Are you thinking about coming to Korea for a language training program, or for your graduate studies? Are you still pondering which university to choose? Well, you don’t need to look any further, since I’m here to give you more details on this topic. I spent 2 semesters at Dongguk University as an exchange student a few years ago, and I can say it was the best experience in my life. To be honest, before applying for the exchange program through my university in my home country, Romania, I was a little bit worried about the language barrier and cultural differences. Even if my major was Korean language and literature, I felt that I was lacking a lot in this area. I was so concerned about my speaking skills. I spent too many nights thinking about how I can improve my skills. I wanted so much to go to Korea, it was my dream after all, but the fear of failure was so nerve-racking.
It turned out that all of my worries were simply unfounded. When I arrived in Seoul, at Dongguk University, everything went so much better than expected. The professors were so kind and patient. They always encouraged us, foreign students, to speak Korean confidently, even if we made lots of errors. My classmates from the art club always helped my to improve my vocabulary by explaining to me each word I didn’t know. Even the ahjumma who was selling rice cakes close to my dormitory or the part-timer working at the convenience store in the campus taught me so many things about Korean culture. My learning process was interactive and fun at the same time, thanks to all to people with beautiful hearts I met. All it took was courage. And getting out of my comfort zone.
Now, let’s go back to Dongguk University. Did you know that this university was established in 1906, and it is one of the few Buddhist-affiliated universities around the world? Located on a hill close to Namsan, its representative symbols are the elephant and the lotus flower. If you visit Dongguk University, you will see three elephant sculptures right in the middle of the campus. Honestly, that was one of my favorite places where I used to drink my ice coffee before going to class. Moreover, if you enter the main building, you will notice many lotus patterns on the walls or on the doors. Those patterns always inspired me to paint whenever I had the time to do so.
Dongguk University Seoul campus offers undergraduate programs, graduate programs, Korean language and culture programs, and TOPIK preparation classes for foreign students. The university also operates in Ilsan, Goyang campus and Gyeongju campus, focusing on medical technology and Korean traditional medicine. Dongguk University is definitely a good choice when comes to quality education. It is a place where you can grow both as a human and as a scholar. For more information, I recommend you check the official website.
Dongguk University campus was so magnificent especially during spring and fall season. Lots of cherry blossoms during April-May, colorful burgundy-golden leaves scattered in many places in October. One of my favorite activities was to make myself comfortable in a cozy café in the campus while reading a good book, and sipping dreamily from my caramel macchiato. After finishing my coffee, hungry for a fresh mountain breeze, I often went for a walk on Namsan together with my Korean friends, and took tons of pictures. This place was like an oasis in the middle of a city that never sleeps, for the people who wanted to recharge, and meditate about their life. Since Dongguk is a Buddhist-affiliated university, you can also find a Buddhist temple in the campus, where you can retreat, and pray for a few moments, if your heart tells you so. Especially before your mid-term exams. Or before your job interview. Or before meeting the love of your life^^
Okay, but how can you get there? If you want to go to Dongguk University, you have to take subway line no.3 and get off at Chungmuro station or Dongguk University station. Then walk for a few minutes. If you prefer going by bus, then you must take no. 44, 301, 407 or 7212 . Since Dongguk University is located in the heart of Seoul, in Jung-gu, it quite easily to get there no matter what part of the city you are coming from. Oh wait, one more thing, in case you haven’t made a decision yet. Do you know that famous entertainers like Lee Seung-gi , or Girls’ Generation Yoon-ah studied at Dongguk University as well?