I have wanted to write how it has been going in university and what kind of courses I'm taking this semester, but school has kept me so busy! We had our midterms last week and must say that they drained all energy from me. Unfortunately cherry blossoms decided to bloom the same time when I needed to read for my exams, so I didn't have much chances to admire them. :( They bloom for just a week or so, so now I'll have only these mediocore pictures of blossoms when they weren't still in full bloom. I wish I would have had even few days to take easy after the exams, but no hope... New readings are already lining up and I had a presentation to prepare. Anyways feels like this semester has gone super fast, so I think it will be same for the rest seven weeks!
Only thing I want to say about my last semester is that it was difficult. My GPA dropped alot so that's of course dissappointing. I did very well in half of my courses getting A+, and not so well in the other half... Anyways, I learned a lot and got very interested of Korean politics. Because my last semester felt so heavy, I decided to take a bit less credits this semester. One of my professors told us to think about studying as a full time job, and that's how I try to do. She thinks that every class hour requires 1-3 hours of self studying and that's actually how I've been studying these two years. For one three hours long class I study at least three hours in a week by myself, but some classes require a lot more. Because I try to study carefully every week, reading for exams is usually just kind of review time for me. I'm not trying to learn totally new concepts in one night, but that method might work better for some. I'm taking five courses this semester, Korean language, Korean Adoption, Microeconomics, Politics of Global North, and International Commerce Law.
Korean language class is really easy because it starts from the very basics. There won't be any new grammatical things for me, but I have learned new vocabulary and it helps not to forget what I've learned before, so it's not totally useless to take. I also wanted to take this class to show that this kind of class is wanted, because this is the first time that our major is offering a Korean class. Korean Adoption must be my favourite class. It's on Monday morning, but it goes super fast because it's so interesting and very conversational class. Our professor is lovely and I'm happy to do my readings. I'm surprised how much I have learned about Korea via studying how they handle their adoption. Microeconomics is intermediate level economics class with my favourite economics professor, but it has been a bit challenging. It's not a math class, but we do use some algebra in it. And I don't know any algebra! I'm super lucky that my husband does, so he has been teaching me. I'm very interested of economics, but because it has been a bit difficult for me recently and the more you learn the more math you need, I've been thinking that I might not take many classes of economics after this course... Politics of Global North is also very conversational class taught by one of our most beloved professors among international students. The readings can be a bit heavy, but there's also been some very interesting articles.
International Commerce Law is my first law class ever and I'm doing it for my minor. It's basicly just about how World Trade Organization works. Our book is difficult to read, but my professor is one of the best ones I've ever had, so I enjoy this class a lot. Our professor organized us to groups for homeworks, but my group meets weekly to study together. We were six people at first, but now we are only three people... I think two students dropped the course after first weeks, and one wanted to change group because she felt difficulty to use English. I felt pretty bad about that because I felt that she left the group because of me. Because of me my group is forced to talk about the topic in English even though it could be easier for them in Korean... But the girls in my group are really lovely and I think our group is working now really well! I'm scared of the midterm results because our exam wasn't exactly easy, but even though I was suspicious of if a study group would really be useful, it has been great to study together and we really do help each other to understand the material better. I've been also so happy and excited that I got a change to share my study experience with Koreans, because I don't have close Korean friends. This is also the first class I'm taking where I'm the only foreigner out of 60 people, so I've felt a bit out of place... I wouldn't say that it's fun to be the only one who has weird name and who looks totally different, but at least now I can really experience how it feels to be a racial minority in a very homogeneous environment. I didn't have realized before how much comfort it gives when there's other foreigners in the same classroom, even if you wouldn't even know them. Just the existence is comforting.
Even though studying is hard and very time consuming, this semester has been pretty nice. After studying here almost two years I have lots of students I'm familiar with in my classes. And because those people who I already know know also people who I don't know, I've been glad to got to know many new people this semester. I might still not have close friends, but I'm happy that I have classmates who I can talk with in class and people who I can text and ask about issues related to school if I have something on my mind. I think I have mentioned this before, but one thing I love about studying in Korea is how we have students and professors from all over the world. I'm able to learn new perspective from others and we can talk even about very serious issues without judgement. There is some things I can't write on my personal facebook page or someone will attack me or get offended, but if we talk about those same issues in class that won't happen. And before any Finn gets offended about this too or suggest that I think that I'm somehow better than Finns are because I prefer this kind of setting, I want to remind that I'm a Finn too. This open studying environment just feels free and comfortable for me, and you are free to choose your very own way to live. I'm happy in my academic multicultural bubble.
I've also begun to think that maybe I should try to change my mindset a bit about what I think are good grades and what not. Because I did very well in my first year, I started to think that B is a bad grade and means total failure. I also personally know students who have been able to get perfect 4.5 GPAs and who do really well in everything what they take, so I've been comparing myself to them. But is it really that bad to get a B? Getting a B means basically that you have understood 80-85% of the topic, that's not too bad, right? I've felt extremely embarrassed and ashamed to talk about my grades after my transcript didn't have only A and A+ on it. I never got top grades before I started my university, but now I'm extremely harsh to myself and too ashamed to admit that I might have gotten some other grade than A. So here comes my confession that is really hard to make, and I hope I wouldn't have to experience ever again: I've got a B of some of my course. I'm not a top class A grade student anymore. :(