In this guide, we are going to provide all the information an international student will need to study abroad in Korea. It’s going to be a very lengthy article as we want to cover all the relevant details pertaining to studying in Korea. So if it’s your dream to study abroad in Korea, but you don’t know how to go about it, why not sit tight and read through this guide. I promise that by the time you finish reading this guide, you should be able to go about the admission processing by yourself plus other things you will also learn.
Before we start let’s briefly look at the reasons may international students choose to study in Korea.
Why Study Abroad In Korea
Korea has become one of the most popular destinations for international students studying in Asia during the last ten years. It is appealing, fashionable, and offers a lot for a novice to enjoy and discover. With the rising popularity of K-pop, Korean dramas, and Korean fashion, we are witnessing a global phenomena known as the “Korea Wave.” Aside from pop culture, Korea is a dominant force in the digital technology business, as one of the most inventive countries with a highly connected citizenry.
Great Korean food is not limited to high-end restaurants; it can also be found easily from the city’s bustling street sellers. Korean cuisine is not only affordable, but also healthful and flavorful. Traditional Confucianism from ancient China meets with the American and Japanese modern culture in Korea.
There are numerous practical reasons why studying in Korea is a good idea: living costs are lower than in many other affluent nations, and tuition expenses are reasonable and inexpensive. Modernized Korea is known for its excellent quality education and health services, despite its economic and political turbulence. It is a safe and secure country with excellent travel links to its neighbors. Weekend and holiday trips to China, Japan, and the rest of Asia broaden the perspective of living and studying abroad in Korea.
Read also: How To Study Abroad With Scholarship
Educational System In Korea
To enter higher education in universities and colleges, Korean students must complete 12 years of study, including elementary school (6 years), middle school (3 years), and high school (3 years). Universities, like those in the United States, provide four-year bachelor’s degrees, two-year master’s degrees, and doctoral programs. There are also several vocational schools and junior colleges that have a lower admissions requirement.
A university academic year is divided into two semesters: the spring semester, which runs from March to June, and the autumn semester, which runs from September to December. Semesters normally last 15 weeks.
The ability to communicate in Korean is necessary for cultural integration. It is tough and inconvenient to live in the local society without knowing Korean. Even degree programs offered in English generally include some classes taught in Korean, therefore knowing Korean at the Topik 3 level or better is often a necessity for degree programs in Korea.
As a result, most overseas students begin their studies in Korea by learning Korean at a Korean Language Institute (KLI) affiliated with one of Korea’s numerous institutions. There are a few private Korean language schools, however unlike the university, these language schools are unable to sponsor student visas. Universities are your best options if you wish to study in Korea for three months or longer.
Korean language programs in universities are divided into four quarters (Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter), each lasting ten weeks. You normally have language sessions for four hours a day, five days a week (either in the morning or afternoon).
How To Apply For Admission
Most universities admit students twice a year, four months before the start of the semester for university courses. Language course applications are typically more flexible, beginning quarterly or even more frequently, and with simpler application procedures. Because Korea lacks a centralized admissions authority, each school sets its own deadlines, which can be seen on the institution’s website. Although some universities now accept applications online, making the process more quick and simpler to track, many colleges still require more basic paper applications.
For your convenience, we’ve listed the general procedures and application document lists for language classes and degree courses, respectively, but keep in mind that each institution may have its own requirements.
University Admission Application
- The deadline for submitting an application is four to five months before the start of the semester (October for Spring Semester, April for Fall Semester)
- Interview & Audition
- Notification of Admissions result
- Payment of tuition fees
- Sending out of admission letters
- Application for visa
Documents for admission include:
- Admission application form
- Proof of funds in the form of bank statements, sponsorship letters etc
- Academic documents like High school diploma, Bsc certificates, transcripts, statement of purpose, etc
- Copy of International passport
Korean Language Training Application
- The deadline to submit an application is 1-3 months before the start date.
- Screening of applications
- Payment of tuition fees
- Approval of admission
- Visa processing
Documents for admission include:
- Application form for language training
- Copy of International passport
- Proof of funds, usually $10,000 in bank statement or more
- Proof of student insurance
- Application fee
Cost Of Studying In Korea
In order to attract more international students to study abroad in Korea and promote an international academic atmosphere, Korean universities charge the same tuition to both domestic and international students.
