Do you wish to learn how to study in Korea? Korea is one of the best Asian countries where the educational system is above average. Fortunately, the country has multiple scholarships available for international students, which is why you should prepare for these as early as now. Since many are interested in this country, the competition is fierce! Let’s learn more about this in the sections below.
Korean Education System
South Korea is considered one of the most educated and developed countries around the globe. Both the domestic and international students have to compete hard to get scholarships in South Korea because the merit is exceptionally high. On top of that, universities do not just look at the academic standing of the student applicants. Still, they also thoroughly check your extracurricular activities and the other unique things that you can bring to the table.
Many international students fond of K-pop and Korean dramas often question, “how to study in Korea?”. They need information about Korean Universities, student visa policies, language courses, and more. You need to know the first thing about the Korean education system. Let’s learn about that in the sections below.
The Korean education system includes primary, secondary, vocational, and tertiary levels. These are the primary four levels found in most schools and colleges in Korea.
Homeschooling is a significant preference for most parents in South Korea, but as their children turn 6, they must be sent to school to attain primary education. Primary education includes basic subjects like English, Arts, Mathematics, Music and other subjects.
Most students also know martial arts and other skills because of the variety of courses offered. Some parents also allow their children to get extra classes such as learning a foreign language or piano and dance classes. This education comprises a time period of 6 years.
The middle school involves three grades. Students during middle school have to study major subjects, which include subjects like Korean, Algebra, Geometry, Social Sciences and Studies, Natural Sciences, etc., and courses taught by different teachers.
At this point, students are expected to be more serious and vigilant about their studies. In many schools learning the Korean language and culture is the topmost priority. This is also the time when the exams are being conducted.
High schools involve three grades. Students have a competitive environment to graduate school because of the strict grading system. Due to this, they have to study and perform well in high school. To be able to attend the university of their dreams, they cannot compromise even a single second.
High school is compulsory, and it plays a vital role in one’s life. A wide range of subjects are being taught in high school and are according to one’s interest. In high school, students have to study for a maximum of 16 hours, so dinner is served in many schools.
Universities are the main source of higher education in South Korea. Korean universities are offering Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. The degrees offered are of various subjects, e.g., psychology and mechanical engineering, etc.
To get a master’s degree, an individual must have a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or greater. To get a doctoral program, an individual must have a master’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or greater.
Top Universities In South Korea
Many universities in Korea offer various scholarships depending on their specialization and need. Here is a quick guide for you about some of the renowned universities in Korea which are globally known and also offer some great incentives for international students:
Seoul National University
Seoul national university is ranked first in South Korea and 31st in the world. It was established in 1946 and is the first national university of Korea. It is located in Seoul. You can opt for both the fall and spring semesters.
This university also provides scholarship programs, and it covers full tuition fees, living expenses, Korean language learning, and medical insurance. This is also one of the few universities covering medical insurance costs, thus being an excellent choice for international students.
It consists of many academic fields like humanities, language courses, Sciences (Natural and Social), Business, Administration, International Studies, Medical, and Engineering.
Korea University is ranked third in South Korea. It was established in 1905 and is one of the top private universities in Korea. Korea University is also located in Seoul.
You don’t have to worry about your student visa and other expenses and accommodation to study abroad. It has around 29,000 students. Korea University also provides scholarships like other universities and offers these to those bright students who need financial help.
Yonsei University is ranked fifth in South Korea, another great university to study in Korea. It was established in 1957 and is a private university located in Seoul. It also has around 30,000 students.
Yonsei University also offers scholarships to international students, and international students can explore scholarship options through Korean government scholarship programs. It is also one of the sky universities in South Korea and thus becomes one of the best universities to study abroad.
Kyung Hee University
Kyung Hee University is ranked eighth in South Korea. It was established in 1949 and is located in Seoul. It has around 33,000 students. Kyung Hee university provides scholarships to eligible students.
Considering the tuition fee of the education system in Korea, there are countless scholarships provided each year. For instance, Seoul National University offers scholarships to any deserving and capable international student.
Cost Per Subject
Tuition costs on an average scale vary from 2,000$ to 10,00$, but most of the time, it also depends upon different subjects or courses. To illustrate, humanities-related tuition fees range from 1,500$ to 2,500$ for undergraduate classes and 2,500$ to 6,000$ for postgraduate classes per semester.
The total tuition fee for undergraduate programs at Seoul National University is 5,000$.
Now let us talk about rent and living expenses to study in Korea. Students’ rent is about 300$ per month, and boarding house expenditure depends on location—facilities provided by the boarding house with an average estimation of 300$ to 500$. These include basic necessities like food and electricity etc.
