Studying an undergraduate degree in South Korea will allow you to work in a country with a high standard of living and a rapidly developing economy. South Korea is particularly strong in the technology and computing sectors, with courses in these areas highly popular.
How can you study a degree in South Korea?
Universities in South Korea are split between private and public institutions, with the majority of international students choosing to study a degree in South Korea attending private institutions. There are more than 400 different higher educational establishments in South Korea, offering a variety of undergraduate degrees.
You can also study at the following types of institution in South Korea:
- Undergraduate universities
- Industrial universities
- Technical colleges
An undergraduate degree in South Korea will normally take between 4-6 years to complete, depending on whether you opt to convert your undergraduate degree into a Masters degree. However, degrees like medicine and dentistry will take six years to complete.
South Korea is used to welcoming international students, having increased international enrolment to more than 83,000 foreign students from 171 different countries by 2010.
Tuition fees vary depending on the type of university and course you choose to study. However, you should expect to pay between USD$2,000 -$3,000 per semester for most courses. The exception is medicine – this is likely to be nearer USD$4,500 per semester.
Immigration and visas
In order to study a degree in South Korea you will need to obtain an Overseas Study (D-2) visa, which you will only be able to get after you have been offered a place at an approved institution. You will also need to be able to demonstrate the following:
- Letter of acceptance from your university
- More than $10,000 in your bank account to prove you can support yourself
Proof of your undergraduate qualification
Your passport must also be valid for the duration of your studies in South Korea. You will also only be able to work a maximum of 20 hours per week as part of your student visa requirements.
Accommodation and living costs
The cost of accommodation in South Korea varies depending on where you choose to study your undergraduate course. There are two main types of accommodation while studying:
- University accommodation – such as halls of residence
Private accommodation – House and flat rentals
In general, South Korea is one of the more expensive places you can choose to study for both tuition fees and living costs. As a guide, a room in a flat in Seoul will set you back around 400,000 KRW (£240) per month.
Another option which will help you offset costs is to stay with a local family in a homestay. This is a great way to brush up on your Korean, as well as immersing yourself in local culture. However, you should be aware that etiquette and social practices in South Korea might be quite different from what you are used to.
Living costs: The cost of living in South Korea varies quite sharply from city to city, with capital Seoul being the most expensive place to live. Food, eating out and clothing is likely to be your biggest expenses, but the amount you spend will depend on the type of lifestyle you want.
Rent per month:
- One bedroom apartment (city centre) – 800,000 KRW (USD$750)
- One bedroom apartment (outside city centre) – 500,000 KRW (USD$470)
- Three bedroom apartment (city centre) –2,150,000 KRW (USD$2,000)
- Three bedroom apartment (outside city centre) –1,200,000 KRW (USD$1,130)
How safe is South Korea?
South Korea is a safe country with little crime and a visible police presence. International students coming to South Korea will be very unfortunate to encounter crime while studying in the country.
While relations with North Korea remain tense, the likelihood of an attack on mainland South Korea is extremely low.
Students should always take care to protect their own personal safety in order to avoid becoming victims of crime. They can do this by:
- Avoiding carrying around large amounts of money
- Staying in groups, especially at night, and never walking alone
- Not making valuables obvious
- Always having a route home planned and never getting into unlicensed taxis
- Being wary of strangers
Being careful of traffic
Staying in touch
Staying in touch when your child is studying on the other side of the world might seem daunting – but there are ways you can talk regularly that don’t have to involve long distance phone calls and a nasty bill at the end of the month. Here are a few tips:
- Skype – the free video calling service can be downloaded within seconds, and will allow you to talk face to face anywhere you have an internet connection
- Blogging – maybe encourage your child to keep a blog of their adventures overseas, so that other families members (such as grandparents) can keep up to date
- Local sim cards – it is also a good idea for your child to buy a phone with a local pay as you go sim card when they arrive so that they can text and call home without running up a bill
What to do next
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