STUDY IN SOUTH KOREA
STUDY IN SOUTH KOREA
South Korea is a unique blend of old and new, ancient and modern, nature and technology. You can experience a long historical landscape, full of natural beauty, with the plus side of seeing a major tech and entertainment hub in the city of Seoul
These days, South Korea has achieved popularity among international students – and for good reason! There is a wide variety of universities and programmes for students everywhere to pursue their Master’s and Bachelor’s degree programmes. Plus, living and studying in South Korea is relatively inexpensive for most people. So, going to South Korea would ensure both stunning surroundings, interesting friends, and great value.
In South Korea you have not only an endless number of options for careers, activities, cuisine, and weekend trips; you also have plenty of university options to select from. In fact, just in South Korea alone, you can discover hundreds of university options, each offering different types of training, research, and instruction that will suit whatever you are looking for.
Why study in South Korea?
While others may decide to tread a more conventional path in choosing where to further their studies, South Korea’s distinctive blend of age-old traditions and modern culture makes it a vibrant and diverse country for international students seeking a more authentic study experience that’s set apart from others.
In fact, South Korea is currently going through a cultural revival, placing it firmly on the map as an attractive option for students looking to study abroad in a dynamic and unique environment, offering outstanding research opportunities and challenging courses that are widely regarded as some of the best in Asia. But nowhere else is this more evident than in its sparkling capital, Seoul, where most of its top universities are located.
Outstanding educational rankings
According to the 2015 World Competitiveness Ranking from the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), South Korea placed 25th in the world for its competitiveness. It was also rated 4th in Asia in education, meaning that any student choosing to study in South Korea can expect to reap the rewards of a high-quality and globally respected education.
South Korea is home to a number of internationally renowned universities – Seoul National University (SNU) is one such institution, offering students the chance to study at a leading university while in a location brimming with opportunities. SNU was ranked 36th – and is the highest ranked institution in South Korea – in the QS World University Rankings 2015/16. Besides that, SNU placed 1st in South Korea and 9th in Asia as part of the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Global Universities 2016 rankings.
First-rate facilities and technical programs:
When it comes to education specialties, South Korea represents an excellent study destination for technically-minded students, as it is famed for its booming machinery, chemical and automobile industries. The country’s information and communication technology sector is also considered “one of the best in the world”, according to Forbes magazine, which added that South Korea’s success in manufacturing and exporting state-of-the-art electronics products has cemented its position as a leader in technology.
In terms of innovation, South Korea was crowned king by Bloomberg’s 50 Most Innovative Countries 2016 list, where it achieved top scores worldwide for value-added manufacturing, as well as for tertiary efficiency – a measure that looks at enrolment figures in higher education and the concentration of science and engineering graduates in each country. As an international student studying at a university, individuals are exposed to a wide variety of new and break-through technologies, giving them a considerable edge over other students when entering a modern work force.
For international students who fancy themselves as the designers and entrepreneurs of tomorrow, the world-leading research and development that South Korea can offer is key. As the country’s leading research university embodies this spirit of innovation through the promotion of global exchange, and support of path-breaking research in all fields of knowledge.
At the University, students form part of a vibrant and welcoming community, in which they are encouraged to share current ideas and theories, as well as constructing new concepts. Recent exciting research advancements have included the development of the university’ leading-edge breakthrough which combines the idea of a ride-hailing service with driverless car technology.
An affordable option for international study
Aside from gaining a degree from one of the region’s most prestigious universities, choosing to study in South Korea can offer a much more affordable experience for international students. An international student choosing to study in the United Kingdom might have to face the prospect of over US$17,000 per year in university fees, with this rising to over US$22,000 per year in the United States. South Korea, however, offers much better value. For example, SNU’s tuition fees come in at US$6,500 per year, with costs that are still lower than in the U.S., even after factoring in accommodation and study material costs.
Scholarships and grants
The most famous government grant is the Global Korea Scholarship (GKS). It fully covers the expenses of students for travel, accommodation, training, medical insurance, training materials, and other needs. The program also includes one-year language courses before starting the main program. Each year, scholarships are given to 170 students of undergraduate level (bachelor’s, associate’s) and 700 students of graduate level (master’s, doctoral).
The main selection criteria are age (up to 25 and 40, respectively) and GPA at the previous stage of education (more than 75% for admission to associate’s and more than 80% for other programs). Applications for GKS are accepted by Korean embassies in participating countries and universities accredited by the National Institute for International Education.
There is also a scholarship program for self-financed undergraduate students. Full-time students who have studied at a Korean college or university for at least two semesters and demonstrate good knowledge of Korean at the minimum of level 4, according to the results of TOPIK, can apply. Annually the Korean government selects 200 students who receive the scholarship for 12 months.
Many universities provide foreign applicants who have a high academic performance with a discount of 30-100% of the total tuition cost.
Student visa to South Korea
Student visas to Korea can be of two types:
- Overseas Study (D-2). Long-term visa for bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral studies, as well as participation in research projects at colleges, universities and professional schools.
- General training (D-4). Short-term visa for taking language courses on the basis of a university or other training in organizations that do not fall under the first category.
To obtain a D-2 visa, the following documents must be prepared:
- International passport valid throughout the entire course of study;
- A completed visa application form;
- Registration fee payment receipt (50 USD for single entry and 80 USD for multiple entries;
- Letter of acceptance from the university;
- Copy of education certificate (translated into the language of instruction and notarized);
- Proof of financial ability.