The cost of attending a private university is higher than that of attending a public university. Medicine, engineering, and other science-related programs are far more expensive than humanitarian activities. In addition to tuition, new students must pay a one-time admission and/or enrollment fee at the start of their program. Typically, students pay once or twice a year.
Annual undergraduate tuition ranges from 4,000 to 20,000 dollars, depending on universities and programs, with an average of 11,000 dollars. Scholarships are mostly awarded by universities, although they can also come from government agencies. You have a decent possibility of getting one that pays a portion of the tuition charge, but you’ll need some money of your own to cover the rest of the tuition charge and to demonstrate that you have the necessary funds to obtain a student visa to Korea.
Language programs are more cheap, costing between $1,300 and $1,600 per ten-week semester.
Cost Of Living In Korea
Studying in Korea is possible and practical due to the relatively inexpensive living expenditures for food, transportation, and lodging. School canteens offer inexpensive, high-quality meals for a few bucks. Supermarket groceries not only feature a wide range of alternatives, but they are also reasonably priced.
If you are not too stingy with your money, a monthly food expense of $300 USD is appropriate. Seoul and Busan, for example, have excellent public transit systems that are efficient, inexpensive, and ecologically friendly. Public transportation is inexpensive; you can get by on a couple of dollars per day if you stay in the city where you study. High-speed internet and low-cost cell service are available. Medical insurance for international students is required.
The Korean Language & TOPIK Test
South and North Korea, as well as the Korean ethnicity living in Northeastern China, speak Korean (or Kugo as it is known in Korea). Hangul, the Korean alphabet, was designed scientifically in the 15th century and is often regarded as the most rational alphabet ever devised. Hangul has 24 letters, 14 consonants, and 10 vowels. Syllables are made up of consonants and vowels. A word is made up of several syllables. Hangul is a reasonably simple language to pick up, and once you’ve mastered it, you’ll be able to read Korean words even if you have no idea what they mean.
Korean, like the other East Asian languages, is not an easy language to learn for Westerners. However, if you devote a year to learning the language at a Korean institution (KLI), you should be able to meet the entry criteria for degree programs as described below.
Entry Requirements For TOPIK Test
Korean colleges require students to have a particular level of Korean language proficiency in order to be admitted to degree programs. For undergraduate programs, you must pass TOPIK level 3 or above, and for graduate programs, you must pass TOPIK level 4 or above. If the program you’re interested in is entirely taught in English, a TOEFL score may suffice; nevertheless, many degree programs contain some courses taught in Korean, even if English is the primary language of instruction.
TOPIK is a Korean language test that includes reading, writing, and listening. The examination is intended to assess the language competence of foreigners who speak Korean as a second language and wish to use it in academic and professional settings. The test is divided into three levels, each with two grades, ranging from Level 1 to Level 6, the most advanced level. The levels are generally equivalent to European Framework levels A1-C2 in terms of content. A year is divided into six examinations.
In general, one level equals ten weeks of study in a KLI, so getting to TOPIK level 3, the minimal level for university admission, takes three quarters of a year/nine months. However, if you wish to continue on to the undergraduate program afterward, we recommend that you take at least one year to ensure that you attain level 3 and make your college studies easier. Our partner Konkuk University gives degree students scholarships depending on their TOPIK scores. More information about the TOPIK test can be found here
Student Visa For Study Abroad In Korea
Many nationalities are eligible for a visa waiver to attend a short language course in Korea for up to 90 days. Some nationalities have the option to extend their stay by another 90 days. You will need to apply for a visa, usually a student visa, if you wish to study in Korea for a longer amount of time. This process begins with you applying to and being accepted by a Korean school, as well as paying your tuition cost. The school will then send you the documentation you’ll need to apply for a visa at the Korean embassy in your own country and receive it.
You apply for a visa at your home country’s Korean embassy. The address, website, and other contact information for the Korean embassy in your home country can be found here.
If you have any questions concerning the visa application, contact the Embassy or your school. The documents that are typically asked at the embassy when applying for a student visa or a working vacation visa are listed below. Please keep in mind that this information may vary depending on embassies and nationalities, so double-check the instructions on the Korean Embassy’s website in your country for further information.
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Documents Needed For Visa Application
- Your passport in its original form, as well as a photocopy of the photo page. The passport must be valid for at least six months after the intended date of entrance into Korea.
