Name: Axel Uljas
Study Programme: Bachelor’s Degree in International Business Administration (BBA) in Helsinki
Exchange Location: Daejeon, South Korea
University: SolBridge International School of Business
Why did you choose to go abroad?:
- Simply to get new experiences and get away from the daily routine in Finland. Also, to challenge me by picking a country far away from my normal life.
Did you experience a culture shock?:
Initially yes, as I couldn’t even read any of the signs in the country. But at no point did I feel uncomfortable, it was the opposite. It felt exciting to be clueless and gradually figure out and learn ways in a new environment. The city Daejeon I lived in was slightly bigger than Helsinki, with a population of approximately 1,5 million people. Daejeon is said to be the New hub city of Korea.
Another culture shock came when I traveled for the first time to the capital, Seoul, with a population twice as big as in Finland.
How did covid19 affect your studies and life in South Korea?:
We did hybrid studies but at one point we had a couple of covid cases in the dorm and everyone in the boys’ dorm had to do another quarantine. After this, I decided to move out of the dorm as I knew cases would happen from time to time and I didn’t want to do quarantine after each time someone caught it.
How do you feel this experience has affected you and the way you see the world?:
I feel more comfortable in trying new things and the exchange experience made me feel “braver”, I suppose. It also opened my eyes to how much there is to see around the world and how different things are and it awakened my urge to travel more.
What was your most memorable moment during your exchange?:
Our first extended holiday was when I traveled with my friends to the lovely beach city of Busan. Everything felt so exciting, as it was my first time traveling in Korea. I gained a lot of good memories from that 5-day trip.
Would you recommend going for an exchange to South Korea?:
Absolutely! Not only this specific country but I would encourage anyone to go on exchange as it is a good growing experience. Korea specifically is a great place since it is very safe with low crime rates, excellent food and culture, and the people there are very polite and friendly.