Getting ready for.. Busan!

Busan or Pusan? Either way, HEYA THERE! :D

Grabbed from Tumblr

I mentioned previously that there will be more updates this coming year and as the title imply, I will be heading to Busan very soon! This time not for holiday but as an exchange student at Pusan National University!

With about 34 more days to go (I downloaded a countdown app!!), I can’t exactly tell you exactly how happy, excited, nervous and scared I am!! But one thing for sure, I want to jot down every single bit of my exchange life in this blog since this is the first time I’m leaving home for so long and this is a dream I had been dreaming for years!

I went through quite a bit difficulties before I was confirmed a spot for exchange. Not gonna hide anything here but I am neither the first class nor average jane when it comes to schoolwork. Those glory polytechnic days were long over and university so far have been a struggle for me. -gasp-

The application started in May and there were tons of research to be done since it’s important to know what modules can be transferred back to school. I was given 5 choices and it wasn’t easy narrowing down since SMU have so many overseas partners.

Europe or Korea? Europe or Korea? Europe or Korea?!!!!???

Some told me to follow my dreams of studying in Korea while some told me to see the world because Europe is really amazing and since it’s a once in a lifetime thing, why not fully utilize the trip?

I went ahead and chose 4 schools from Europe and 1 from Korea. After a few weeks I submitted my application, I kinda regretted my choice because in my heart, I really wanted to go to Korea… I’m fickle like that -_-. Nevermind, I told myself to wait and see how.

The nomination results started coming in at end of July. Those were the internship days where my colleagues and I were busy discussing and waiting for the nerve-wrecking results. BAM! The results finally came. But there was nothing for me.

Disappointed? Hmm, a little.

Honestly, I did not have very high expectation about my application so I wasn’t that disappointed. But gotta admit seeing how all my friends got accepted do make me feel a little bit sour… My friends were telling me to look on the brighter side and reapply but I was hesitant about it because I knew if my first application didn’t get through, I would really want to apply for a summer school in Korea instead.

Just a few days before year 3 started, the office blast out an email for the rest of the disappointed souls who didn’t get a spot in the first round.

And there was 1 more spot left for PNU.

Wow. What are the chances even? Korea has become a hot spot for exchange programme over the past few semesters (I blame it on K-pop and dramas) so most of the time, there wasn’t even a chance for the 2nd round of application. Definitely feeling very lucky but uncertain at the same time because I knew if I don’t get it this time, I will be damn disappointed. But like what my friends said “Aiya, just try. No harm what!”

Submitted my application like a sad hobo again and I was told that the results will be out 2~3 weeks later. But I received an email 2 days later.

. . . . . . .

I was offered an exchange placement at Pusan National University !!!!!

I was half asleep when I saw the email so I pinched myself (literally) to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Indeed, it wasn’t a dream!!!!!! Crazily unexpected good news because I was expecting to get either my 2nd or 3rd choice! Was super touched and happy so I started screaming and jumping around like a crazy woman. 真的很感动!!! 没想到我也有这一天!!!

And most importantly, I can’t believe that my dream is coming true?!! So my advice to the rest who’s applying for exchange this coming semester, don’t give up till the last moment!!!! 화이팅!! ^_^

Have been prepping for my exchange since last August. The amount of forms to fill up is… madness. Am listing the whole process step-by-step and hopefully this can be a guide to future students who are heading to PNU for exchange! :)

1) Acceptance package from PNU

The most important thing you ever need before proceeding to any other things. Once SMU nominates you, PNU will have their own application process for the exchange students. Initially, I was supposed to hand in the hardcopy forms but later, they changed it to the online version. On top of the application, you have to submit a bank letter stating that you have at least a certain amount of $$ in savings to fund your exchange.

It took about one month for the school to process and approve my application. By then was about the end of November. There should be no problem most of the time unless the school you input for your application do not offer courses in English. I feel that it’s best to clear the business electives/language overseas since they are more common and likely to be offered in English.

