work for me as the semester progresses. It’s really important to find somewhat of a balance while you’re abroad! Of course, you want to have time to explore and experience new things, but making time to study and complete your coursework should still be a top priority. At first, I felt that this may be a hard balance to accomplish but thanks to my ability to know my strengths, weaknesses, and limits, I am able to curate a schedule that works completely fine just for me that allows for an appropriate amount of leisure with enough time to study and go to class as well.

Currently I am junior standing, meaning I’m in my third year of my bachelor’s degree. This entails courses that are at a higher level of rigor. It was scary going into course registration knowing that I would be registering for higher-level classes at a foreign university; each country varies in what content they consider adequate for different grade levels. Specifically, I am taking two classes that deal with neuroscience and brain cognition- which is very different compared to my normal coursework back home so far! Therefore, I have had to sit down and consider what my study schedule would need to look like this semester in order to fully retain the information and pass my examinations. The work level at KU in the majority of my classes is sort of high expectation, but I still feel that the nature of my classes are similar to what I’m used to at home. This is probably due to my classes being taught in English, and some of my professors having actually lived and taught courses in the U.S. For this, I’m actually quite grateful and I feel that the similarities between the nature of the courses will continue to help me acclimate to being a student here.

When it comes to actual class meetings, some days I only have one class and then others I have three back to back. Within the class week, I like to allow myself at least two days of “rest,” in which I stay in my room mostly to catch up on readings and be productive in a sense. Other days when I have more classes are when I’m able to actually go on campus, walk around, eat out for lunch/dinner, etc. With this I’m able to find a happy medium where during the week I have both chill and productive days, so when the weekend comes I’m able to fill it up with outings in Korea!

For example, this past week I visited N Seoul Tower (Namsan Tower or Seoul Tower). This is a very popular tourist attraction in Seoul. The tower is located on Namsan mountain, which is a very beautiful sight to see! At the top of the tower you get a wonderful 360 degrees view of the city. I was able to see my quarantine hotel facility from the top, which is something my friends and I found quite funny. There’s countless stores and souvenir stops that make the experience even more fulfilling. Namsan Tower is also known for its “love lock” areas. They sell padlocks that you can write on and then attach to any part of the bridges. As you walk you’ll see thousands of locks in which individuals have written messages to themselves, wishes for the future, hopes for their relationships, etc. It was honestly a really exciting trip, and I hope to go again before I leave! It’s trips like these that I’m thankful for my ability to manage my time correctly, so that I’m not guilty about having lots of fun on the weekends.