Midterms in South Korea’s Most Prestigious School


I have been a student at Seoul National University for about two and a half months now and surprisingly, the workload in the classes I am taking has been at an all-time low. That is…until exam season is upon you. Then it’s a flurry of gotta study for x amount of hours for this class and x amount for that class. No one is making plans to meet, and stress is at an all-time high. Not only are exams upon you, but background essay assignments and group presentations suddenly come to the forefront of your mind. Everything is suspiciously due during the most busiest and stressful time of the year. Or at least one of the most stressful, guess who is not excited for final exam season?

Compared to my university experience in the US, I find taking classes at SNU much less stressful, be it because the workload seems to have lessened or how the teachers structure their classes. There is less stress upon me academically, which does not mean I am less interested and encouraged to get the best grades and to participate in school events. Thankfully, out of the four courses I am taking there is only one written midterm between them. The other exams consist of a Korean Language Oral Exam, a group presentation, and two essays. Seems easy enough. As of the time of writing this, it is the 28th of October and I need only the Korean Language Oral Exam to complete the midterm season. I am confident that I can do well and have all the materials needed to study to the best of my ability. Unlike some professors in the united states, SNU professors (after further discussion with some friends) are not in the habit of creating study guides for exams. This is not a grand issue just something I had noted. Nor are professors overly concerned with getting grades in at a certain time, they tend to do so at their own pace.

As a student at SNU, there are some perks that come with being a student. Not excluding help with applying for an Alien registration card and setting up a Korean Bank Account if you so desired one. The atmosphere is quite different and a specific perk I found about the school is that clinic appointments are free. If you do not have the Korean national health insurance (that is automatically applied to you once you get your Alien Registration Card) you only pay for the medication prescribed and any larger tests like x-rays or vaccine shots. I had sprained my ankle not too long ago and was stressed silly about the costs of treatment. I made an appointment at the school clinic and walked out with about $18 in charges. This is including a $15 dollar X-ray fee and a $3 medication cost. The actual appointment came free of charge. Another surprising perk about the clinic is how quickly the school doctor staff can see you, even if you arrive early to an appointment, the staff will see you upon arrival.

(Enjoy some poorly photographed pictures of the campus)