Every year, thousands of international students travel to South Korea to take part in university exchange programs. These programs differ from Korean language and full-time degree programs. Exchange programs offer students the opportunity to spend a year or semester overseas while taking classes taught in English (or Korean, for those who desire a challenge).
If your home university is partnered with a Korean university, you must apply through your university first, and then be nominated to the partner university. Students usually pay fees directly to their home university and take classes which are relevant to their degree.
The appeal of exchange programs is obvious: South Korean universities are among the best in Asia and the world, the living cost and tuition fee are lower than most Western universities and many universities in Korea offer scholarship programs for international students.
However, researching universities can be daunting and information may be difficult to gather and assess. If you would like to spend a year or a semester studying at a Korean university, this guide will give you all the information you need to know about the top universities to study abroad at and their application process.
Ewha Womans University
Ewha Womans University is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Seoul, South Korea. The university was founded in 1886 to provide Korean women with education. Today, however, the university welcomes both male and female international exchange students.
Exchange students have the opportunity to study for one year or one semester. The program is offered to undergraduate and graduate students in a wide range of disciplines. Most classes are available in English, but students are advised to research which classes to take in advance as some classes are only taught in Korean. There is also an option to take a Korean language class while on exchange.
International exchange students must be nominated by their home university and achieve a minimum GPA of 2.5/4. Ewha also welcome visiting students who may apply individually by submitting an application directly to the university with relevant documentation.
If your home university is partnered with Ewha, or you would like to apply directly as a visiting student, take a look at the following links.
Korea University is recognized as one of the best universities in South Korea and was ranked 98th in the world in 2016. The university is partnered with establishments all over the world and welcomes thousands of international students every year.
For students who wish to study at KU, but do not have a partnership, they can take part in the VSP (Visiting Student Program). Visiting students must apply directly to KU and pay tuition fee to the university, rather than to their home university.
International students must achieve a GPA of 2.5/4 to be accepted by KU and are required to have spent 2 full semesters at their home university.
A list of English taught courses can be found on their website. These courses are offered at both undergraduate and graduate level. Students are advised to research the courses which they intend to take beforehand, as the courses offered may change each year.
If your university is included in this list and you wish to find out more about studying at KU, the following links provide plenty of information.
Seoul National University
Seoul National University frequently ranks as the top university in Korea and is currently ranking 35th in the world. The university was established in 1946 following the end of World War Two, but originates from institutions which were active in the Joseon Dynasty. In recent years, the university is recognized by its prestige and as a research institution.
SNU offers programs for exchange students who they are partnered with or visiting students who apply directly. The university claim to accept over 600 international students every year.
Exchange students are required to achieve a GPA of 3.o or above /4. Then, students must be nominated by their home university and pay tuition to that university, not Seoul National. The majority of departments in SNU offer English taught courses, a list of which can be found on their website. Korean language classes can also be taken while the students are studying in Korea.
More information about international exchange programs can be found at the following websites.
Kyung Hee University
Kyung Hee is another prestigious Korean university with three campuses located in Seoul, Suwon and Gwangneung. The university is passionate about developing global relations and currently partnered with over 520 universities and 77 institutions worldwide.
Exchange students must apply directly through their home university, then submit any required documents and register with Kyung Hee. International students are required to achieve a GPA of 70/100 and be enrolled in full-time education.
Visiting students are also welcome to study at Kyung Hee University. These students must apply and pay fees directly to Kyung Hee university and meet the same requirements as exchange students.
Kyung Hee offer a wide range of courses taught in English, in 24 colleges and many departments and majors.
Students who are interested can find more information in the links below.
Sungkyunkwan University was founded in 1398 during the Joseon Dynasty. The university has two campuses, one in Seoul and one in Suwon.
The international exchange program welcomes students who come from affiliated global universities to study at SKKU. The university offer plenty of courses in foreign languages as well as Korean language classes and cultural activities which allow students to experience Korea’s culture.
Students who wish the extend their visit may do so with an agreement made with their home university. This agreement will depend on the students performance and their academic progress. The university also offer many cultural activities and a buddy program for international exchange students.
Take a look at the following links for more information about studying at SKKU.
Yonsei University was established in 1885 and is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in South Korea. The university is located in Sinchon, near Ewha Womans University and Sogang University.
Yonsei offer international students the option to study for one-semester or the whole year. This program is offered to students whose universities are affiliated with Yonsei and students must achieve a GPA of 3/ 4.3 (86%). Visiting students are also welcome to study at Yonsei, but they must apply directly to Yonsei and pay tuition fees to the university.
A broad range of English taught classes are available to international exchange students, as is the opportunity to take a Korean language class. The university host a number of cultural activities to introduce students to Korean history and culture.
For students whose universities are partnered with Yonsei and wish to find out more information, the following links provide more information about the application process.
Hanyang university has two campuses, one in Seoul and one in Ansan. The university was founded in 1939 during the Japanese occupation and is recognized as a prestigious institution for all research areas, particularly engineering.
The university welcomes 6000 international students per year and is partnered with over 700 universities in 68 different countries. A list of partner universities can be found here, and students should apply directly through their home university before being accepted by Hanyang.
Hanyang offer services in English, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Dutch. They are passionate about developing global relations and integrating students into Korean life while they are abroad. The university offer many cultural activities for international students to enjoy during their time in Korea and scholarships for exchange students.
If you would like to find more information, take a look at the links below.
Sogang University is partnered with over 315 universities in 55 countries. This includes many universities in Germany, Spain, U.K, France, Canada, USA, China and Japan. Sogang was founded in 1960 by the Society of Jesus and has become one of the most prestigious universities in Korea.
International exchange students can take classes in English or Korean, and a list of courses offered in English can be found on the university website. The university offer students the opportunity to take Korean language classes as well during their time at Sogang which allows students to integrate into Korean life.
The university is located in Sinchon, near Ewha Womans University and Yonsei University, a bustling student area full of restaurants, bars and clubs.
Students who wish to study at Sogang must apply through their home university and be nominated to the university. More information can be found below.
Whether or not your home university is partnered with a university in Seoul, there are plenty of options available for international students to study in Korea. International exchange programs are an incredible opportunity for students to travel the world and experience different cultures, so make sure you get involved!
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