PNU will then send SMU the acceptance package/documents which is needed to for the application of your visa. It will take about 3 ~ 4 weeks.

2) Visa

I applied for a single entry D-2 visa. It cost me $76 and do remember to bring enough cash as they do not accept nets.

Documents needed:
1) Visa application form which can be downloaded HERE
2) Certification of Admission from Partner University
3) Acceptance letter issued by Partner University (Optional. It depends on your partner university as the Certification of Admission is the most important document you need)
4) Visa letter issued by SMU (1 month validity. You must apply your visa within one month based on the date on the visa letter)
5) Passport (The embassy will keep this)
6) One Passport Photo taken within the last 6 months
7) Past 3 months bank statements. If you are self-financing, just your own bank book/e-statement will do. Otherwise, you will have to bring your parents bank book/e-statement too. Remember to go to the bank and get them photocopied (bank book) + chopped/verified before heading to the embassy. E-statements can be pretty troublesome because some banks might charge. The amount of $$ you need in your bank depends on the partner university.
8) Birth Certificate if your parents are sponsoring your exchange.

Note: They only allow either you or your parent’s bank statements as financial proof. If you are getting a loan from school/friends/relatives, do deposit the money in your bank account one month in advance! Also remember to bring down the original documents and a set of photocopy of all the documents.

If everything is okay, visa will be ready in 4 working days.

3) Apply for dormitory + checkup 

Very simple process for PNU. Just login and apply. Payment to be done via international wire transfer. There’s some fees involved too but I will have to check with the bank since the payment period starts tomorrow. PNU also requires all students who stay in the dormitory to do a health check-up.

If you applied for exchange alone, it’s good to mix with those who applied alone as well since you will need to indicate who you want as your room mate 2 weeks after the payment period close.

4) Insurance

A requirement by SMU and PNU. Pretty fuss free but there were a lot of plans and brands to choose from so do your research! I was deciding between MSIG, Chartis and AXA and I went ahead with the MSIG since it was much cheaper!

5) Course register

After SMU nominated you, you need to either add more courses to the existing worksheet you have created or create a new worksheet. You can check out what was offered in the previous year to have a rough idea on what modules are available.

I’m still waiting for PNU to release the courses available. Apparently, all exchange students will be assigned a buddy who will help to register the courses for us. Am hoping that the courses I mapped in my online worksheet will be available this semester!


This is all I remembered so far! I have never been to Busan so I’m really excited to see what the city has in store for me!! Will be doing more research on what I can do and what’s good to eat there. So far I only heard of the beaches and awesome seafooood!

But for now, it’s time for me to get ready to fight the pre-Monday blues… T_T


6 thoughts on “Getting ready for.. Busan!

  1. Aaah, that’s great for you! Hope you can enjoy a lot and really can tell you everything from Busan to us, I want to know much about Korea in order to go in the future. Even more!

  2. Hi!

    Your tips are really helpful! I chanced upon your blog while researching for which uni to apply for my exchange and from your posts i can tell that you’re really enjoying your time in Korea and it seems like PNU is really attractive (and probably the most feasible out of all the other Korean Universities because i expect the demand to be really high for the few famous korean universities sigh).

    That said, i was wondering if getting an average grade (B+) will be a good gauge to safely say that i stand a chance in applying for this uni?

    1. Hi NX! :)

      Thanks for dropping by! You’re absolutely right about that! As compared to the other universities in Seoul, PNU is really much less competitive and Busan is a really nice city to live in! :)

      I can’t really advice on the grade part because I applied this exchange through my home university and it depends on the number of good students (high GPA) applying for the university in that semester. If there lots of good students, I know the chances would definitely be lower! But as far as I know, PNU does not have a GPA requirements for exchange students so I don’t think it’s that difficult!

      I hope this helps! Let me know if you have anymore queries! :)

      – Siew Yee

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