Most universities also provide convenient and reliable students’ residences and offer scholarships. Many South Korean universities also provide university dormitories.
Korea has a suitable and well-developed public transportation system study in Korea. For instance, buses and subways are considered low-priced and decent for international students.
Part-Time Jobs For International Students
Studying, in general, is quite expensive in the home country as well as in South Korea. So many students have to apply for a part-time job to support themselves.
For this, an international student must be in Korea for six months, and after six months of living and studying in Korea, they are eligible for a part-time job.
How To Apply In Korean Schools
There are many programs for international students in Korea and primarily for Korean language and culture exchange. Some require knowing the language, while others offer scholarships, thus making you learn the language from a clean slate.
Most of you might be curious about applying to an excellent Korean university. What makes you eligible, and what are the prerequisites which should be followed in this regard? Without further ado, let’s dive in!
When applying to Korea, there are two major categories that people opt for. The first is “government scholarships,” and the second is “university-based scholarships”. Both can be slightly different, and we will cater to each of them one by one.
Korean Government Scholarships
A government scholarship is usually an exchange program or a degree program offered to study in South Korea. It is generally with the Public universities of South Korea and aims to improve/ maintain international relations with the other countries.
Government scholarships are often fully/ partially funded. These are different from usual university-based scholarships since these can be relatively easier but require you to come back to your country and serve for some time (not all but mostly).
Korean Language Program
The Korean Language program is usually a program carried out to study Korean and learn about Korean culture. There is a proper process for each program (with slight differences), but the main things required by each program are as follows:
Step 1: Submitting The Application
Before a Korean Language Exchange program starts, the applications portal is generated, and it starts accepting the applications of each candidate. This is a crucial time as most international students often miss the deadline and thus lose their chance of applying.
Almost three months before the deadline, the portal is open to submission. You need to have detailed information about the program you are applying to, get all of your documents ready, and thus use them right away, as soon as the portal starts to take in the submission.
As much as you don’t want to believe or are told, first come, first serve as a slight effect. The early you apply for a program and the perfect your application is, the better impression of you fall on the committee, thus yielding higher chances of you being accepted.
Step 2: Screening Process
After submitting your application, you will have to undergo a screening procedure. It can be done both manually and digitally. Most programs utilize a digital screening software that scans all the applications using the most valuable keywords.
Using all the (relevant) keywords provided in the guidelines or eligibility criteria is suggested since it increases the chances of getting your application approved. However, keeping your application accurate by being honest about each detail is essential. Otherwise, your application will not be accepted.
Step 3: Tuition Fee
If your application gets accepted, the next process required by most of the programs is tuition fee payment. Some programs are fully funded. Such programs do not require this step. However, the programs which are not funded/ partially funded would require you to submit your tuition fee.
So get the tuition fee ready right after applying for the smooth working of this procedure.
Step 4: Getting Approval
Once your application is screened thoroughly, your information is checked by different procedures, the tuition fee is paid, your admission gets approved, and you get an email/ post letter congratulating you for getting the access.
Step 5: Applying For Visa
And finally, when you get done with each step, you apply for a visa, and after that, you go and study in Korea. Smooth right? Also, different consulates may require you to pass the following:
- Application Form (from the university)
- Passport copy and profile photo
- Bank statement
- Transcript/ Degree of the highest level education
- An SOP (statement of Purpose)
- Foreign Student Insurance Certificate/ Card
- Tuition Fee
If you are a student currently studying in the United States, then this is especially for you (the rest of you can move on to the next hearing). For all the US students who are serious about learning Korean, we bring your attention to an amazing opportunity!
NSLIY stands for National Security Language Initiative for Youth. It is an initiative taken by United States President George W. Bush on January 5, 2006. This is a serious learning language program for the youth in the states to acquire new skills.
There are nine languages for which this program offers an exchange, one of which is Korean. It is a fully-funded program, and the primary purpose behind this program was to ensure that the US students are gaining new language skills and cultural knowledge. So don’t just apply for it to enjoy some days off because you would have extensive courses to take ahead.
Under the umbrella of NSLIY, many programs are offered for US citizens for Korean. Some of the major ones include Korean Summer Program and the Korean Academic Year Program. Depending upon the depth of information/experience you wish to get, you can apply for both a seasonal exchange and a year exchange program, depending upon the depth of information/ experience you wish to get.
Here are some of the eligibility criteria for applying for this program:
- Being in your middle teens (15-18) generally.
- Being in the high-school at the time of applying.
- Having a 2.5 GPA.
- Being interested in learning a specific language.
