25 May 2015

A Summary of My Participation in 2014 Inha University Summer School

I have been thinking if I should create a post particularly for my educational trip to Korea in July and August 2014. I was hesitant about that because I did not take many photos then, which I totally regret until today, and I can’t decide between summarizing the trip in one post and sharing the stories separately. I miss Korea, so much so that I wish I could purchase a one-way ticket to the wonderful country and begin my adventure at any time soon; definitely after 2015.

Signing up for 2014 Inha University Summer School was not easy. To be honest, I wasn’t very keen on the program itself. Still, considering that I would be having my everyday breakfast, dinner and promising accommodation paid for all three weeks, as well as the opportunity to improve me myself through the different courses offered including Korean language classes, at USD 880, I braced up and asked my dad for permission. Within a very short duration, he gave me an answer that made me carry on with the registration procedure with strong guilt; a “yes”.

P/S: The photos posted are all belong to yours truly unless specifically stated, and they are all taken using my old iPhone 4S. I don’t think it is wise to add watermark in each photo due to the amount of photos I have in the album.

On 27 July 2014, I departed as early as 8.00am from Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) via AirAsia X together with Kah Mun and Ezy, my only travel companions for the trip. It was a 6.5-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Incheon, Korea. I had my pre-booked Big Breakfast aboard the plane. I wanted to go for Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak (I have been missing it since my trip to Bali, Indonesia), but I saved it for my return stroke instead because it would be way too heavy for an early breakfast. I always love flight meals, and AirAsia serves some of the best flight meals I have ever had thus far. I swear!

Paris Baguette Bakery Café at Incheon International Airport was where we spent our very first won to feed our growling tummies while waiting for a free shuttle bus arranged by the university to pick us up at 7.00pm (UTC +9:00). Upon our arrival in the university, we were checked in to our pre-arranged rooms without having to wait for long. We were allocated a quad dormitory, a rather luxurious one with a huge desk and a cupboard beneath where we slept. I shared the same room with Zi Han, Su Wen, and Katie; some of my first new friends during the program. We were grouped according to our races, nationalities, and universities.

The only thing to be done upon our arrival was to clean our own area thoroughly. Everywhere was covered with a thick layer of dust, making me wonder how long it had been left vacant. After that, it’s dinner time! As instructed by one of the helpers, we crossed the road to the university, walked through the pathway covered by trees from both sides in the university to the back door, and found a lively area with plenty of shops, cafés and restaurants. We walked back and forth and finally decided to have samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Soup) as dinner. That’s our first proper Korean meal since we touched down in Incheon!

Trust me; you would not want to visit this place if you can’t speak Korean. The ajumma (middle-aged, married Korean woman) didn’t know what we were trying to say, and vice versa.

The facilities of our hostel includes bedding (a pillow and a thin blanket), a shared pantry area on each floor, dining hall, shared toilets and bathrooms, laundry room with washing machines and dryers (KRW 1,000 per load per machine, KRW 200 per pack of detergent), retail store, computer room, gymnasium, ping pong table, badminton court, et cetera.

Certainly, not everything is perfect. One of the down sides of the hostel was the laundry room. The instructions to use the machines were entirely in Korean and there was no one to assist us, so we had to try our luck. Besides, some of the dryers frequently malfunctioned, probably due to the sudden increase in the number of users. Rumors had it that someone’s clothes were burnt while he or she was using the dryer.

Something more interesting? My room and the area was initially a male dormitory, but it was transformed into a female dormitory during the program. Showering in the male toilet meant losing your privacy, because there was absolutely nothing like a shower curtain to cover each partition but merely a piece of translucent glass in between every two spaces. Look at the photo closely and you will get what I mean!

Like I said, daily breakfast and dinner were both included in the fee, whereas lunch had to be settled on our own expenses. Here are most of what we had throughout our stay in the hostel! They changed their menu every day. The meals were often prepared by two different sections, international (black tray) and Korean (white tray), for us to choose our most preferred choice each day. Sometimes, one section could be more popular than another section, causing many being late for classes.

Oh, if you have noticed one of the last photos that looks rather different, that was served during a farewell buffet dinner prepared for us in the Student Center. :D

Prior to beginning our trip to Korea, we were allowed to choose two courses that we would like to take on a “first come, first served” basis, some of which were only available for students of certain schools. Mine included Intermediate Korean (compulsory), Korean Culture Workshop, and Sociological Introduction to Korean Society. When there are boring classes, there must be something to entertain us. Field trips!

We were brought to Lotte World Adventure, Show “Nanta”, and the very boring yet eye-opening Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ) (only for students of Sociological Introduction to Korean Society, it may differ depending on the courses chosen) on three different days as day trips. I could still recall sleeping through the long journey from Incheon to Seoul.

We also had a Korean Culture Competition on the last day of the program at Hana Hall, Inha University. Each performance took approximately 5 minutes. Some of them were really hilarious, such as a group of guys singing the Korean version of “Let It Go”. I especially loved a group of girls dancing to Orange Caramel’s “까탈레나 (Catallena)”. Very much alike!

I’ll upload some videos of some of the performances next time. ;)

Preparing for checkout on 16 August 2014 was one hell of a challenge! Everyone struggled through no less than one hour to stuff everything into one luggage. Some of them even spent the entire night to figure out ways to pack their luggage. Mine was completed within a comparatively shorter duration, but it could have been much better than this. I was just lazy.

These are basically everything that I had been through during 2014 Inha University Summer School. I don’t usually compliment any educational organizations, but in my opinion, the management had indeed done a brilliant job in handling things from the beginning to the end. The way they managed their students was praiseworthy. I’m glad that I participated in this program before I completed my studies at Taylor’s University, as they only accept college and university students enrolling in a program.

These are definitely not everything about my trip to Korea. More to come about what I had eaten, where I had visited, et cetera in both Incheon and Seoul, Korea. Stay tuned! :D

Inha University Summer School
INHA University,
100 Inha-ro, Nam-gu,
Incheon 402-751,
Website: INHA University SUMMER SCHOOL
Email: inhasummer@inha.ac.kr


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