Study Abroad Programs in South Korea

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Study Abroad Programs in South Korea

Study Abroad Programs in South Korea

Guide to studying abroad in South Korea

When you choose to study in South Korea, you'll have the chance to explore its rich cultural heritage, scenic landscapes, and bustling cities and get connected to cutting-edge tech, fashion, and beauty industries. With reasonable tuition, diverse communities, top-notch academics, and a wide array of scholarships, South Korea is a welcoming and inclusive destination for international students to study abroad.

Interested in studying abroad in Korea? Keep reading to learn about popular universities, average tuition costs, and how to find programs for international students.

Popular universities in South Korea

Seoul National University

Seoul National University is consistently ranked as one of the top universities in South Korea and in Asia, currently ranked 37th in the QS World University Rankings. As of 2021, the university had over 9,500 international students, and offers a variety of extracurricular activities such as student clubs, sports teams, and cultural events.

📚Top programs: engineering, social sciences, and natural sciences

Korea University

Korea University is ranked 69th in the QS World University Rankings and has approximately 4,500 international students. The university offers a variety of extracurricular activities, including sports clubs, music groups, volunteer organizations, and academic societies.

📚Top programs: business administration, law, and international relations

Yonsei University

Yonsei University is consistently ranked as one of the top universities in South Korea and Asia, and has a diverse student body with around 25% of students coming from abroad. The university offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, including sports, arts, and cultural clubs, as well as opportunities for community service and leadership development.

📚Top programs: business administration, law, international studies

Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH)

Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) is ranked as the second-best university in South Korea and is known for its strong programs in science and engineering. It has a high proportion of international students, with around 15% of its student body coming from abroad, and offers a variety of extracurricular activities including sports teams, clubs, and student organizations.

📚Top programs: materials science, chemistry, and electrical and electronic engineering

KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology)

KAIST is ranked as the top science and technology university in South Korea, and among the top universities in Asia and the world. It has a high number of international students, with around 30% of its student body coming from over 90 different countries. The university offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, including sports, clubs, and cultural events, as well as opportunities for research and innovation through its various research centers and labs.

📚Top programs: electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science

Popular cities to study abroad in South Korea

South Korea is home to several bustling cities that offer exciting academic and social opportunities for international students.


Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, is an ideal destination for international students seeking to study abroad. Renowned for its world-class universities like Seoul National University and Yonsei University, studying in Seoul offers exceptional educational prospects. Moreover, students can fully immerse themselves in the vibrant culture, buzzing nightlife, and endless shopping and dining options that Seoul has to offer. There’s plenty of opportunity to explore the enriching academic and cultural experiences available in Seoul.


Busan, a coastal city renowned for its stunning beaches, delectable seafood, and breathtaking natural scenery, is the perfect destination for students looking for a relaxed study abroad experience in Korea. With its tranquil ambiance, studying abroad in Busan offers a unique and laid-back atmosphere. Busan is home to esteemed institutions like Pusan National University and Dong-A University, providing a wide array of programs taught in English. If you're considering studying in Busan, you'll have the opportunity to enjoy the coastal charm while pursuing your academic goals.


Daegu, located in the southeastern region of Korea, is a highly sought-after destination for studying abroad. It is home to Keimyung University, one of the country's top universities, making it an excellent choice for academic pursuits. In addition to its prestigious educational institution, studying abroad in Daegu offers a captivating blend of modernity and tradition, showcased through its traditional markets and mouth-watering street food. Immersing yourself in Daegu's unique cultural ambiance will undoubtedly enhance your study abroad experience.

How to study abroad in South Korea

While requirements may be different depending on the university or type of program, these are generally the steps you’ll need to follow to study abroad in South Korea.

