An Unforgettable Chapter: My Exchange Semester at RAC

Hyunsoo from South Korea, Winter Semester 2023/2024

Hello, I am Hyunsoo, an exchange student from Ewha Womans University in South Korea. For six months, I learned a lot and made unforgettable memories.

I lived in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. Therefore, it was not easy to live in Remagen, where there were no tall buildings, no subway, and buses that did not run frequently and were cut off early. I was angry when I missed the bus that came every 30 minutes due to a delay in Deutsch Bahn. However, I felt relaxed whenever I saw the clear air, transparent sky, and green mountains unlike in Seoul. I liked taking walks along the Rhine River while listening to my favorite songs.  I always felt anxious and impatient when I was in Korea. During the semester, I was busy without any studying, reading   books, joining extracurricular activities, and working at my part-time job. I was always doing something to avoid falling    behind others. I constantly compared myself with others and pushed myself to do my best. While staying in Remagen, away from the noisy and busy Seoul, I was able to discover myself more relaxed, worrying about trivial matters such as what I would eat for dinner tonight and when I would do the laundry.

What surprised me most when I came to RAC was the classes that professors and students created together. Maybe it's because of the nature of my Engineering major, but I mostly listened to a professor's lecture, took notes, studied hard, and took tests. It was different here. It was allowed and natural for the students to raise their hands and speak while the professor was speaking to express their opinions. I was most surprised by the active interaction between professors and students. I was embarrassed at first, but soon I got used to the teaching method.

While spending a semester at RAC, I was able to grow in many ways in my academic field. Among them, the activity that helped me the most was ‘presentation’. When I give a presentation in front of others, I get nervous, and my face turns red easily. Even giving presentations in English which is not my native language was difficult at first. However, I was proud to see myself giving a presentation with confidence, listening to feedback from the professor and other students, and improving little by little. I am sure that this experience will be of great help to me when I work in a company in the future.

In addition to studying, I also traveled a lot while staying in Europe. I traveled to more than 10 cities in Germany and 13   other European countries. While traveling in Europe, I was able to make fun memories by trying representative foods from each country, visiting tourist attractions, and taking photos. It was interesting to compare the similarities and differences in the mood, food ingredients, and language of each country.

While staying in Remagen for a semester, I received a lot of help from many people. I will never forget this help. My precious buddy who not only helped me buy necessities at first but also took me to the Christmas market and gave  me good memories, my roommate who understood my fear of bugs and helped me adapt to Remagen for 6 months, my Korean friend who gave me mental support, my Indian friends who prepared an unforgettable surprise birthday party even while they were busy with their assignments, my Language Tandem mates who ate delicious Korean food together at a Korean restaurant and gave me a new perspective on Korean culture, the professors who sincerely helped me develop. I couldn't mention them all, but I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who helped me over the past 6 months.

Although it was an exchange semester that I had a lot of worries about, I feel proud and confident that I completed it successfully. This is how I achieved my first international milestone. Living abroad was an amazing and valuable experience. I am glad to share my valuable experience with RAC in Remagen. I am happy to return to South Korea full of precious memories. I cherish all the relationships I met here and would like to continue them in the future.

Goodbye, Remagen, and RAC!