Things to Expect for Yonsei’s International Summer School Programme

When you’re in university, you have a few options for where and when to go on overseas exchange! I have had some friends go to Europe for the semester, Korea for the winter, and the US for the Summer. While I didn’t plan on going on exchange, plans changed and I am now in Korea’s Yonsei University’s International Summer School (YISS) Program!

Hence, here are some things to note for those planning to go for YISS in upcoming years.

I am unsure how exchange protocols work for NUS and SMU, but I assume it would be similar to NTU’s.

For NTU, we need to have a minimum GPA requirement to apply for exchange programmes, but summer exchanges tend to be more relaxed than semester exchanges, so most universities accept students with a minimum of 2.5 or 3.0 GPA.

For Yonsei, I applied my choices via NTU’s GEM Portal, and once I got the approval from NTU’s side, it was time to apply on the Yonsei Portal!

For YISS, we have the choice of whether to go for a four-week or six-week program. Moreover, we can choose during the application period how many modules we want to take (with a maximum cap at three modules).

I decided to take up two modules for the six-week program!

In terms of cost, you would need to pay an application fee of 200,000 won (~$200 SGD), and another separate fee per module. One module costs around 1,200,000 won to 1,800,000 won (~$1200 to $1800 SGD) depending on how many credits the module is.

I have attached the fee breakdowns from NTU’s GEM Portal for easier reference.

I also stay at a dormitory on campus, but have friends who decided to rent an Airbnb together, so your living situation is totally up to you!

For dorm application, once you’re accepted, Yonsei will send you your student ID details, and you can use that to access a separate portal to apply for a dormitory. Most YISS students stay at SK Global House or Wonjungwon Dormitory, with SK Global House being more popular!

I managed to get SK Global House and was paired with a random roommate since my friends didn’t get it. They received the rejection email and had to reapply for Wonjungwon, as you can’t reapply to the same dorm twice!

Before going to Korea, I bought an e-sim from Chingu Mobile for around $60 SGD (valid for 60 days), but you can buy sim cards at the airport too! I took the airport shuttle to Ewha Women’s University back gate, and headed to SK Global House which was a short 6-minute walk from that bus stop. Be wary of some slopes you will need to drag your luggage through.

Check-in was quite fast; I filled in the forms, showed them my lung X-ray and Measles vaccination cards, and they gave me a room card with my name and room number.

The dormitory at SK Global House is quite big, with a total of seven floors, and three basement floors. B2 has the common laundry room and a kitchen, B3 has a music room and a gym, and B4 having the carpark. B2 to Level 7 will also have rooms, splitting the male and female residents per level. Each level also comes with a student lounge where you can study, heat up food, wash dishes or refill water bottles.

Each room has two beds, two shoe cabinets, an indoor toilet, and a separate indoor shower room attached. I’m not sure about the other rooms, but because the shower room doesn’t have a door attached like the toilet, there was a curtain to cover it. However, I don’t know if the previous tenants left it or if it came with the room originally.

Both residents have their own desks with shelves and drawers, as well as separate closets. However, the closets are quite small (either that or I have too many clothes). There is also a mini ‘balcony’ area, where the aircon unit is placed so you can hang out your clothes in that area with a rack if you want to sun dry your clothes too!

The rooms can be quite dusty, but there is a vacuum you can borrow in the lounge as well as free brooms and pans you can use to tidy up the room. For the bedding, we had to collect our pillows, bedsheets, and blankets from B3 when we first moved it. Ours was placed in a big tote bag, but I heard Wonjungwon received theirs in enclosed plastic ziplock bags.

I wasn’t sure how clean the bedsheets were, so my roommate and I went to wash them before putting them on our bed. For laundry, it was all digital. Imagine paying for the laundry machines with PayLah. You will need to download the ‘META Club’ app and sign up for an account. You can only top it up if you have a Korean card, so for foreigners to top it up, you will need to head over to the nearest convenience store and ask them to scan to top it up.

SK Global House has 2 E-Marts nearby, but they don’t allow laundry top up for the app. Hence, you will need to head down near the main street where there is a CU Convenience Store and top it up there. 1 cycle for both washing machine and dryer costs 1,300 won each!

We also have a Paik’s Bakery and a few eateries nearby SK Global House, so food is quite abundant. I would recommend Ttal-gi Gol, which is opposite CU Convenience Store as they sell traditional Korean food for <8000 won, so definitely good if you’re eating on a budget. Yonsei has a few canteens on campus, but it’s also near Sinchon station which has more options for those who want to explore a little bit more! For the caffeine addicts, Yonsei has a lot of coffee shops selling drinks for less than 5000 won, so it will be like a drink haven for you.

Other than that, Yonsei also has a few field trips you can sign up for, but they run out of slots quickly so remember to sign up when they open! (It’s a little bit like NTU’s Star Wars).

For module bidding, I think it’s quite similar as well; the portal will open at a specific date and time, and you will just input the modules and periods you want to take the modules at.

Classes will occur from Mondays to Thursdays every week, and depending on the period your class is at, the earliest will start at around 9am and the latest will end around 5pm. Each class is 100 minutes long, with a 5–10-minute break in between. When you get your timetable, you may be shocked like me to find that 2 classes are back-to-back, but classes usually have a 20-minute break in between for you to walk to the next class! So, there’s no rush.

As for the lectures, it is held like a seminar/lecture style with discussions, depending on the class you take.

Last but not least, remember to download Naver Maps as it will be your best friend to navigate the routes in Korea! Remember to bring an umbrella everywhere too as July tends to be monsoon season, so the rain can get quite heavy! Yonsei’s campus is quite big (and hilly), there are shuttle busses available, but most people just walk. Therefore, bring comfy shoes because you will most likely be walking (or hiking) on a daily basis to class and back to dorm.

I will write a follow-up article dictating my experience during the exchange program once I’m done, but hope this helped those who are considering coming to Yonsei for exchange!

That’s all for now!

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