The latter may take the form of a bank statement (at least 11223000 KRW) or a document confirming the availability of a grant/scholarship or external financial support. The above list of documents is not always final. In some cases, additional documents are required.
D-2 visa is initially issued for a period of up to two years, then it is extended. Engineering students can apply for category D-2-7, which allows foreign students to stay in South Korea after graduation in order to find work.
Within 90 days after arrival, the student must visit the regional migration service in order to receive an Alien Registration Card, the cost of which is 10000 KRW. In addition, you will need to purchase an insurance (21000 KRW/month) that provides access to all medical facilities in South Korea.
Work while studying in South Korea
During studies at the universities of South Korea, a foreign student with a D-2 visa can get a part-time job (no more than 20 hours a week) for a semester and full-time during the break. To do this, you must study at the university for at least 6 months (one semester) and obtain the appropriate permission. The student will also be required to provide the employer with a valid student visa and a letter of recommendation from the school.
After graduating from a university and obtaining a degree, a student has a lot of opportunities to stay in South Korea, while changing his visa status. The most common are the following options:
- E-1-E-7. Type E statuses are available to graduates of Korean universities who have already found work that matches one of the following categories: Professor (E-1), Foreign Language Instructor (E-2), Researcher (E-3), Technician (E-4), Professional (E-5), Artist / Athlete (E-6), Foreign National of Special Ability (E-7). The maximum stay duration varies from 3 to 5 years.
- D-10. Job seeker status is suitable for those who are still looking for work or planning to create a startup. Validity of the visa is 6 months, but it can be extended for up to 2 years.
- F-2-7. Resident status (permanent residence) is issued to graduates with a master’s degree and above who are employed in a Korean company. To obtain a residence permit, you need to score at least 80 points out of 120 based on criteria such as age (25), level of education (35), level of Korean language proficiency (20), income (10), payment of taxes (5), volunteer activity (5), etc.
# Applying to universities in South Korea Applying to universities in South Korea
The admissions process differs from school to school but, in general, you can apply directly to your chosen university by post or online. Be aware that the South Korean academic year begins in March, although many schools take on new students twice a year – in March and September. Deadlines for March applications are typically set between September and November, while for September entry, deadlines are often between May to June. Most universities in South Korea have just two terms, with a summer break from July to August and a winter break from December to February.
Although proficiency in the Korean language is advantageous, around 30 percent of courses at South Korean universities are taught in English. This, along with the fact that English proficiency is growing nationwide, helps to break down the language barrier for international students. However, a desire to learn the basics of the Korean language will certainly be helpful, paving the way for fuller integration into South Korean society and culture. In either case, foreign students must prove their proficiency in the language their course will be conducted in.
# Visas to study in South Korea There are 4 globally recognised English tests you can expect to sit in, and we can help advise which test you need to train for to be accepted into your chosen institution or destination.
To study in South Korea as an international student, you will require a ‘D-2 visa’, which can be gained from a South Korean embassy or consulate in your home country. Typically, as well as proficiency in English or Korean, you will be asked to provide your passport, a completed application form, a certificate of your most recent school record, confirmation of your acceptance at a South Korean university and proof of sufficient finances. The visa allows you to stay for up to two years. Engineering students can apply for the D-2-7 visa, which allows government-invited international students to stay in South Korea after they graduate and find work.
# Fees and funding
One of the good things about studying in South Korea is that tuition fees are the same for domestic and international students, as part of the national plan to bring more international students to the country. These fees will vary depending on the course and university.
An undergraduate course at a public university costs around US$4,350 per semester (with humanities subjects at the lower end and medicine at the top). At a South Korean private university, fees are estimated at US$5,800 per semester. And at Seoul’s 16 internationally ranked universities, the average annual tuition fee for undergraduate students is US$6,500.
To calculate the total cost, bear in mind that there are two semesters in each academic year, and South Korean undergraduate programs typically last four years (or six years for subjects like medicine and dentistry).
Recent government deregulations of scholarships, dormitories, part-time jobs and employment after graduation aim to make studying in South Korea more accessible for international students – by making it easier to cover the costs, and also to stay and seek work in the country after graduation.
# Accommodation and living costs
University dormitories are usually the cheapest options for accommodation, costing around US$280 to US$1,300 per semester, with the costs varying depending on how many students you’ll be sharing with, and whether catering is included. Private accommodation costs can vary considerably, at anywhere between US$280 and US$700 per month. Most universities offer affordable catering on campus, and if you take advantage of this you’ll likely only spend around US$260 on food a month. In Seoul (South Korea’s most expensive city), a one-way public transport ticket costs around one US dollar, or alternatively a monthly pass would be US$50.
Once you’ve been enrolled for six months (one semester) you’ll be eligible for applying for part-time work to help supplement your income. You can work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full time during semester breaks, and will need to supply employers with your student visa and a letter of recommendation from your university.
Facts of south korea
Country in East Asia
South Korea, an East Asian nation on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, shares one of the world’s most heavily militarized borders with North Korea. It’s equally known for its green, hilly countryside dotted with cherry trees and centuries-old Buddhist temples, plus its coastal fishing villages, sub-tropical islands and high-tech cities such as Seoul, the capital.
Currency: South Korean Won
Population: 51.47 million (2017)