Life as a Foreign Exchange Student
Life as a Foreign Exchange Student
  • Park Ji-sang(ME 16)
  • 승인 2018.11.07 14:30
  • 댓글 0
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Park Ji-sang (ME 16)
Park Ji-sang (ME 16)


I am currently on a short-term study break at the Grenoble Institue of Techonlogy. At first, I was so exhausted from all the studying and wanted to escape Pohang. It was kind of a hasty decision to be an exchange student, and so, as I arrived in France, I made a lot of mistakes. France, in particular, is culturally different and things worked at a different pace than what I was used to.

When I arrived in France for the first time, it was difficult for me to buy things and solve problems concerning dormitories and administrative work. As time went by, and I adapted, it became more comfortable and I grew envious of French people who enjoyed a relaxed lifestyle. I worried a lot over being an exchange student abroad, but I don’t regret my decision anymore. Everything was new and interesting to me when I first arrive in Europe. The good thing about studying abroad in France is that people here are very kind. Even despite the language barrier, most people were kind and relaxed. Also, it is geographically convenient to travel to Spain, Switzerland and Italy, so you can save money and time on transportation. Especially, since the university is located in an area called Ron Alps, you can enjoy skiing, hiking, and outdoor activities during the winter months.

The downside is that it can be difficult in terms of language because there are so few Koreans and it is not easy to make foreign friends because students do not have many opportunities to interact. Since the campus and academic courses are different from our country, it was difficult and annoying to adapt to classes at first. Work is slow because we have to book a ‘rendex-vous’, sort of an appointment. But I’m really glad I came to France. I applied for nine credits and have only two or three classes a week, so I travel on weekends and during the time when there are no classes. Notably, there are so many beautiful cities in France, and I haven’t been to all of them yet. It has been only a month since I came here, but the French cities are, I cannot say this enough, really beautiful.
It was and still is a really new experience to meet new people and listen to stories while traveling. I’m not very active, so I used to fear new things, but as I arrived here, I’m now accustomed to asking people I don’t know and talking to them. Even before I chose to enter an exchange program, I wanted to learn a second foreign language like French. And now, I can study French conversation and grammar at school for free. I even made a few really good friends from my classes, who are from Nepal, Slovenia, and Spain. Considering these kinds of experiences have made me feel like I was a frog in a well, living in Korea.

Finally, I thought that I would like to see more active exchanges between foreign students and local students. When I came to Grenoval, I personally felt and am still feeling there isn’t enough information being exchanged, compared to other schools. Therefore, I hope there will be more organizations and events that can provide school events or information in English and more opportunities to talk with Korean students.

If you have friends who are worried about being an exchange student abroad, I would tell them to come at all costs. If you leave Pohang, you can have a really meaningful experience and learn a lot of new and interesting things.