Posted by: scottishboomerang | November 27, 2007

Information for International Students.

 I was speaking last week with an incoming graduate student at Handong International Law School, my graduate school, about the dearth of information available to international students.  The more prominant universities in Seoul proudly display not only the profiles of their international students on their websites but also their contact emails, so that a prospective student may pick their brains in private about their experiences studying in Seoul, but, in spite of having one of the largest (if not the largest) ethnic diversity of any university in the country, Handong seems remarkably reticient about putting future students in touch with former ones. Speculation would be fruitless at present  as to why this might be but finding the university, even after you have been accepted, and settling in, can be somewhat of a problem. Handong’s administration tends to assume that you either know already or will be able to work it out.

Where is the University?

Handong’s website implies that the campus is “in” the city of PoHang in Eastern Korea. The reality is that the campus is north of the town, up the mountainside and nestled in the rice paddies of the east Korean countryside, near the village of Hunghae. The surrounding countryside is actually quite beautiful, and somewhat reminicient of Machu Pichu. If you are looking on Google Earth, look for Hunghae, north of PoHang, and then scroll east until you find the University.  

Handong Global University is about forty minutes by bus from downtown PoHang. There are regular shuttle buses to the city, but there is no doubt about it, living at Handong is so much easier if you have a car.  So, if you have a drivers licience, make sure it’s International, and bring it anyway even if you don’t plan on driving. Three years of the shuttle bus may change your mind, and there are some lovely beaches nearby that can only be reached if you have a car.

How do I get there?

You can come by train but you have to make several changes and this will be problematic if you have a lot of luggage.  The easiest and quickest way is to come by plane, so make sure you arrive at a time where you can make the domestic connection (you need to go to a different airport).

Plane

When you arrive in the country, you will come in at Incheon Airport. You then need to change a little money when you get in and take a shuttle bus frm Incheon Airport to the local Airport at Gimpo.  These go regularly from the front of the terminal building, and the limosiene bus is actually very nice. Ingore the taxi drivers waiting to fleece you at the front of the building.  It’s best if you do NOT arrive on the weekend as flights are more difficult to get to PoHang. You buy your plane ticket at Gimpo (if this has not been arranged by your travel agent back home) as you would a bus or train ticket. Flights to PoHang take 1 hour, and cost about W 80,000.  Beware of the times though – the last flight on a Sunday is aroun 3pm and the planes are notorious for being canceled. PoHang’s airport is a miltary airport and is subject to special rules.  Korean Air and Asiana both fly to PoHang: I prefer Asiana: the seats are roomier for larger posteriors (;))

Once you land in PoHang, the easiest and quickest thing to do is get a taxi straight to the university – a long ride which will set you back about 25,000 Korean Won but is the best thing if you have a lot of bags. If you are really short on cash, as many students from the developing world are, take a taxi to downtown (say “Shin-ae Yukori”) for about 7,000 won and from Yukori there is a shuttle bus that will take you to the university.  (I will upload a map here at some point).

By Bus.

From Incheon, get a shuttle bus to the Express Bus Terminal in Ganam, Seoul, and once there you can buy a bus ticket to PoHang. You must struggle with heavy bags from the bus-stop to the terminal building, so make sure your luggage is as compact as possible. The bus to PoHang is regular and it takes about 5 hours. Once in PoHang, take a taxi to “Shin-ae Yukori” and get the shuttle bus to the campus from Yukori.

Ladies, please note, if you are arriving on your own you should not expect any chivalrous behaviour from the men in Korea, no matter how much you are struggling ( they will stand and watch you while smoking though).  You must be able to manage your bags yourself.

Arriving:

Try to extract from the Handong Administration your Room Number and Building (most Internationals are in I-house). Don’t arrive on the weekend, it’s harder to find your way. Look up  Handong on Facebook and make contact with them, giving them your estimated time of arrival and getting their mobile phone numbers in advance so you can let them know when you have arrived.  When it comes to international students, Handong’s administration is positively fridgid, so the other foreigners are doubly supportive of new arrivals. Currently (though this may change) during the official university vacation period all students staying on at the university live in Dormitory 2 (also known as __________ Dormitory) so its best to get the taxi driver to drop you there.  Handong’s Dorms will be the subject of another post.

Contacts:

If you are an incoming international student to Handong Global University, please send a comment at the bottom of this email. I won’t publish it, but I will resond to you by email.  Handong International Law School also has a community on Facebook, which I suggest you join.

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Responses

  1. How did you come to be so familiar with Handong? I’ve been looking into the school and stumbled across your blog.


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