- And several other requirements can be found on the official website.
The best part about applying for these programs is that the eligibility criteria are not really strict and rather flexible. You are also not supposed to know the language already. Instead, the program offers a fresh start to language learners. Here are some of the eligibility criteria for applying for this program:
University-based scholarships are provided to the students based on the specific protocols set by each university. There is a lack of central admission authority in Korea, and therefore each university has its own rules and different deadlines.
Many universities in South Korea require you to know the official language of Korea already, while some provide the course after going to Korea. Mostly the university offers the program degree twice a year; fall semester and spring semester. There is also a university application form that you need to fill and thus submit.
The highest number of programs that people opt for in Korea are master’s degree programs. Here is a guide about how to apply to university-based study abroad scholarships and study abroad programs in South Korea
Choosing The University
It is important to choose a university before getting into the other details. The first step is to have extensive research about all the universities in South Korea. This can take up to a month or so. Once you have all the information you need, you can choose a university that seems the most suitable for you (culturally, professionally, and financially).
Points to consider before choosing a university:
- If you prefer to live in an area with all sorts of technological advancements and a living city then you should most definitely opt for a degree program in the advanced cities of Korea like Seol.
- If you want a laid-back life with nature all around you then you should opt for the universities with lesser technological advancements.
- Check the universities’ placement policies and course curriculum. Choose the university which has the policies aligning with your professional as well as academic goals.
- If you can afford the tuition fee and the expenses of living in South Korea, then you should choose any university of your liking.
- If you cannot afford the university tuition fee, then you should look for various scholarships offered by the university to study in South Korea.
Submitting The University Application
You should always keep the deadlines of your chosen universities in mind. You get around four to five months before the deadline of the application. In that time span, get all of the essential documents ready and apply for the program way before the deadline.
If, for some reason, the deadline has approached and you still haven’t applied, then don’t lose hope. You can apply anytime. For Spring Semester, the deadline usually falls in October. As for the fall, the deadline is typically date in April.
There is not the ultimate information about each university since some could have different criteria, but this gives an insight into general deadlines in the universities of South Korea.
Call For The Interview
Once a Korean university approves your application, you might get a call for an interview for further assessment. The penal usually asks basic questions about the goals and ambitions and the overall achievements in the interview. They could also inquire about the financial stability to know if you can afford the tuition costs.
Once your application is approved and your interview goes well, you could receive an email of approval from the university. Now you are one step away from getting accepted into the university of your liking.
University Fee Submission
Since you have passed all the major milestones, now is the time for the easiest one. You need to submit your fee. This could also include your living cost and student accommodation expenses if you wish to stay in a dorm.
If you have a better place in your mind (house of a friend/ relative or an apartment), you don’t have to worry much about the fee. We will suggest you go to the dormitory if it’s your first time going to South Korea because in one semester you can get some experience and then move out.
Congratulations, you have gotten accepted to the university of your preference. A message like this might be dropped to the mailbox outside your house or beneath your door. This is the confirmation of a new beginning. But before you celebrate, do remember that you need to submit essential documents to be officially considered. Some of the standard documents are listed below:
- University Application Form
- Bank Statement
- An SOP (Statement of purpose)
- Transcripts/ Degree of all the levels of education obtained till the time
- Proof of Language Proficiency Tests (TOEFL/ TOPIK)
- Documents of Identification Proof
- Student Visa
- Medical Insurance Certificate
Signficance Of Passing The TOPIK
TOPIK stands for Test of Proficiency in Korean. Some universities also require a significant score in TOPIK to study in Korea. For instance, if you want to get into Konkuk University, then you must have proof of passing TOPIK.
You are expected to get a good score with a level 3 or higher if you are applying for undergraduate programs and a good score with a level 4 or higher if you use it for graduate programs (master’s degree).
Some Korean universities provide lectures in English. Therefore if English is not your native language, you might need to take some English courses. If a graduate school in Korea requires you to know English, you should start learning English and Korean to avoid problems.
That’s it for this blog. Hopefully, you know all you need about “how to study in Korea.” You can now efficiently study in Korea using this blog as your essential guide and commencing your research. You can check the websites by the Korean government, any graduate school of your preference, or the official websites of your country, which can assist you further about how to study abroad.
Learning Korean could seem complicated for international students, but don’t worry because we got you covered here at Simya Solutions. Since we understand where you are coming from, we created the Ling App, a unique language learning platform built for total beginners. Inside, you will find courses for over 60+ languages, including Korean. Also, we have created tons of blogs that you can review from time to time, like the 16+ Easy Ways To Learn Korean By Yourself and Is Korean Hard To Learn?