By Sarah Warren, Program Advisor
The South Korean city of Busan has a lot to offer, ranging from the pristine beaches to the bustling city atmosphere. But where else can you go while abroad on a semester or summer program in Busan? ISA is proud to offer excursions during each program term, many of which are included in the program price!
So, where can you go?
Your program in Busan will actually begin in Seoul! All ISA South Korea students will have a Bridging Cultures Program (BCP) that takes place in Seoul. This is a great way to get to know the city, from learning how to use public transportation to exploring major cultural sites in the area. You’ll also get to meet the ISA students who will be studying in Seoul, so it’s the perfect opportunity to make friends before your program begins. You might even be able to travel together with some of them during your free time.
Once the BCP is finished, you will head to Busan to start your program.
The Joint Security Area/Demilitarized Zone
Exploring the Joint Security Area and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a unique experience. The Joint Security Area is a section of the DMZ, which is between North and South Korea. There’s a lot of history to explore here, and you’ll be able to see first-hand the physical separation between the two countries. South Koreans must stay south of the border at the DMZ, and North Koreans must stay north of it.
ISA students will go together on a tour, which includes passing through several security checkpoints and a short briefing before entering the Joint Security Area. You’ll also be able to visit one of the incursion tunnels into South Korea, so if you’re a history buff, you won’t want to miss out!
Tongyeong and Geoje
These two cities are located much closer to Busan, and they’re famous for their beautiful views and relaxing atmosphere. While you’re here, take a minute to stop and smell the sea breeze while relaxing and getting away from the city atmosphere. Whether you spend your time at the beaches or a local park or anywhere between, you’ll have lots to discover in these laidback towns. You’ll also want to be sure to eat some of the delicious fresh seafood in the area, which you can purchase in the markets!
This “museum without walls” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and deservedly so. With ancient remains and archaeological dig sites to explore, you’ll be amazed by how much Korean history you’ll be able to see. Not only can you explore the city during this excursion, you’ll be able to go hiking in the nearby Mount Namsan Belt or stroll in the Anapji royal pond garden. Gyeongju was the capital of the Silla Dynasty over a thousand years ago, so there is no doubt that you’ll feel the rich history during your visit to the ancient city.
Tokyo, Japan (optional)
Though this excursion is an additional cost, ISA recommends this excursion if you want to get to know the culture of another country while studying abroad. Tokyo is a bustling metropolis that grew from its humble beginnings as a fishing village to become the capital of Japan. Spend a weekend in the city with our ISA Tokyo staff and explore all that the largest metropolitan area in the world has to offer. From food to shrines to shopping and more, there’s something for everyone to discover. You can sign up for this excursion once you’ve applied to the Busan program!
Busan is a great program choice for students wanting to explore South Korea with excursions built into the program price (with Japan at an additional cost). What hidden gems will you find in each spot?