💼 Bachelor: Computer Science and Engineering
⏳ Sep 2022 — Present
🗣 English, Korean
✅ Student Visa
🤓 9,700 Students
🌏 14% International
This is an interview of Alina from Uzbekistan, who is 19 years old and currently studying at Sogang University in Korea. The interview was conducted by a Borderless Ambassador @frenliss.
Background & High School
I was born in Uzbekistan and attended school there as well. I studied at a government school for 10 years, and in my final year of high school, I decided to transfer to a private school that better met my academic needs. We had "majors" in my private school, so I specialized in the Tech major, which meant that I spent most of my time studying physics and math.
How I prepared for Korean Universities
Being Korean, I considered this a primary reason for applying to universities in Korea. Another reason was that I saw a lot of potential in Korea’s tech scene. Since Korea is one of the most technologically advanced countries, I thought that studying Computer Science and Engineering there would help me become a better specialist. I knew that I wanted to study abroad since the age of 10 because my parents made it clear that there are more opportunities and possibilities if I studied abroad. However, I chose my career path only when I was 15 years old. I started learning English at the age of 7, and when I was 14, I went to an English academy to improve my skills. Aware of the importance of knowing math and physics for my major, I spent my last year of high school studying physics for five hours a day and math for two hours a day.
Academic Stats and Extracurriculars
My GPA was not perfect; it was 3.8 on a 4.0 scale. Usually, you need to provide a school transcript for the last three years of high school, so my final-year GPA score was 4.0, but the other two years were slightly lower. I had a lot of school certificates that I used to apply, such as certificates for being a good student and for taking part in school events and competitions. However, the most important were the certificates from my private school for being the top student and a certificate I received for completing programming courses at a coding academy. I also obtained many certificates for winning English writing contests and English Olympiad competitions. I included an IELTS score of 7.5 and a Korean language certificate from the Korean language school I attended as well. However, I did not include the TOPIK score since my Korean level was not very good; I had achieved level 2 when I was applying. I also included recommendation letters written by teachers from my private school.
Universities I applied to
I applied to the Computer Science and Engineering Undergraduate program at Sogang University (서강대학교) and Sejong University (세종대학교). I avoided applying to the SKY universities (top three in Korea) because I was afraid of not getting accepted, and I did not have a TOPIK score, which I later regretted a lot. However, I ended up getting accepted into both Sogang and Sejong Universities. I chose Sogang because it offered free Korean language courses for all undergraduate international students. (Sogang University’s Korean language program is considered the best in Korea, especially for those who want to advance their Korean speaking skills.) Initially, it was also ranked higher; however, I do not think this is the case for 2023. Sogang is also considered a great university for business and economic studies, and since I was considering applying for a secondary major in economics, the choice was obvious.
The most important parts of the application
I think that when applying to Sogang and Sejong, the motivation letter and recommendation letters played the most significant part in getting accepted. My recommendation letters were written by Physics, Math, and English teachers, all of whom held PhD degrees in subjects related to my major. The motivation letter is important because it helps the university understand your goals. I also met students who were rejected from Sogang despite having similar statistics as mine, so I believe it was primarily due to the quality of the motivation letter.
Receiving my acceptance
I remember being terrified of not getting accepted, unsure if I was even good enough to be accepted. I first received the admission letter from Sejong, and I remember crying because of how nervous and happy I was. I was able to relax a little before receiving my second acceptance letter from Sogang. I was just as happy when I found out that I had been accepted to both universities.
Korean Language Courses
It is a requirement at Sogang University for all international students whose Korean language level is below 4 to complete two language courses. So, in the first year of my studies, I completed level 2 and level 3 at the Korean language school at Sogang University.
Study Abroad Impressions
I really enjoyed pursuing my bachelor's studies while taking Korean language courses, though it was overwhelming and difficult. I was also limited in terms of time and credits because the language courses occurred every day from 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm and cost me a total of 12 credits. Sogang University recognized how much this interfered with our major studies, so starting next year, they will implement Korean language courses that are less stressful and more flexible in our university curriculum.
Advice for students
For those who want to study in Korea, I would advise focusing on language proficiency exams and preparing a strong personal statement.
Sogang University is one of the top private universities in Korea
Learn more about Sogang University on their website