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Being an International Student in Korea

August 8, 2013

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So, this is something we’ve wanted to do with TL;DRs for a while now. There are a lot of topics we’d like to cover, but we just lack the experience in talking about them. The topic about being an international student in Korea is one of those topics. It’s relevant to a bunch of you, I’m sure, who want to come to Korea to be students, so hopefully you found this video a bit useful. We’re also experimenting with the idea of having other people in our videos, though we know it isn’t easy, because we have a style when we’re on camera, and we’re not sure if other people can match that style, you know? We think Leigh’s a good fit. She’s very much like us. Anyhow, let us know what you think!

Leigh sent us more detailed info as well about school life, namely, the amount of money you’re gonna be spending. Mind you, not all schools charge the same. These are just Leigh’s figures. Hopefully they’ll give you a sense of what it’s like. Here’s what we got:

Cost of Being A Student in Korea

Tuition Fees in Korea

    – Tuition for intensive language programs is usually $1,400ish per 10 week term
    – Tuition for non-intensive language programs is usually $600ish per 8 week term
    – Undergraduate tuition is anywhere from $4,000-$7,000 per term, depending on your school and major
    – Graduate tuition is usually $6,000-9,000 per term, depending on your school and major

Residence Fees in Korea

    – On-campus dorm fees are really cheap, usually $600 per term
    – Off-campus dorm fees (goshiwon) are similar, usually $100-300 per month, depending on quality of location and amenities (some have private bathrooms, some have shared facilities)
    – Studio apartments require large security deposits, starting at $20,000 with a rent of $750 per month, but the higher the security deposit, the lower the rent

Miscellaneous Fees in Korea

    – Campus food is usually only available for breakfast and lunch, but an average meal is $2.50
    – Off-campus food is usually $7 per Korean meal, $12 at a restaurant style
    – Mobile phone fees are usually $85/month with a two year contract, and smartphones are the same price as flip phones
    – A single bus or subway ride will cost you $1.50
    – A short taxi ride is about $7, a longer taxi ride is $12, a taxi ride during peak traffic is about $26

Umm…so…yeah! That’s about all we can say about the topic, really. Leigh’s more than open to fielding more questions for topics for future TL;DRs if you’re interested! There were a lot of questions that you asked her on Twitter that we didn’t get to go through. If this video gets a good enough response we’d love to do more in the future :D

Also, I realize some of you might not know a lot about Leigh. She’s actually a full-time student here in Korea. She’s not a staffer here at Eatyourkimchi, but she interns with us, and helps a lot with video editing for a few of our segments. We’d love to hire her once she’s done studying, though, but that’ll be a while…

In a relevant note, we went to Leigh’s university, Ewha University, a long time ago for a WANK. Check it out if you want to see what a University is like in Korea. We should probably check out some other universities as well, I’d say…

And, lastly, if you like these TL;DRs, and want more of em, you should click on this pretty button right over here. It’ll make sure these videos stay around forever and ever. All it needs is you to click em!

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Being an International Student in Korea

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  1. FREAKING AWESOME TL;DR!!!! Thanks so much Leigh!!!! I am coming to teach in Korea in about 2 weeks, and thinking about checking out graduate school programs while I am there. Please do another TL;DR about Korean Universities! Also, what’s so great about Seoul U? Everyone in the dramas freaks out when it is mentioned :p Thanks again!

    3 years ago
  2. When I lived abroad, people asked me so many questions about America that I thought were so strange, like “Do most Americans have plastic surgery?”, “Are all the boys hot?”, “Is American high school like ‘Mean Girls’?”, “Do you know a lot of cowboys?” (because I live in Arizona), and of course the gun question. I think my classmates expected Americans to be loud and obnoxious as well, and I am extremely shy, so I didn’t really fit a lot of their ideas. It was so crazy for me to realize that people learn about the US the way we learn about other countries, through their movies and shows (which I guess should be obvious, but like I didn’t even get that until I got the ‘Mean Girls’ question).

    3 years ago
  3. i would love to hear more about campus life in korea! im really interested in doing an exchange when in collage (art collage mind you…) and wanna know more about just general student life and stuff!

    3 years ago
  4. I’m really interested to know how you learn korean with everyone speaking many languages. I personally don’t have any experience with that kind of environment. Every language course I’ve taken has been taught in english. I’ve been taking a beginner class in korean recently but it’s taught in english to a classroom who speaks english. I’m wondering if it would be more efficient to completely immerse oneself or if that would be more confusing.