  1. Research programs and universities. The three main ways to study in Korea are through direct enrollment, third-party program providers, or your home university. Third-party organizations provide structured support with housing, language classes, visa assistance, and cultural activities, but can be costly and have limited course options compared to direct enrollment. There are pros and cons to each option, so research is key!
  2. Prepare your application materials. This may include your transcript, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement or statement of purpose.
  3. Apply for a visa. International students require a D-2 student visa to study in South Korea. This can be arranged at your closest Korean Embassy or Consulate once you have received your admission letter from the university.
  4. Start budgeting & exploring scholarships. Budgeting is essential to ensure that living expenses, housing, and tuition fees are covered. Scholarships and part-time work can help offset costs, so make sure to research and plan ahead for an enriching and affordable experience.
  5. Prepare for your adventure overseas! Once you’ve been accepted into a study abroad program in South Korea, you’ll want to prepare for your adventure overseas by obtaining a visa, purchasing plane tickets, and arranging for housing.

Costs & Funding

Studying abroad in South Korea is quite affordable relative to the cost of living and given the exchange rates – especially if you’re coming from the U.S. or Europe. Tuition fees and housing costs are reasonable, as are daily expenses like food.

Average costs of tuition

Tuition fees for South Korean programs can differ depending on whether you study abroad through direct enrollment or a program provider. Usually, university exchange at a South Korean university can be similar to your regular tuition rate at home.

The cost of study abroad programs in South Korea can vary depending on if you enroll through a program provider or directly through a university. Generally, direct enrollment tuition fees range between $4,350 to $6500 USD per semester, while third-party program provider fees range between $5,000 - $10,000 USD.


There is a large range of scholarships available to help fund international students’ studies in South Korea – many of which you can find here on Go Overseas! Although part-time work is an option, finding work that doesn't require speaking Korean can be challenging. It's also worth checking if your university or program offers scholarships for study-abroad students.

Cost of living

While the cost of living in South Korea may seem high, students studying in Korea can take advantage of affordable housing options, budget-friendly meals, and public transportation, making it a relatively affordable destination for studying abroad.

Here are some of the monthly costs you can expect:

Rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $400-$900
Food: $350-$550, depending on how much you cook or eat out
Transportation: $38-$60
Entertainment and excursions: $50/week, based on your own spending habits

Source: Numbeo

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you study abroad in Korea for free?

    Studying abroad in Korea can be free through government or university scholarships, which often cover tuition, living expenses, and airfare, but they are highly competitive and have specific eligibility requirements based on academic performance, language proficiency, and nationality.

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  • What GPA do you need to study in Korea?

    To study in Korea, you’ll typically need to meet a minimum GPA of 2.8-3.0, on a 4.0 scale and demonstrate involvement in extracurricular activities.

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  • How old do you have to be to study abroad in Korea?

    The minimum age to study abroad in Korea ranges from 15 to 18 for high school exchange programs, while college or university programs require students to be at least 18 years old and have completed one year of study in their home country.

  • How much does it cost to live in South Korea for a year?

    You can expect to pay around $1,300- $1800 per month, including transportation, food, entertainment, and rent. Your highest expenses will likely be housing, but teachers in South Korea will often find programs with accommodations included, or monthly housing stipends!

  • How much does it cost to study abroad in South Korea?

    South Korean public universities generally cost about $4,350 per semester and private universities can cost more, starting at $5,800 per semester. Your tuition cost may also change depending on if you enroll at a university directly or through a third-party provider.

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  • Can you travel to South Korea this year?

    Yes, all are welcome to visit South Korea and study, teach, work, and more in 2023!

  • Where can I study abroad in South Korea?

    South Korea has several large cities perfect for study abroad students like Busan, Seoul, Daegu, and Daejeon. Seoul is the capital and the largest city in South Korea, making it one of the best places to further your education overseas.

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  • Why study in South Korea?

    South Korea is a leader in many economies including tech, fashion, and beauty. Students can enjoy an international community, an abundance of cultural activities, and an education from some of the top universities with reasonable tuition fees. Plus, it's full of natural beauty and bustling cities waiting to be explored!

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