Sunday, March 20, 2011

Studies in Korea: Kyle Salsbery

Well, I've been studying in Korea at Handong University for about a month now, and I wanted to update anyone from the Chem. department who is interested on how things are going.

First off, I'm taking 13 credits during this semester; Genetics, Psychology, Korean History, History of American Literature, and Chapel. The schedule for classes is set up a little different here. There are eight 1:15 periods in a day with 15 minute breaks in between. Most classes take place in the first 6 periods. Since each class is 1:15 long, a three credit class only meets twice a week instead of three times. I do kind of like this set up, but it isn't fun when I have three classes back-to-back for almost four hours straight.

Classes here are a lot different. Teachers rarely assign homework or projects, but you just study. In the whole semester, I may just take 3-5 tests in a class and that is basically my grade. A few classes do have quizzes once in a while for about 10% of the grade, attendance is another 10%, and then the rest is just tests. This makes me nervous for my classes, because it doesn't leave as much room to bring up your grade if you get a low score on one test. Also, I'm having to be more self-disciplined to keep up in my studies on my own since there is no homework.

I am lucky that all of my professors speak understandable English. Sometimes they do break out in Korean for a quick definition, but most of the class is only spoken in English. In the beginning, I did feel a little out of place, especially in Genetics where I am the only foreigner, but now I have a set routine and made some really good friends so things are going very well! Since I am an American, lots of people remember me and my name, so people are always saying hi to me, but I just wish it was easy for me to remember their names!

Handong is a small Christian University similar to Taylor, but there are still many differences. Handong is only 17 years old, so compared to Taylor it is very young. They have curfew here at 11 every night and if you want to stay out later you have to submit a night pass. There is not really "wings" here, but instead they have what they call teams that meet once a week. Chapel also only meets once a week on Wednesdays, and on Sundays most students go to Church on campus in the chapel. Of course I am a little biased towards Taylor, and I miss it greatly, but I am enjoying my experience here and I hope that Handong will continue to develop a strong Christian atmosphere like we are blessed to enjoy at Taylor.

One last thing...when I come back to Taylor, I will never complain about the DC again! The main cafeteria here is called "12 Baskets" and there is only one option served at meals. It always includes rice, kimchi, a soup, vegetables, and a little meat. I've not had problems with the food, but I really miss being able to get a hot chocolate or ice cream whenever I want. Also there is only water for a drink, and they use the tiniest cups you can imagine. I've also been half way through a meal to discover that the meat I was eating was squid!

Well, I hope you are doing well and that you have enjoyed hearing about Korea!