I meant to write sooner but not only am I tired, but the internet connection here isn’t exactly reliable, which I’ll discuss in a bit.
I took the KTX to Busan from Seoul station and it took about 3 hours. It was pretty nice inside because it had a space for me to store my big suitcase and room overhead to store some carry-on luggage too. Also, just a heads up…KTX is not a bullet train. Those are Japanese and the KTX is just a Korean train line.
Anyways, I met up with another EPIK member and I helped him get a taxi to the orientation site once we arrived at the station in Busan. I was a bit worried about finding a taxi, but once you exit the station, there are some taxi drivers waiting to just escort you to a cab right away. I made sure to have the address of the orientation site on hand to show the driver and he took me there right away after stowing away my luggage. I was also very amused during the ride because many people in Busan, as well as in many other areas, have thick accents. I had a bit of trouble understanding the driver at first, but he was very friendly. And of course, he asked me how old I was and if I was married…which is natural in Korea haha.
Also, just an FYI: if you take a taxi to the orientation site, make sure that the driver drops you off in front of the dorms. I have the driver the dorm address but he dropped me off at a random spot in the university and I was left asking passerby where I was. Luckily, I found my way through the campus.
Another FYI: when you’re packing, separate your items so that everything you’d need for orientation is in one bag, and everything you don’t need immediately in the other. This is because the dorms are small and you will have to leave any unneeded luggage in a separate but secure building. If you forget an item in your suitcase that you need, you can always ask a staff member though.
Anyways, Busan University of Foreign Studies is a beautiful campus. It’s located in the mountains and has an incredible view, especially so on clear, sunny days. The only downside is that because it’s on a mountain you have to climb up and down everything. Not to mention all the stairs. And let me tell you: my legs and glutes are super sore. But, at least it’s a nice way to get in a work out! I’ll have buns of steel by the end of the week at this rate lol.
Once you arrive and finish checking in, you’re allowed free time for the rest of the day until dinner. All meals are buffet style so you’ll want to go to the cafeteria early to beat the rush. There are no other events planned for the rest of the day so I went with some people to a cafe and had some froyo at a cute cafe called A Twosome Place. To find it, turn left once you reach the main gates of the BUFS campus. I find that the left side has more to look at than the right, but I didn’t go too far so who knows what you might find if you go further?
Be prepared to feel like a high schooler once you arrive. You’re shuttled to and fro from lecture to meals. They also emphasize the many rules and regulations and you sometimes feel like the staff members don’t trust you to act like an adult. It’s understandable though because we represent not only our countries but the EPIK program as well. So to be on the safe side: just don’t do anything stupid.
The dorm rooms are a decent size and you will share a room with another person of the same sex. There are 2 beds, 2 desks, 2 chairs, 2 closets, and 1 shared bathroom. The bathroom has a shower, but no bathtub and as is common in most Korean bathrooms, the shower is connected to the rest of the bathroom. There’s no shower curtain or door or anything so the water gets all over the floor. As such, I recommend bringing a pair of flip flops or sandals you can use in the bathroom because you may or may not want to use the pair that come with the room…
The dorm has wifi, but only at the 1st floor lobby. Otherwise you’ll have to use a LAN cable to connect to the ethernet in your room. You’ll be given this when you check in (along with a few other goodies like a thermal mug, calendar, muffins, and more!).
The dorm also has a laundry room, indoor gym, and convenience store at the basement level of the dorm building. I cannot begin to express my joy of discovering that the laundry rooms here have DRYERS. Do all your laundry that you can while you’re here because it’s highly likely that this is the last time you’ll have access to a dryer while you’re here in Korea! It’s also cheap: a total of 2,500 won for 1 round of washing, drying, and some detergent and a dryer sheet.
I feel that I’ve been so blessed on my journey so far. I was able to enter this program, had no one sit next to me on the plane, met relatives who helped me with my monetary needs, and now I have no roommate. Her name tag is on my door but no one showed up and it’s the end of the 2nd official day so I guess something happened. It’s nice because I can shower when I want and talk with my parents in my room freely, but it does feel a bit empty by myself here..I’ll go into further detail about the actual start of orientation in another post, so look forward to it! 😉