- CoA or Confirmation of Visa Issuance documentation from a Korean university (Ensure you fill out section 2 and 3.5)
- Visa application fees
- You’ll also need to fill out a Health Condition Report form, a Quarantine Consent form, and a Covid test during the pandemic (before arriving in Korea). For more information, contact the Korean embassy.
- 1 passport photo (not needed for students with a Confirmation of Visa Issuance)
- A completed visa application form (for the most up-to-date version, visit the embassies’ websites).
- Some embassies may additionally want proof of financial support and a high school certificate, so check with the Korean Embassy or Consulate to see what documents they require.
- Additional paperwork may be required if you participate in a university exchange program.
Work And Study In Korea
To work part-time in Korea, overseas students on a student visa must apply to the immigration agency for permission to engage in specified extracurricular activities. It is not possible to apply for it until after 6 months of study in a language course. It is required to obtain official authorization from your school in order to apply for a work permit.
Students with a permission are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week (30 hours per week on postgraduate programs). Students with a TOPIK level of 3 or higher have an easier chance obtaining work and can work whenever they want during the school holidays.
Working in stores and restaurants is the most frequent part-time job, however these employment can be difficult to come by if you don’t understand Korean well. A modest job as a server or cashier pays between 9000 and 10,000 won per hour (about $8 USD). Tutoring or teaching English pays more and is popular among overseas students. The hourly compensation ranges between 25,000 and 40,000 won ($25 and $33). It should be noted that some jobs are not permitted on a student visa; for example, you are not permitted to work in the manufacturing business.
Student’s Accommodation In Korea
When studying in Korea, international students have the option of living on or off campus. Living on campus is easy, but living off campus provides you more flexibility; therefore, both options have advantages and disadvantages, depending on what is most important to you.
If you don’t mind sharing a room with another student, staying in a dorm on campus is an excellent option. University dorms are frequently well-equipped, with amenities such as a gym, study and social areas, a restaurant, and so on. The dorm rates are low, the cafeteria food is inexpensive and convenient, and you can stroll to class. For a semester at Konkuk University, a shared dorm room costs around 2 600 000 won (about 2100 USD). In the cafeteria, a dinner costs only 3,500 won (2.9 USD). With that stated, living in a student dorm entails adhering to a set of rules, which may include guest limitations, curfews, and a possible closure time during the holidays.
We recommend locating off-campus housing if you value your privacy and freedom, or if you want to live anywhere you wish. You have the option of staying with a host family or sharing an apartment.
Top Universities In Korea
Here are a list of top universities in Korea you can actually apply to:
KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology)
According to the new rating, KAIST – Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, which is located in the research and technology capital of Daejeon, is the number one university in South Korea and ranks 40th in the world. KAIST, which was founded in 1971 as the country’s first research-oriented science and technology institution, had some of the highest scores in the measures of publications per faculty and citations per faculty member. KAIST has a campus in Seoul, which houses its business school, while being primarily headquartered within the Daedeok Innopolis, a cluster of high-tech research institutes, government offices, and venture enterprises.
KAIST is listed in the top 100 universities in the world for 13 courses, with particularly excellent rankings in materials science, various disciplines of engineering, and computer science.
Seoul National University
Seoul National University (SNU), which is ranked second in South Korea and 36th in the world, was created in 1946 by the merger of ten institutions, making it the country’s first national university. It received the greatest academic and employer reputation rating in South Korea, and it also boasts one of the country’s best alumni networks, with SNU grads accounting for one in every four CEOs of the top 100 South Korean firms. It also boasts an amazing list of international collaborations, involving 289 universities from 58 nations.
Seoul National University was ranked among the top 20 universities in the world in 41 topics, including chemistry, mechanical engineering, pharmacy, sports-related topics, and more.
Korea University (KU) was founded in 1905 and today has over 37,000 students enrolled on two campuses, ranking third in South Korea and 86th in the world. It was ranked first in the country for its international research network and second for the percentage of international students, with roughly 11% of students coming from outside the country.
Korea University is now ranked among the top 50 universities in the world for 33 courses, including accounting and finance, business and management, chemical and mechanical engineering, modern languages, politics, and social policy and administration.
Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)
Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) is the country’s oldest university, dating back to 1398 when it was established by royal edict under the Joseon Dynasty. It is ranked fourth in South Korea and joint 100th in the world. SKKU has a long-standing partnership with industry giant Samsung, and is now implementing ‘Vision 2020,’ a plan aimed at ensuring that SKKU produces creative global leaders and world-class research to benefit the country and society, among other things.
Mechanical engineering, library and information management, and materials sciences are all among SKKU’s top 50 global topic rankings.
Yonsei University is ranked fifth in South Korea and 107th worldwide this year, with a flawless score for its incoming exchange student proportion. Yonsei University was founded in 1885, making it one of the country’s oldest universities. It now has 38,569 students enrolled at its main campus in Seoul and secondary campus in Wonju, with 4,647 overseas students.
Yonsei was ranked in the top 50 in the world for three subjects: dentistry, hospitality & leisure management, and social policy & administration, according to the most recent rankings by subject.
Pohang University of Science And Technology
Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), which is ranked sixth among South Korea’s top universities and joint 83rd in the world, excels in indices that measure research output and impact (papers per faculty and citations per paper). The 400-acre POSTECH campus, located on the outskirts of Pohang, was South Korea’s first bilingual campus and features numerous cutting-edge facilities, including the Tae-Joon Park Digital Library, a 25,000-square-meter structure with a collection of over 355,000 books.
Hanyang University, also in Seoul, is ranked seventh in South Korea and joint 151st in the world in terms of university rankings. Hanyang also operates the ‘ERICA’ (Education Research Industry Cluster at Ansan) campus in Ansan, Gyeonggi-Do province, in addition to its flagship campus in Seoul. The ERICA campus is a renowned school for industrial cooperation, employability, and start-up help, with nine colleges and 42 departments.
In the most recent topic rankings, Hanyang was listed among the world’s finest in 28 categories, including the top 100 for civil engineering, architecture, business, chemistry, materials sciences, sports-related courses, and pharmacy.
Kyung Hee University
Kyung Hee University, which is ranked eighth in South Korea and joint 264th in the world, receives perfect scores for both indicators measuring inbound and outbound exchange students, as well as a very high score for the international students indicator, indicating that internationization is one of Kyung Hee’s strengths.
Kyung Hee, regarded as one of the country’s most prestigious private institutions, was also ranked in the top-150 universities for hospitality, development studies, modern languages and linguistics in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018.
Ewha Womans University
According to the latest rankings, Ewha Womans Institution is a private women’s university based in Seoul that is ranked ninth in the country and joint 319th in the world. Ewha was founded in 1886 by a Methodist missionary, and the word ‘Womens’ in its name has a special meaning for the institution, as it emphasizes the university’s great regard for each student’s distinctiveness and individuality. With 22,600 students, Ewha has become the world’s largest women’s university.
Sogang University, founded in 1960 by the Society of Jesus, is one of the best research and liberal arts universities in South Korea, ranking 10th in the country and joint 435th in the QS World University Rankings 2019®. Sogang, which is located in the capital city of Seoul, receives the highest score in the South Korean rankings for employer reputation. Sogang offers various scholarships to both present and new international students, with over a third of courses at its graduate school taught in English.
Scholarships For Study In Korea
Global Leaders colleges programmes at Yonsei University, South Korea
International students can enroll in Yonsei University’s Global Leaders colleges to ensure that a high-quality education is within their financial grasp. The program is now accepting applications for the academic year 2021-2022.
Yonsei University has teamed with Global Leaders College, one of its associate institutes, to deliver this application to overseas students interested in studying International Commerce, Korean Language and Culture Education, and Culture and Media at Yonsei. All qualified students from all over the world will be considered.
Yonsei Institution is a private research university in Seoul that is placed 329th in the Best Global Universities list. It aspires to train leaders who will serve humankind in the spirit of “truth and freedom.” The institution aspires to create admissions policies and mechanisms that will allow Yonsei to shape higher education visions.
Why should you enroll at Yonsei University? Yonsei University’s education is centered on strong morals, ethics, and humanism, which prepare students to critically analyze and criticize themselves throughout their life. It fosters a sense of responsibility to use love and service to help solve regional and social problems. Yonsei graduates are groomed to be leaders who value mutual understanding and respect, a cooperative spirit, and the values of love, service, and sacrifice.