    3 years ago
  5. Thanks for doing a video on this guys! I attended Sogang University for their intensive summer language program last year and really felt like I learned a lot there. Most of the people in my class level were American with a few Europeans and one girl from Singapore. They were definitely long days but so much fun!
    After the summer program I went to Korea University Sejong for the semester and found that I had more time outside of class..or maybe more energy because my brain wasn’t so full of Korean language all the time. I was able to join different organizations and can relate to the MT stories ;p so much fun but we paid for it in the mornings…
    And now I’m finishing my application to go back to Korea to attend Ewha Women’s University next semester! I never would have thought I would be able to study there again but I’m so excited that I have gotten the opportunity again!!

    Please do more videos about University life, like housing and roommates, and adapting as a foreigner and student :D

    3 years ago
  6. I totally want to go to Korea! I bet there are a lot of programms and scholarships for students that take care of some of these tuitions =)
    @Leigh: Is it hard to get an on-campus dorm?
    http://love-your-ego.blogspot.de

    3 years ago
  7. Soozee is my eat your kimchi bias but I don’t know… Leigh is sneaking her way up there. Watch out soozee you might get knocked out of first place.

    3 years ago
  8. lol i’m doing ILP in japan right now, and some of our homework was to write 7 haikus in japanese… LOL appropriate videos

    3 years ago
  9. I would love to do a language program~ If only if only~ studying korean alone with noone to talk to is hard…

    3 years ago
  10. I LOVE this!! Leigh, this was awesome and you’re hilarious!

    3 years ago
  11. I have a question, not sure if it’s been answered (pretty sure it hasn’t since i did a mini EYK marathon this week) but I want to know about the health insurance or health care for foreigners. Does it cost more or less to go visit a doctor in Korea than in North America?

    3 years ago
    • I don’t know how it is in America but for me it’s really expensive in Korea. For example last month I went to doctor (without insurance) and for the visit I payed 15.000 won and he told me to come again in two days (as doctor here just give you medicine for a day or two and then you have to come back) . I went there 4 times in total so I payed around 60.000 won. Also my friend had to go to a dentist (her teeth filling fell out) and she had to pay 1.000.000 won!! for one filling. I heard dentists are expensive in Korea but I didn’t know it’s this much. If you have an insurance here then it’s okay but insurances are not so good anyway, they pay back around 60-70% of your expenses only. If you are a student in Korea usually the school offers you some kind of insurance. For me I had to pay 500.000 won for 6 months (but I didn’t accept it since I had my own insurance in my country for studying abroad). Also there are some hospitals which offer basic health care for foreigners for free, but there are not many of them.

      3 years ago
    • Health care is much cheaper in South Korea. The same is true for most 1st world countries in comparison to the USA (I believe it’s cheaper in South Korea than Canada as well) due to our crappy “health care” system that rewards companies while making citizens pay a fortune. Here’s a discussion of it: http://askakorean.blogspot.com/2010/01/healthcare-system-in-korea.html

      3 years ago
  12. 4 hour classes are like summer classes in the US. i had Calculus for 3 and a half hours a day just this semester XD

    3 years ago
  13. I don’t know if anyone already asked this but… how, on the first place, get to go study in Korea? xD I know it sounds really dumb but I’m from Argentina -South America- and I have noooo idea how to apply to go there :D

    3 years ago
    • I’m from Peru and I moved to America after I graduated from High school to get into a university so my tip is: Know what school do you want to enroll learn what are the tuition fees for classes, fee of dorms. Contact the school and ask the requirements you should have in order to be accepted at their school (it’s about your grades and GPA) then if they accept your enrollment you’ll have to start all procedures to get a student visa and each country has it’s own different laws so you’d have to deal it with the country’s embassy that you are planning to go.

      3 years ago
    • Mee toooo XD

      3 years ago
  14. I’ve got an Ewha specific question…or two. My friend told me that it’s a coed school, despite the name. Does Leigh (or anyone else:) know what the gender split is like there? Also, are the entrance requirements as tough if you’re only going for the intensive language course versus an undergrad program?

    3 years ago
    • For Koreans, it’s girl only. However Ewha does have male exchanges so all the boys being exchange students, the gender split would be less than 10:1 most of the time.. It varies between classes though. Marketing course I took had 5 boys and 40 girls and in Communications class there was only one boy in the middle of at least 20 girls. Don’t know much about languages courses but http://elc.ewha.ac.kr/korean/en/template/intensive03.asp here it says you have to take placement test of some sort.

      3 years ago
      • The placement test wasn’t that bad. It is just a way for them to check the level of Korean you have. I actually took it and got placed in a higher class because I knew the alphabet already and can read even though I have no idea what I was talking about.

