Annyeong haseyo! Do you want to study in Korea? We can help you! Here you will find information about schools, costs, how to apply, Korean language, scholarships, working in Korea etc.
I have worked with Korean Universities since 2010, visited many schools around the country and helped hundreds of students to study in Korea. It is a fantastic country to experience and study in. In this article, we will try to answer all the common questions about this exciting study destination. Don’t hesitate to fill out an info request form if you want help to study in Korea.
Why study in Korea?
During the last ten years, Korea has become one of the most popular destinations for international students studying in Asia. It is attractive, trendy, and has a lot for a newcomer to indulge in and explore. We see a “Korea Wave”, a global phenomenon, with the increasing popularity of K-pop, Korean-dramas, and Korean fashion. Apart from the pop culture influence, Korea is the leading force in the digital technology industry, being one of the most innovative countries with a highly Internet-connected society.
For a food lover, great Korean food is not restricted to the high-end restaurants but can also be easily found from its vibrant street vendors. Food in Korea is not only price friendly, but also healthy and rich in taste. In Korea, traditional Confucianism from ancient China meets the influence of American and Japanese modern culture.
There are also a lot of practical factors that make studying in Korea a great choice: living costs are cheaper than in many other developed countries, the tuition fees are reasonable and affordable. With its economic and political upheaval, modernized Korea is famous for its good quality of education and a high standard of health care. It is a safe and secure country with good travel connections to neighboring countries. Trips to China, Japan, and the rest of Asia on weekends or holidays add more perspective to the experience of living and studying in Korea.
Schools and educational system in Korea
As in most countries in the world, Korean students need to finish 12 years of schooling through primary school (6years), middle school (3years), and high school (3years) to enter tertiary education at universities and colleges. As in the US, universities offer 4 years bachelor degrees and 2 years master programs followed by doctoral programs. There are also vocational schools and junior colleges with a lower threshold of admission.
An academic year in universities has two semesters: spring semester from March-June and fall semester September–December. Semesters are usually 15 weeks long.
Study options for international students in Korea
To study in Korea, international students can choose from the following options:
- 1-2 study abroad semesters taught in English as a visiting student (if you are enrolled in a university in your home country).
- Korean Language programs short summer courses or 10-60 weeks semester programs at Korean universities.
- Degree programs taught in Korean and/or English covering a wide range of subjects.
Korean language is essential for culture integration. Without knowing Korean language daily life in the local society is difficult and inconvenient. Knowing Korean at Topik 3 level or higher is often a prerequisite for degree programs in Korea since even degree programs taught in English often include some classes taught in Korean
Therefore most international students start their studies in Korea with language learning at the Korean Language Institute (KLI) of one of Korea’s many universities. There are also a few private Korean language schools, but unlike the university KLI’s private language schools cannot sponsor a student visa. So if you want to study in Korea for three months or longer the universities are your best bet.
Korean language programs in universities consist of 4 quarters a year (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter), with 10 weeks each quarter. You usually have language classes 4 hours per day (either in the morning or afternoon), five days a week. We will talk about Korean language levels and how to reach those levels later in this article.
We can help you with language courses, study abroad semesters and degree programs in Korea! Fill out an information request to get help.
How much does it cost to study in Korea?
The universities in Korea charge the same amount of tuition to both domestic and international students, in order to bring more foreigners to study in Korea and to create an international academic environment.
Private universities are more expensive than public universities. Programs like Medicine, Engineering etc. cost much more than humanity programs. Except tuition fee, newly enrolled students also need to pay a one-time entrance and/or enrollment fee at the beginning of their program. Students usually pay once or twice per year.
The wide range of annual tuition for undergraduates is 4,000-20,000 USD, depending on universities and programs, with an average of 11,000 USD. Scholarships are available majorly offered by universities and also from government entities. The chance to get one that covers a part of the tuition fee is rather good, but you will need some money of your own to pay for the remainder of the tuition fee and to prove that you have the funding needed to get a student visa to Korea.
Language programs are more affordable, with a cost of 1,300-1,600 USD per 10 week semester.
Relatively low living costs for food, transportation and accommodation makes studying in Korea feasible and practical. School canteens provide cheap and good quality meals at a couple of dollars. Groceries in supermarkets are not only full of options but also have very good prices. A monthly cost of 300 USD on food is reasonable if you are not too careless with your budget. Big cities like Seoul and Bussan have good public transportation networks, efficient, cheap and environmentally friendly. Public transportation is cheap, if you stay in the city where you study you will get by on a couple of dollars per day. Internet and mobile service is of high speed and low rate. International Students Medical Insurance is mandatory, see our recommendations below.
Working as a student in Korea
To work part-time in Korea international students on a student visa must apply for a permission for certain extracurricular activity from the immigration service. Students in language courses cannot apply for it until after 6 months of study. Official approval from your school is necessary apply for the work permit.
With a permit students are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week (30 hours per week on postgraduate programs). University students with TOPIK level 3 or above have an easier time finding jobs and they can work without limitation during school holidays.
The most common part-time job is working in shops and restaurants, but those jobs can be hard to get if you don’t speak decent Korean. Hourly rates for a simple job like a waiter or cashier is about 9000 won – 10,000 won (about $8 USD). Jobs as a tutor or English teacher pays better and are also popular among international students. Hourly wage is about 25,000 won – 40,000 won ($25-33). It should be noted that there are some jobs you are not allowed to take on a student visa, you are for example not allowed to work in the manufacturing industry.