Friday, June 1, 2018

Studying Abroad | JAPAN vs. KOREA, SEOUL vs. DAEGU


During my high school days in Nigeria, I have always had the thought of studying abroad especially in Asia and specifically Japan because of technological advancements in the field of electronics and electrical engineering. By this period (2013) Korean companies like Hyundai, Kia and Samsung compared to Sony, Toyota and Honda were still gaining momentum in my country (Nigeria). So I wasn’t that interested in going to Korea. However, during my first year in the University (in Nigeria), I got to learn more about Korea through a friend studying over in Korea (Daegu).

The more I learnt the more engrossed I became. So at the end of my first year in the university a once in a lifetime opportunity presented itself. I had tried my luck for the Korean Government Scholarship Program for undergraduate studies (KGSP), and was selected. So I had to quit my university and start all over again so I could follow my passion.

KNU from atop the Global Plaza
Kyunghee University Seoul campus (My language Institute)

Through this program I was able to study Korean AT Kyunghee University for about a year before moving down to Daegu to my university.

             While applying for the KGSP-U program (embassy track), you have the choice of any 3 universities, hence any 3 cities you possibly want to live in. Knowing so little about Korea, I decided to choose 3 random cities and Universities (and Daegu and Seoul was one of my choices). Now after passing the preliminaries and gaining admission in both Seoul (capital) and Daegu, it was time to make a choice between both (that’s when the internet came in). I ended up choosing KNU in Daegu instead of SeoulTech in Seoul. These are several reasons why I chose Daegu over Seoul;

Map of Korea showing major cities circled
Looking at the map, you will find that Daegu is in between Seoul and Busan. If I am going to be living in Korea for years, I wanted to live where it is easy for me to travel to other megacities of the country with easy and for cheap (yeah, I like cheap things:)). So Daegu was the obvious choice for me. You can easily get to Seoul, Busan and even Daejon by Train or Bus with little or no transfer (I hate transits).

Kyunghee University on a snowy day (2016)

Daegu is one of the cities that receives minimal snow and rainfall (I guess), makes it an ideal city for me because I don’t like too much snow. Yeah, it is beautiful and all that but it makes it difficult to walk around and get deliveries from food stores:)

Like I said earlier I like cheap things:) if you are like me wanting a vibrant city but a bit laid back than Seoul, then Daegu is for you. Since I wanted to live alone, I know living in the Capital city is suicidal because like every other capital in the world, housing and amenities is always more expensive. In Daegu you enjoy what it is that makes a megacity but without the huge price tag that usually comes with it.


A trip to Ipab namu Habitat

Daegu is mountainous and filled with even shares of both natural vegetation and mountains, hence making it a home for hiking lovers. Also being located in the southern part of the country helps when it comes to pollution compared to Seoul. This is not to say there is no pollution in Daegu.


Night Photography
Farm land

If you don’t know what cyberpunk is, I suggest you watch any of the “Ghost in a Shell” series. Daegu being an urbanized city means it has a lot of skyscrapers with neon lights all over, hence a heaven for cyberpunk or night photography lovers (which I am). On the other hand, moving away from the center of the city also graces you with plentiful fresh air from natural vegetation and farm lands. 

Graduation from Intermediate Language class
 In conclusion, Daegu is just Daegu. Less populated than other megacities, moderately decent expat community, nature, good universities and lots more. After considering all these and weighing the odds with living in Seoul, I chose to live in Daegu and I have not regretted that decision. Thank you for reading:)!!

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