Want to Study Abroad in Korea? 14 Things to Expect

Studying abroad is a great experience, especially if you’re interested in a foreign culture and language. And Korea is an awesome destination for anyone looking to expand their horizons. If you’re thinking about studying abroad in Korea, here’s 14 things you can expect about universities in Korea!

1) Boy oh boy do schools want you!

Korean universities are becoming increasingly competitive when it comes to enrolling foreigner students in attempts to meet global standards. Foreign students are a good source of cash flow for universities and also can improve the university’s image on a global scale. Universities are also allowed to accept as many foreign students as they want, whereas the Ministry of Education sets quotas for how many Korean native students can be enrolled. This means that foreign students are unlimited cash cows; they want your money! However…

2) You gotta speak Korean

Unless you are wanting to attend an exchange program or are getting your masters, you will need to have a decent level of Korean proficiency. Most Korean universities will want you to have a TOPIK (Test of Proficiency in Korean) score of at least 4 or better (which is the equivalent to intermediate proficiency). For masters programs it’s pretty much the same, but some will give you a bit of wiggle room depending on your intended field of study (like if your major is going to have something to do with English, Korean Language, or English education). Even with that…

3) Between 25-30% of your classes will be taught in English

Yes, they’ll be taught in English, but they’ll be taught in English by Korean professors. This is true of every major you could possibly choose (Korean Language possibly being the only exception). These professors will be teaching in English, but might not have the best English, so Korean proficiency will still benefit you in the long-run when you ask your fellow students for help. The main motivation for many Korean students to learn English is to either obtain a good TOEIC score or to just be able to understand what the crap their teachers are saying in lectures. On the bright side…

4) Tuition and housing are, comparatively, cheap!

Especially if you are coming here from the United States. The average for one year’s tuition in a Korean university is 6.7 million won (approx. $6,000). For on campus housing it will only cost you about 700 thousand won ($625). Compared to an average tuition cost of $22,000 for one year of college in America and suddenly learning Korean and getting your butt to this side of the planet just became a LOT more reasonable!

5) Not all Korean universities are created equal

Every Korean high schooler goes to sleep thinking of three letters and three letters only: S.K.Y. These letters stand for the traditionally top three universities in Korea: Seoul National University, Korea University, and Yonsei University. Though for your major one of the SKY might not be the best, a degree from one of these three schools (especially SNU) will have you pretty much set for a successful life in Korea. These schools are also fierce rivals (particularly KU and YU, always the bridesmaid) while all other schools in Korea are constantly held up to their standard.

6) The freedom of college life.

Life as a Korean college student is an intense balancing act. Korean students have become extremely accustomed to a life of studying non-stop after high school. Come college time many of them are living outside of the house for the first time and/or suddenly have WAY less pressure on them to constantly be studying and taking classes. This means one thing: partying. Korean college students party just as hard and possibly more often than the students in your home country. But this partying system also leads to…

7) Peer pressure from upperclassmen

For the very first time in their entire lives some of these students are experiencing power. Korean high schools rarely mix the class levels but in university being an upperclassman comes with privileges and plenty of opportunities for mischief. Underclassmen see their upperclassmen as mentors and guides and will pretty much do whatever their seniors say they should. This includes drinking and partying until the wee hours. Conversely…

Margaret has been living and working in Seoul since 2011. Originally hailing from the United States (Maine and Tennessee, to be precise) she’s more than found a home amongst the wonders of Seoul. She eats more kimbap that could possibly be healthy for her and has a bad habit of bursting into KPop songs to which she does not know even 80% of the lyrics. Check out her blog at margarettriesbeing.com for more in-depth (that is to say, rambling) articles on Seoul How-To’s, Survival Tips, and excessive use of animated gifs.


  1. Sri Nidhi says:

    Hey Guys am from India ami in 11 now.Actually i want to do my higher studies in Korea bcoz its my fav place from my childhood.So i wanna know one thing plz help me in that.Are korean collages really good ?? Can we adjust to that ?? And the other important thing is will they treat us equally as koreans ?? Please reply me i want ur suggestions

  2. irynegonzaga says:

    Annyeong ! guys my name is iryne i am 16 years of age i want to school in korea because korea is my fav place since im 7 years old plz hepl me guys to go in that place gamsamnida…:)

  3. George Nsamba says:

    My name is George Nsamba from Uganda I want to study business course in south korea any assistance is appreciated

  4. jeffrey mellman says:

    Anyone have a list of Masters Programs?

  5. Nesrine Mansouri says:

    Hello I’m Nesrine from Tunisia I want to go and study in Korea so what should I do??? Thank you for this love you.