        3 years ago
  15. You should definitely do Yonsei University

    3 years ago
  16. i love when you feature leigh and soozee in your videos and they get more screen time! they fit right in and are a welcome addition to the nasty crew :)

    3 years ago
  17. Still gotta put the TL;DRs close to the top for your segments. Great video and so glad Leigh and Soozee are getting some screen time. Making me rip my hair out saving up for a language program.

    3 years ago
  18. thank you for covering this topic!! it was really insightful and it kind of gave me hope i guess i would say. ^^

    3 years ago
  19. You really can’t expect someone to not wear something just because of your phobia. Would you go up to a random person outside and tell them to not wear an outfit because of your phobia? o_O

    3 years ago
    • I agree, It’s not all about you. I think pokadots looks great on Martina and she should continue wearing them. She looks great in actually anything, just don’t tell her what and what not to wear, it would be seen as “Selfish” Maybe you aren’t, but please consider others feelings

      3 years ago
  20. I loved this video! I’m really hoping to study abroad one day but I’m curious as to why Leigh chose Korean. Is she a K-Pop fan(although this seems unlikely :P)? Was she fascinated by the culture?, etc.

    3 years ago
  21. Definitely want to go to Korea to study thanks it helped a lot ❤

    3 years ago
  22. Simon and Martina here: we both REALLY want to do Culinary Arts. Not because we want to open a restaurant or anything like that. We just want to know all that stuff. WHOA SO JEALOUS!

    3 years ago
  23. How did you apply and get accepted into the language program? I’d love to do it sometime! Learning Korean is a life goal, and I see no better way to do it than being a student in Korea! :D

    3 years ago
    • you can look up the universities on the web and they will all have english pages for the programs and details on applying and documents and all that fun mind melting government stuff. Good Luck

      3 years ago
  24. I’m kinda wondering what Leigh is majoring in right now. haha but I love TLDR’S !! :)

    3 years ago
  25. YAY Ewha Girls! We actually have Korean “buddies”, like peace buddies, for the students who take language program in Ewha so no one will suffer from lonely lunch or being alone anymore! And there are more English speakers and French speakers on campus.

    3 years ago
    • Eeerrmegawd why does this comment keep disappearing?! You can find pretty much about registration and courses on Ewha Language Center webpage! I don’t know much about the language programs because I never took them but since I graduated Ewha, I can tell you about campus if you have any questions and help if random Korean pops up in that website:)

      I wish “BEGG” could see this! I tried replying right back to you but couldn’t! the comment kept disappearing!

      3 years ago
      • this is me……:( for some reason, my comments kept disappearing….

        3 years ago
        • Hi, Disqus marked your comment as spam because you began the post with a link. If you include it at the end of the comment, it usually works.

          And then after that you posted nearly identical comments, like, 20 times in a row, so they all got marked as spam.

          I’ve un-spam-ed your first comment, so it should be fine now.

          3 years ago
    • do you know how you get into the program?

      3 years ago
    • Peace buddies? Is that someone to walk you home at night so you feel safe?

      3 years ago
  26. Nic

    Such an awesome video! This will make so many people happy. I know so many people who want to study in Korea.

    Question for Leigh about the lack of personal space and touching…. do you ever ask them not to or do you just go along with it?

    I experience that a lot when in my husband’s home town down south in a rural part of Korea. But I can’t really tell people to not touch me like that. The ahjummas that want to touch me – I just grin and bear it. My sister-in-law always wanted to hold my hand while we were out and more and my husband would try to explain to her that it made me feel a bit uncomfortable, but it took her a long time to understand that. Do you find if you’ve explained that you sometimes feel uncomfortable that because it’s such a different concept to them that someone doesn’t want to be touched – that they just keep doing it anyway?

    3 years ago
  27. YAAY this is really helpful. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I want to ask Leigh if she knew anything about the summer 3-week intensive program? I’m planning to apply and I’m between Ewha and Yonsei. I wonder if she knows anything about it or anyone who tried it. THANK YOU again :D

    3 years ago
  28. Love Leigh, I could watch more of her! And Suzy too. I totally dig the idea of having other people in your videos too! Then you can talk about topics of which you might not have first hand experience but want to provide the information.

    On a side note, I’m studying in a Korean language program right now. I’m currently on level 3 and I’m studying in Dongguk University. I totally agree with Leigh about all she said. And in our school there are like a couple of other westerners/English-speaking people but it feels like they try to not put us in the same classes, so it’s kind of lonely at times. In our school most people are from China. There are like gazillion Chinese people and maybe 10 or so people from other countries. So it can be quite lonely with all the Chinese people speaking Chinese with each other, but I feel like the further you get on your studies the easier it gets. I can now actually hold conversations in Korean, which is pretty cool. Can’t wait to get to the University!