SNU Global Scholarships
Seoul National University, established in 1946, offers students a world-class education as well as numerous opportunities. The university is frequently referred to as the best in the country.
What are the benefits of studying at Seoul National University? In its undergraduate, master’s, and PhD programs, SNU educates the best students in Korea in a variety of fields. By participating in an educational program that closely links to social welfare, students can explore chances for diverse social service activities. Volunteer labor, global citizenship, and human rights can all be taught to students.
GIST Scholarships for International Students in Korea
Get your bachelor’s degree in Korea! For the academic year 2021-2022, the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology is taking applications for its GIST Scholarships, which will provide financial assistance to international students.
The fund intends to encourage students to pursue master’s, doctoral, and integrated master’s degree programs in South Korea in order to advance their professional goals at the university.
The Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST) is a prominent science and technology institution and a research-oriented multiversity in Gwangju, South Korea. It is also a member of the GIST-KAIST-UNIST-POSTECH-DGIST research-oriented universities society, which consists of GIST-KAIST-UNIST-POSTECH-DGIST.
What makes The Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology a good choice? The university’s purpose is to cultivate notable scientists and engineers, promote collaborative research with industry, and encourage critical thinking among students and researchers.
Korean Government Scholarship Program
International students interested in pursuing Bachelor’s (undergraduate), Master’s, or Ph.D. degrees in Korean universities can apply for the Korean Government Scholarship Program (KGSP). The scholarship allows international students to study in Korea and pursue advanced studies at a Korean higher educational institution.
The National Institute for International Education Development (NIIED), a division of South Korea’s Ministry of Education, sponsors and manages this Scholarship Program.
After completing one year of rigorous Korean language training, it gives non-Korean academics with scholarships and the chance to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate studies in South Korea. Finally, it contributes to global development leaders, as well as bolstering Korea-friendly networks around the world.
How to apply for scholarship
Only the Korean Embassy in your home country or a participating Korean university can apply for the scholarships. All documentation relating to your scholarship application should be submitted to the Korean Embassy in your country of residency or the domestic university in question. Meanwhile, the Korean Embassy or a local institution sends qualified candidates to NIIED with all of the necessary documentation. The Korean Embassy is then notified of the final selected KGSP grantees after NIIED reviews possible candidates.
Is South Korea A Good Place To Study?
Studying in South Korea allows you to immerse yourself in a dynamic country rich in ancient history, cutting-edge technology, and magnificent natural beauty. South Korea is a wonderful alternative for those who want to learn the language or discover this innovative, economic powerhouse through their lessons. It’s also a very safe country for foreigners.
Can I study In Korea For Free?
Yonsei University scholarships allow you to study in Korea for free since, in addition to paying the whole cost of tuition, they also include a living stipend. Some Yonsei institutions, such as the Graduate School of Business, give MBA students scholarships.
Can You Study In Korea Without Knowledge Of Korean?
When you can study in South Korea without understanding Korean, your quality of living would undoubtedly suffer. If you genuinely want to study in Korea but don’t want to learn the language, I propose coming for a semester or year-long exchange program.
Is It Worth It To Study In Korea?
If you study in South Korea, you will be able to find work in a wide variety of fields. Employers from all over the world are interested in hiring graduates from Korean colleges. Furthermore, the South Korean economy is exceptionally solid, ensuring you a safe financial future after graduation.
Is South Korea Safe For International Students?
Korea is an exceedingly safe place for exchange students, despite the fact that it may be a step outside of your comfort zone. Of course, every country has its own set of dangers that students should be aware of before relocating abroad, but Korea is a very safe place for international students in general.
How Long Does It Take To Learn Korean?
If you study for 7 to 10 hours each week, it will take you roughly three months or 90 days to acquire enough Korean to have at least 3-minute talks in Korean. Furthermore, if you keep this pace for a year, you will become proficient and comfortable in Korean conversation.
How Can I Be A Transfer Student In Korea?
The applicant must have completed ordinary secondary school as well as at least two full academic years (four semesters) in a degree program at a traditional four-year institution or an equivalent bachelor’s degree program. Students who transfer in will be admitted as juniors (third-year students).
Thanks for reading till the end of this article on; How To Study Abroad In Korea. Hope we’ve been able to provide all the information you may need to study abroad in Korea.