[WOW Korea] Some must-try Korean Food in Winter!

Winter has almost arrived in Korea, and while the great temperature range in the day is driving me crazy, I am actually waiting quite expectantly for snow since I missed out on it entirely last winter when I was in Japan for my exchange. Another thing to look forward to would be the food! Sometimes there are just some food that tastes better when you have it in certain seasons (like having naengmyeon when the weather isn’t hot yet is just weird), and so here I’m recommending three winter must-haves in Korea!

1. Odeng (오뎅)

Source: blog.naver.com/neep/120200402604

One of the most popular must-try street food! Especially tasty in winter. Source: blog.naver.com/neep/120200402604

When Korean street food is mentioned you might think of ddeokbokki first, but when winter comes around odeng (fishcakes) is what people look for! It may seem crazy to be standing out in the cold eating from street stalls like this:

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[WOW Korea] Singaporean Coffee Shop in Korea?

This week’s WOW Korea mission is to introduce a restaurant with specialty from our home countries. There are not many Singaporean restaurants here, and they tend to be very expensive too so I haven’t been to any of them. So I would instead introduce to you a Singaporean cafe that I have visited a few times!

The first time I saw the word “Kopitiam” (it means coffee shop in Hokkien and it’s a commonly used word in Singapore) while walking along Edae I thought I must have seen it wrongly. But I heard from other Singaporean friends and realised that there was really a “Kopitiam” in Edae!

Kopitiam Singapore Toast and Coffee

They have changed the interior a few times since I started going, but their menu has remained true to Singaporean flavors. It appears to me as a kind of fusion between a Korean cafe where they have the usual Americano and green tea latte, and a Singaporean-style “kopitiam” where we would have coffee or milk tea and some kaya toast to go with it.

Iced milk tea in the summer with kaya toast!

Iced milk tea in the summer with kaya toast!

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2013 QS Asia University Rankings

Even if I’m busy usually, I will at least post updates on university rankings when I get wind of them!

Results for the annual QS Asia University Rankings~

(I will only talk about Korean universities!)

The top ranked Korean university this year is Seoul National University at #4, followed by KAIST at #6 and POSTECH at #7. SNU remained at #4 position, but KAIST and POSTECH did climb up the rankings by 1 and 2 places respectively. These are the only 3 Korean universities in Top 10.

Yonsei is #16 this year, Korea University at #19 and Sungkyunkwan at #21.Both Korea University and Sungkyunkwan also made improvements in the rankings this year while Yonsei maintained its position.

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[Promotion] Irene’s Diary, a blog about life of a girl studying abroad in Korea!

So….my Singaporean friend in Korea (whom I got to know through this blog when I first started it and now we’re both happy and all in Korea :D) has just started a blog on her own!

The reason why I’m promoting her blog is because while my blog is mostly education-centered and about Korean universities, I get many emails and questions about life in Korea in general. Since I don’t have the discipline and talent to blog about such things (cos I’m a boring person :P), I thought it would be good to give you a link to my friend’s blog so that you can kind of see how life is like in Korea ^^

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2012 Joongang Ilbo Korean University Ranking

Again I’m a few weeks behind on this but whatever! The university rankings this year are out!

The headlines this year: Yonsei > Seoul National > Sungkyunkwan > Korea univ. A huge change in rankings.

(photo source: http://gall.dcinside.com/list.php?id=skku&no=155094)
Yes the rankings did change a lot this year. And caused a really huge commotion on my facebook that day.

In first place we have KAIST (as usual) with 241 points followed by POSTEC (also the usual) with 233 points.

Rankings 3 to 6 had a huge shift.

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QS Asian University Rankings 2012

I know I’m a little slow on this but it seems like this year’s Asian University Rankings have been released!

That QS Asian University Rankings was first started in 2009, in partnership with Chosun Ilbo in Korea to rank universities in Asia.

I’ll just cover the Korean universities within the top 100^^

Seoul National University (SNU) is ranked at #4, an improvement from the rankings in 2011!

The next Korean university in the list is KAIST, ranked at #7. POSTECH follows closely at #9.

This is followed by Yonsei University in #16 position.

Korea University was ranked at #21 and Sungkyunkwan University at #24.

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Yonsei University

Finally, the post I should have done up loooooong ago, the post about my school!

I shall not talk about all those history and how it was founded etc. Cos it can all be found on Wikipedia (:

Yonsei University is ranked #3 in the Joongang Ilbo Korean Universities Rankings 2012, after KAIST and POSTEC, overtaking Seoul National University. It is the best private university in Korea. It is ranked #114 in QS world ranking for the year 2013/14, and #16 in QS Asia ranking for the year 2013 .