  6. achi says:

    Hi there,
    I’m acheampong from Ghana, a first degree holder in science education and teacher. It was my innermost desire to learn chemistry to the highest level. I’m still on the search for my happiness in life as a chemistry instructor. Thank God I’ve finally found South Korea, a place of a dream come true. I’m on the search for any science and technology university in South Korea that offers a scholarship or any form of job that will enable me to pursue my course.
    Any form of help, pls?

  7. StudyinginKorea says:

    Also, there are a lot of services that help you with your application and stuff so you can get to Korea easier. I used these guys, their service is free and they seem to know what they’re doing: gogohanguk.com

  8. Saif eddine dabaji says:

    Hy i’m from moroco an i want to study in korea how can I seposed to went to korea at the very begining, and are you suporting me to get there ?
    In case I have to pay the trip, then how much money I am to have in my bank account ?

  9. saydullo olimov says:

    Hi.i am from in Uzbekistan. I am go to go to south korea for studying. I am 19 old now.i graduated mechanical leusum. How will I enter to seul university. Please help me

  10. hassan hussein says:

    Hello am hassan hussein from africa but currently workin in dubai my company wants to sponsor me in my studies for a university degree in motor vehicle mechanics i would like to come in korea universities for adegree program how do i go about it.

  11. mudsar_mehmood says:

    I want study visa land survey. I live in Saudi Arabia. My nationality Pakistani. If it’s impossible plz tell me.

  12. Mylena says:

    Me and my best friend are looking for a apartment; it seems like the “cheapest” apartment is $1,800. Housing isn’t cheap then, so the apartments that cost $625 were are they located at?

  13. swostika says:

    I am from nepal.. just want to ask u how can I apply there for bachelor’s in scholarship? ?

  14. Saltanat says:

    Hi guy’s I’m from Kazakhstan and I want to know about budget places.Please if you know some information about it write an answer. I will be grateful))

  15. Mwesigwa Ausi says:

    Am mwesigwa Ausi from uganda buh currently staying in Abudhabi would like to do international technology in south korea .Please need your assistance thanx .

  16. Ruslan says:

    Hey Guys)
    I’m an 18 years old High School student from Uzbekistan. Are you able to send me any information about scholarships at Korean universities.

  17. Irene says:

    Greetings from Greece!
    I am 14 years old and I was very interested in Korea for a very long time. If someone can tell me please, approximately what amount of money do I need to save up until I grow up so that I can pay for a visa, accommodate in the country and study there? I want to have enough time to save up some money in order to being able to complete my dream. Thank you for your time.

  18. kazura jean bosco says:

    hello am Rwandan is it possible to apply in korea university? please help me.

    • Prerna says:

      you can apply to the Korean university. there`s no barrier.International students are highly demanded. make sure u learn Korean tho.

      good luck

  19. gayani weerasinghe says:

    Hi,i,m from sri lanka.i am 14 years old now.i am currently learning Korean and English.is there have any way to go to korea university by language exam?if there is have anything like that please tell me.THANK YOU.

  20. Anand says:

    I am Anand. I have completed my B. tech in Food Technology. From starting foreign culture has been attracting me very much. I want to be a part of world in my upcoming studies. So please guide me that what should I do for study as AMB student in aboard.

  21. Parastu says:

    Hi …some body help me please😢😢😭😭I want to go korea.but my father doesnot enough money to pay it.so i want to get bourse and stay free and study free.but i donot khow how can i get
    If some body khow answer me
    Thak you

  22. Hilma Inkono says:

    Hi my name is Hilma and I’m 16 years old, currently living in Namibia, having just started the 11th grade.I would like to know how I would be able to come accross a bursary that would allow me to study in Korea.My current field of study Is science field and I am thinking of pursuing biomedical engineering. Can u pls recommend something!

  23. Jullian Tigga says:

    Please,I really have the passion to complete my studies in one of the university of korea,but we are not financially owk,if anyone can be of help to sponsor me on a scholarship, I would not let you down,I promise. Really wish we were rich enough to study in places we really want to,but no..probably in my next life,but am happy with my family.that is all that matter right?…. Need help please.

  24. Farhat says:

    Hi Am farha, Am 18 years, can I as if I can study highschool in korea.

  25. feranmi says:

    Hi am Feranmi from Nigeria i want to study in Korea university, hope i wont experience hard time and do they like nigerians

  26. Esther says:

    Hi am Esther from Nigeria, I want too study in Korea please hope
    I will not experience any difficulty there

  27. RJF says:

    do i really need to learn to speak and write and write Korean?please tell me….

  28. Odeng says:

    do you know school/university in korea who accepts students who already finished the course and already a licensed one but wanted to study again?

  29. Tok Hui Mei says:

    Hi, thanks for the guide given. But I would like to know if it’s possible to enrol into the Seoul National University without IELTS and TOPIK, taking the exam only after the enrolment. If not, is there any way to take the test without going to Korea? As I’m from Malaysia and going there would be quite troublesome.

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