I still remember the first day that I have arrived to South Korea. After an exhausting 30 hour trip I have finally arrived at the Incheon International Airport (rated best airport worldwide for 9 years in a row). To get to the university I still had to take a approximately 3 hour bus trip to Daejeon. The bus I got on to was by far most luxurious bus I have ever been on. But I will never forget that first impression I had of Korea when the bus left the airport. The airport is located on an island so in order cross this enormous 230 meters tall and almost 20 km long bridge. And from the top of the bridge I saw my first Korean sunset. I was not that late at all however the sun seemed so small behind that thick layer of smog.
I can say that South Korea a lot of cultural differences and things that you have to get used to, however it has been almost two months since I am living here and I can say that I am already starting to feel like at home. But it definitely took a while to get use to some of the habits here. The best thing about Korea are the people. Koreans never seize to amaze me how polite, respectful and caring they are towards others. And no matter how strange it may seem but every single Korean that I have met is like that with no exceptions. From that point of view this country is just wonderful. From a more touristic point of view the country has definitely a lot things to see however due to recent wars and occupations most of the touristic attractions will probably be modern. Even tough some traditional old Korean temples can be found in national parks but most of the cities are completely newly rebuild and very modern. The transport in Korea is very good I can probably reach any point in Korea from Daejeon within 3 hours by train. A lot of other countries a reachable withing a few hours by plane for a relatively cheap price for example Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Philippines. Food in Korea is relatively expensive to buy in a supermarket however luckily eating out is cheap and delicious so that is not a problem. You can easily find a meal for under 5 pounds whether it would be Korean BBQ, noodles, chicken or traditional Bimpap or Kimchi. Overall
After already a week of living in Korea, I think I have a good idea of what to expect from this university during the next year that I will be here. I can definitely say that this is a very advanced university in many aspects. The main difference that I feel with the University Of Southampton is that there is a much closer relation between the professor and students. The teaching atmosphere reminds me of school: the classes are small mostly 20-30 people, which allows much more individual teaching. Overall I have to say that studying here is much harder. Each subjet has 2 lectures per week however lectures here last 2 academic hours. In addition to that there is an insane amount of homework every week. Once you hand in one homework you immediately receive a new assignment so there are always a lot of things to do. All of the professor that are teaching to me are very competent in their field, furthermore all of them have at least a few years of teaching experience in american university, their for their English is close to perfect.
The main KAIST campus is located in the Daejeon city. Which is a relatively modern city with a very nice ecological feel to it. The city has quite a few universities and research centers therefore the atmosphere is of a very student like city. Regarding the KAIST campus I can only say one thing its ginormous. The campus is so big it is actually surrounding a mountain in the middle of the campus. Knowing that KAIST in only a technical university the size of the campus is really impressive. One of the main reasons for that is that every student at the university is provided with student accommodation on campus. Accommodation here is surprisingly cheap. As an exchange student I do not get much option for choice however I pay around 300 pounds per semester for my room. The main disadvantage of the KAIST halls are the fact that there are no kitchens, therefore it is impossible to cook any food and you are always forced to eat out. However the campus has a lot of subsidized cafeterias, coffee shops and stores so its not that big of a problem once you get used to it. Each hall has its own shop, study rooms and sports center. In addition to that the university has a lot of sports facilities on the campus and most of them are free for students. I was particularly impressed by the basketball arena KAIST has. The campus is also very nicely maintained and has a lot of gardens to walk around. Another nice touch that I particularly enjoy is that there are these called practice rooms in different building of the campus that have instruments in them and you can you come and freely play.