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SAF Korea 참가학생

Student Name: 김범준
Home University: 부산대학교
Host University: University of Minnesota
Period of Study: 2012 Spring Semester

1. Why did you decide to study abroad at your host university?

My foremost goal I wanted to achieve through exchange student was studying 'Biomaterials' which I had dreamed to study but I couldn't in department of Pusan University. So, when I chose universities, I thought about rankings related to 'Biomaterials' field and their curriculum, not about big city, good environment or place where small amounts of Korean live to learn English fast. Through this process, I finally chose University of Minnesota which ranks 16 th in "Material Science" and 5th in "Chemical engineering". Plus, tuition fees are relatively cheap.


This university is also one of the biggest universities in US and there are many international students from all around the world, which seemed interesting to me and I actually met a lot of students from different countries and it helped a lot for me to understand not just US culture but also many different cultures.


2. Please describe your academic experiences at your host university.  How does the style of education differ from what you are used to at home?
The biggest difference I felt is the atmosphere in the classes. I couldn't find a glass ceiling between professors and students which I could find in my home university. Every class has free atmosphere. So, students also feel free to ask question. It was very impressive. But I don't think it's always good because some students are very rude, which I can't imagine in the Korea. For example, getting the call in the first row and saying 'I'll call you later', almost lying down on the chair in the first row.................
However, except for few students, the whole atmosphere in the classes was generally good. Especially, in the case of material science and chemical engineering deparments, there are quite a few famous professor in the US and their teaching is very broad and deep. So, if you are studying above stuff, you will not disappoint in terms of studying.

3. Describe your social life at your host university – what do you do for fun?  Are you meeting local students?
I didn't do socializing much because I focused on my study. But I met a few very good friend. Exchange students usually stay in Centennial Hall which is biggest dormitory in the UofM and they get along very well. Because many of them are either freshman or come from different country and they are also very open-minded. So, if you stay in the dormitory, I guess it's pretty east to meet many different friends. But, I stayed in the University Village which is on-campus apartment. There are many students who want to have private space. So, overall atmosphere of this apartment is not very intimate. But in the case of me, I got very good roommates and I met a couple of good friends through them.
You can also meet friends through various events which are hosted by UofM and students group. You can check major events held by U in the Coffman hall or http://sua.umn.edu/. I also higly recommend you guys to add 'Misa-umn' on the face book, which is the biggest international students group in the U and provides many events. If I had known this early, I would have made a lot of friends now.


You can also talk to the friends you like at the class. But it's pretty hard to do it if you are shy. So, I encourage you to take at least one PE(physical education) class. The atmosphere of the class is very familiar and it's much easier for you to make new friends. Plus, it helps you release your stress which you gets at other classes. I took gymnastics class and it was very fun and I also met a best friend at there.

4. Please tell future students one thing you think they should know as they prepare to study abroad.
I think it's very helpful for you to set one specific goal. Unless you are good at English, socializing and studying at the same rate is very hard. In the case of me, In my case, I planned to focus more on studying, like 70 to 30 ratio. But I finally had to give much more weight to it. Depending on what you are studying, it can be very hard to catch up.
In my friend case, he focused much more on socializing and he joined in almost every party which held by UofM and his friends. And he could make many friends.
What I mean is that establishing a specific goal will greatly help you.

5. Register for courses
We exchange student don't have many choices in the matter of registering for courses because we usually arrive US after UofM students finish registering them. You can get into most of your major courses if you talk to professors or assistant to the directors of undergraduate program in your department. But it's very hard for you to cut into Liberal Education classes if they are already full. Even this case, there is a chance for you to take them. Just go to the first day of the classes you want to take. If somebody misses the class, then you can break into that class instead of him. Going to the first day of the class is necessary in the US.

6. Weather
Winter of MN is notorious. But it's getting warmer because of greenhouse effect and actually this winter was very mild. It went against my expectation. So, I think you don't have to worry about the winter very much if you are pretty used to Seoul's winter. I would say, it's slight above seoul's average winter temperature.

7. Useful Tips
⓵ Prepare enough contact lenses for one or two semester if you use them. These are very expensive to get in US.
⓶ Prepare some first-aid remedy
⓷ Usually transportation fee is quite higher then Korea, But you can buy U-pass for $97, which you can use for a semester as many times as you want.
⓸ Four big markets are gathered together 15 minutes from the U of M by bus. And there is a also Korean market called 'Kim's food'. But if you have a friends who have cars, then you can go to the 'Dongyang' or 'Seoul Foods', which are bigger then 'Kim's food'.
⓹ There is one of the biggest shopping malls in US, which is called 'Mall of America'. There is also no tax on clothes on MN. So, you will love that place if you like buying clothes.

8. Living expenses
Living expenses would depend on how much you spend. In my case, I brought my lunch and made my dinner by myself, so I usually spend around $300 a month. But I spent pretty a lot of money to buy textbooks. I highly recommend you to look up course catalog of U before coming here and decide what major courses you are taking. And then buy the books in Korea and bring them to US. As I said, you can get into most of major classes except for lab class.



Last Updated: 3/2/15