Now that we’re done with the technical parts, I’ll move on to my own experience in Yonsei University and things you should know if you want to enter.

Firstly, I will talk about UIC – Underwood International College. It’s a 4-year liberal arts college in Yonsei. Classes are conducted in English (so no worries for non-Korean speakers), and while international students are the minority (my batch had about 30+ international students out of about 200 students in total) there is great diversity here. We have people mostly from Vietnam, China and the United States, but we also have students from France, Uzbekistan, Belgium, Poland, Iran, South Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore (me!! hehe) just to name a few from my batch. Senior batches have great diversity too. The Korean students are mostly those who have lived overseas for a period of time, whether they grew up overseas (I’ve met one who grew up in Kenya) or their parents sent them to the States for a year or two to improve their English (apparently this is really common here). So don’t worry about the language part, cos everyone in UIC speaks English (:

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Tertiary education in Korea can get very expensive, especially for private universities. Tuition fees in Yonsei are about SGD$17,000 (KRW 15,310,400) a year! Even in public universities like SNU, it costs about USD$12,000 a year…

But don’t worry if you cannot afford the tuition fees, there are scholarships awarded by the Korean government and the universities that will help you lighten your financial load.

1. Korean Government Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded by the Korean Government to encourage overseas students to study in Korea, and also as a signal of goodwill to countries that South Korea enjoys bilateral ties with. However, it is on the condition that the student will have to take his/her course in Korean. (I’ve tried asking via email last year, but they said that you have to take a Korean language course for the first year, then complete your undergraduate studies in Korean as well) They will cover your tuition fees, accommodation, allowance, etc. Each country has a quota for the number of scholarships that can be awarded, because only a total of 100 scholarships will be awarded each year. For Singapore, our quota is 1 T____T The full list of countries can be found here: http://www.niied.go.kr/

Also, they require you to start in Spring (based on my friend’s experience), so for Singaporeans, you’ll have to leave for Korea even before getting back your A Level results.. :/

2. Scholarships from the university

Many universities (in fact, almost all) offer merit-based scholarships for international students. Depending on the university, some not only cover the tuition fees, but also give allowance. For example, Yonsei offers scholarship to their international students based on merit, but it only covers the tuition fees. KU’s scholarship covers the tuition fees and they give allowance to the international student as well. On a sidenote, KU really does offer many scholarships with more detailed information about the requirements compared to the rest of the universities.

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School Term in Korea

The school term for universities is generally separated into two halves for one academic year, the Spring Semester and the Fall Semester. There are intakes for both Spring and Fall each year, where each semester is about 4 months. Vacations are in Summer and Winter, with each vacation each spanning about 2 months.

There are also summer and winter classes, and many Korean universities offer Korean Language Courses in summer and winter for international students. So if you’re already in university and you’re keen on spending your vacation learning Korean, why not apply to summer classes to pick up the language in Korea? Universities that offer such courses include, SNU, YU, KU, Edae, Kyunghee just to name a few. Many other universities in Korea offers such courses too.

Spring semester starts in March and ends in late June. The summer vacations will then take place till late-Aug. Fall semester will begin September and end in late-December, and the winter break ends in late-February.

There are mid-term examinations that take place in the middle of the semester and finals that take place nearing the end of the semester.

There are public holidays to take note of in Korea:

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Korean Universities

The first step to studying in Korea: learning about Korean Universities!

The best university in Korea is no doubt Seoul National University (SNU). Many Korean high school students dream of entering this university! My friend’s Korean friend even retook his Korean SATs just to attempt to enter SNU! In that year he went to some kind of camp/dorm with only a bed and a desk (the bare essentials) so that he can concentrate on studying. Unbelievable.

Seoul National University

Next in line would be between Yonsei University and Korea University. According to QS World Rankings, Yonsei University is ranked before Korea University though. Both are private universities, with higher tuition fees compared to public universities (such as SNU). Compared to SNU, YU and KU are located closer to downtown Seoul (YU in Sinchon and KU in Anam). YU and KU also offer courses in English too, unlike SNU. YU has Underwood International College, a liberal arts honours college that conducts courses in English. KU also has an International Studies division that offers courses conducted in English. Traditionally, there has also been this rivalry between these 2 universities, and every year there’s a Yon-Ko games mostly made up of competing sports such as hockey and baseball. SNU, KU and YU are regarded as the 3 most prestigious universities in Korea, gaining the acronym “SKY”. There are many notable alumni from these 3 universities.
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