    3 years ago
  29. Thank you so much for this ! Many of my friends are going to Korea for travelling and since I’ve only travelled to Korea in the past, and have only studied in Canada and HK, I cant answer these questions exactly.
    I’ve also thought about doing intensive programs for language learning so seeing the Korean factor is amazing.
    Also, would LOVE to hear about dorm life! Haha

    3 years ago
  30. Leigh, I’d be interested to know how you all learned Korean from scratch since all of your classmates spoke different languages, I’ve never heard of a language class like that.

    Also do you know of any other good universities with an intensive language program that you could recommend?

    Thanks!

    3 years ago
    • Leigh how do you sign up for these programs and what are they called

      3 years ago
    • I went to Ewha as well and took the Korean class they offer. However, I didn’t take the intensive program that Leigh did but I just did the regular Korean. I was actually the only fluent English speaker (from an English speaking country) in the whole class but the Korean teachers (we had two) taught in English. My classmates are actually pretty good in English too. The textbooks were another story though. I’m pretty sure they have an English, Chinese (Mandarin), and Japanese versions. So basically the teacher was there to actually just reinforce the idea (grammars,etc) and the book can further explain it to the students.

      3 years ago
      • where do i go to find out more about how to become a international student at Ewha as an undergraduate? what programs do they have? how and where do i go to apply there? if you can answer these questions, i would be SUPER grateful!! thank you!

        3 years ago
  31. Wow, this was soooo informative! Makes me wish I had done such a program when I was in college, though I don’t think education majors can do much studying abroad if they are hoping to be teachers in the states. Nevertheless, this was great and good luck to you, Leigh! BTdubs, did you declare a major at a stateside university?

    3 years ago
  32. This was helpful! Thank you!
    I’m (finally) going to Korea in about 20 days *___* and will be attending HU for one semester (though I wish I had gone for Ehwa T_T)… so this is kind of perfect timing, really!

    3 years ago
  33. I love this!! Leigh do have a similar style than you guys, it fits really good, please make more videos like these!

    3 years ago
  34. Haha, Leigh is so adorable!

    3 years ago
  35. Hey Leigh, I’m super interested in being an international student and Korea is very high on that particular list, so for your study abroad program did that program have a scholarship or any kind of finanical aid to help you pay for it?

    3 years ago
  36. Is Intern Leigh in graduate school or undergrad???

    3 years ago
  37. I don’t know if there are any good pastry schools in South Korea, but in case I go back to wanting to go into linguistics and foreign languages, this’ll be helpful :)

    I’m always happy to see more Leigh and Soo Zee in your videos (even though you know I love you two, right?)

    3 years ago
  38. Definitely talk about getting a Korean boyfriend!!!!!

    3 years ago
    • As a Korean, I don’t see why some of you guys want “Korean” boyfriend. AND I’m just so curious! Why are you interested in Korean boys in particular? Can anyone tell me? Is this because of all the K-drama and handsome romantic boys in it?

      3 years ago
      • Some people want to be fully submerged into a culture and language and that include dating someone from that culture. In my experience, I do not find(many) white guys nor Australians (I’m Australian) attractive due to cultural reasons and as well as looks. Finally white babies are ugly.

        3 years ago
      • Not necessarily that but more like how to overcome a language barrier, if they would object to dating a foreigner, different dating styles and dates of there (Korea) vs North America.

        3 years ago
    • Race fetishism isn’t cool.

      3 years ago
    • First of all… Before being Korean, they’re men. And just by that I’m pretty sure the ways of getting a Korean boyfriend are exactly the same as getting a boyfriend of any nationality.

      3 years ago
    • That’s like getting a boyfriend from any other country. Chemistry and and compatibility. Korean guys are guys, they’re not some special breed of man just because they’re Korean.

      3 years ago
    • 1. Don’t weird them out by thinking they’re any more special or different than other men anywhere else on the planet
      2. Get introduced to/meet somehow a Korean guy
      3. See if there is mutual attraction
      4. Commence usual courting rituals (may differ culturally/personally, they’ve talked about these before)
      5. Be together???

      3 years ago
    • IKR? I’ve been so CURIOUS!

      3 years ago
    • IKR?? I’ve been so curious!

      3 years ago
  39. I have a question for intern leigh. How did u get the visa for korea. Like i am living in u.s.a but i would like to go for graduate school. So how does the procedure work? Can u tell me a little bit about it? Thank you.

    3 years ago
  40. LEIGH WILL YOU BE MY FRIEND?

    3 years ago
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