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UEL students studying in South Korea experience Olympic buzz

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Country offers study abroad students numerous academic and cultural opportunities

A group of University of East London (UEL) undergraduates studying abroad in South Korea will get a front-row seat to the upcoming Olympic Winter Games, which take place in February in the nation’s county of Pyeongchang.

Patrick Noakes (pictured far left, standing), a 22-year-old BA Business Management (Marketing) student, described the opportunity to study in South Korea as an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 
He said, “I chose to go to South Korea because Korean culture is so uniquely different to UK culture.

“I’m in the heart of Asia, so if I want to travel to China or Hong Kong, it’s only a short flight away for me. I’m planning a trip to Japan later this year.”

Fellow UEL students say they’ve also enjoyed the travel aspect, with trips to Bangladesh China, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore under their belts, as well a boost for their professional and personal development.

Patrick and his UEL peers are spending the year at Korea University in Seoul.

South Korea is ideally suited for business students like Patrick. It has the fourth largest economy in Asia, and is one of the world’s leading financial centres. 

Patrick said he is having the time of his life, and he enjoys meeting Korean students as well as students from the United States, Sweden, and Japan. 

He said, “We have great discussions about each other’s cultures.” 

According to the South Korean Ministry of Education, the number of international students in the country has increased from 12,314 in 2003 to 104,262 in 2017. The government has set a target of welcoming 200,000 international students annually by 2023.

Along with his business studies, Patrick has been immersing himself in Korean language and culture. He said he can now read Hangul, the Korean alphabet, and he has made trips to small villages and the infamous Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which boarders North Korea.

He said, “One of my best experiences so far was going to the DMZ, as I’ve watched many documentaries and newsreels about it. I couldn’t ask for more, really.”

Patrick and the other UEL students will enjoy the buzz of the Winter Olympics. The opening ceremony is scheduled to take place 9 February. 

UEL has an established study abroad programme which gives students the opportunity to spend a term or a year at universities in the US, Australia, and across Europe. 

Patrick said, “I would recommend that any UEL student take the opportunity to study abroad. It’s one of those experiences that you will never forget. 

“I’ve made new friends from across the globe. I would not have been able to achieve this without the help of the UEL study abroad team who have helped me every step of the way.”