Office of Study Abroad

Profile: Felix Hsieh '24

Felix Hsieh

Major/minor: Economics and Business majors

Study abroad program: Korea University Exchange Program, Academic Year 2022-2023; Brandeis in Copenhagen: Business and Economics in Denmark, Summer 2021

Reason you chose this program: I wanted to experience learning in a completely different system and also take advantage of the opportunity to travel to a country I have never been to before. In order to fully immerse myself and get a more full experience I decided to take a whole year abroad as an exchange student.

Favorite class: My favorite classes I took there were an Econometrics class and an International Finance course (from an economics perspective). They were both quite intensive and required me to learn new skills that I would not have at Brandeis. For example, they use a programming system called Matlab to do economic analysis instead of R, like at Brandeis, so I had to learn an entire new language. In addition, we did not have similar courses available at Brandeis.

How did you incorporate your Brandeis areas of study into your study abroad experience? I needed a lot of credit for my majors, so almost all my courses had to do with fulfilling credit for my majors.

Housing situation: In the first semester, I lived in the dorm. The dorms were quite nice, though there are two options. One building was built much more recently, so the facilities were a bit better, and the other building had a free gym that the other did not have access to. In either case, the dorms have anything a student would need. There is even a nearby convenience store located right next to the dorms. My second semester, I was unable to get a dorm room (they are competitive), so I had to look for off campus housing. Luckily for me, in Korea that is quite easy to find. There is a housing system called a Goshiwon that is quite common in Korea that is cheap and meant for students. In the neighborhood there are a lot of these options available. Even if you were to live in a different part of the city, the public transportation within Seoul is amazing so it would not be that big of an issue.

What were some parts of your identity that you thought about while considering study abroad that other students may want to talk to you about? Coming from an Asian background, I was able to adapt to Korean culture quite comfortably because there are many similarities in East Asian culture. But that isn't the case for many people and I have heard many stories from other students abroad about their troubles to adapt to Korean society. If there was something I would suggest people really consider before going to study abroad at any place, is to understand that there are things that you will not like and there are things that you thought were one way, but turns out they are not like that. Keep an open mind.

Favorite memory: My favorite memories were hanging out with my international friends and Korean friends. We would go the park for a walk or play some basketball at the public courts, or sometimes we would just explore the city/other parts of Korea.

Greatest challenge: My biggest challenge was meeting all new people and having to make new friends (I spent two semesters and some went back to their home universities after one semester). I tend to be quite introverted so it was difficult at first, but once I was able to find my friend group I had the time of my life in Korea.

What you know now that you didn't know before: Cherry blossoms come out before the leaves.

Fact about Korea that you think people would be surprised to learn: Charlie Puth was everywhere. I heard his songs at so many different cafes and sometime just on the street from a speaker outside different outlets.

“Once I was able to find my friend group I had the time of my life in Korea.”

Felix Hsieh '24