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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. Hiii i have a very long questions i would be honored if u could help me by finding this out
    . I wanna pursue fine arts, is it good to pursue from korealike are there any good university
    . Is doing undergraduate degree worth it from korea worth it??
    . Can we later on do graduate from someother place??

    3 weeks ago
  2. Hello :D

    I’m curious about the schools in Korea, like how does the education system works?
    do different schools have their own uniforms? and why is their uniform so pretty ?( referencing to the Kdramas I’ve watched, they look so posh and fancy)
    oh and the schools, are all public schools or they have private as well? and as a Korean, can they choose to do foreign education stuff like A levels or IB, or they have to stick to the public settings?

    7 months ago

    I was curious what made you decide to make the huge decision to go to school and live in Korea?

    9 months ago
  4. Leigh!

    How old were you when you went to Korea? How old were the rest of the students?

    I’m 27 and I’d like to get into a language course, but I’m a little fraid that people might be too young and I’d be considered the ajuma in the room.

    I know the video and the posts are old, but I hope you can get back on this one.

    9 months ago
  5. Somebody can help me? What’s “$600ish per 8 week term” means?? The total cost of 8 weeks is $ 600? or every week costs $ 600? Please help me! Thank you soooo much!

    1 year ago
  6. Hi!
    I’m wondering if one want’s to do the masters in S.Korea is it very difficult? maybe a new TL;DR on uni stuff would be awesome! thanx!

    2 years ago
  7. I would really like to enroll in the intensive program, but I’m having trouble finding information on it, that or I’m over looking it. Can anyone lead me to where I need to go?

    2 years ago
  8. Could someone explain the application process to Ewha to me. I went on the website and it was a little confusing. Any help will be appreciated.

    2 years ago
  9. Leigh, Thanks for this amazing video. I would like to know did you go to Korea from the college languages programs….or did you just decide to pack your bags and go to Korea. If you did go with the college program did you get financial aid or did you have to pay for everything yourself. And finally, was it worth it?

    2 years ago
  10. I was wondering what Visa Liegh has. I’m looking at going to Korea next year to study, but not as an exchange student—i plan to enroll as an actual student in Yonsei University. So I was wondering what sort of visa a Liegh has that let her go to school and work/intern with EYK. I wanted to possibly get a part time job while I’m in Korea, after a few semesters of the langauage program at Yonsei. (I’m coming from America, by the way, just in case that matters)
    Thanks guys!!

    2 years ago
  11. Thank you so much! Even if Simon and Martina don’t answer my question, someone else always does. :)

    2 years ago
  12. leigh should do a video answering lots of these questions with random input from Simon and Martina here and there.

    2 years ago
  13. does Ehwa have a program for students wanting to study abroad for a year or so?

    2 years ago
  14. Dear Leigh, Ewha University has become of interest to me as my college of choice, but one thing I’m concerned about is the tuition. How much does it cost for a foreigner to go to Ewha University?

    2 years ago
  15. i planned to go to le cordon bleu korea next year , but then i realize that i should take language class first and surely i dont know what to take where and which one is good , can someone help me ? >.<

    2 years ago
  16. This may be a stupid question but I am still going to ask.
    Do koreans wear school uniforms in all schools in Korea or are there schools which don’t have rules of wearing uniforms?
    ( I mean junior high schools / middle schools and high schools )

    2 years ago
    • *lol* I don’t know since we had some similar rules but one could basicly wear what they wanted ( as long as it looked decent ).
      I remember that girls got sent to remove make-up in elementary school and in high-school no one cared about that much anymore.

      2 years ago
  17. Hi Leigh! I was wondering how you paid for food and other stuff like that? Did you get a job there in Korea? If so, was it hard finding one? What types of jobs can foreigners get? Thanks!

    2 years ago
  18. Does anyone know of a teen summer language program that would accept from England? Ive tried look but the only one I found said something about only overseas Koreans from america or something. I would really appreciate some help!

    2 years ago
  19. You guys are fantastic!!! This segment was amazing! I’ve been thinking about studying over in Seoul for a while so it’s nice to hear from the students perspective.

    Could you guys talk about living with diet restrictions? I recently found out that I’m celiac (I’m super allergic to gluten… So no more jjangmyeon for me TT TT). How difficult is it to live with food allergies/restrictions?

    2 years ago
  20. Heggo Leigh! I haveth a questionth for chu and that is….
    Why did you choose to go to Ewha over other universitites?

    2 years ago
  21. Did Leigh have classes other than language classes at Ewha? If so, at what point did you start taking them?

    2 years ago
  22. Any advise of how or where to learn Korean?

    Maybe you can teach us the basics?

    2 years ago
  23. This was very enjoyable, I would like to learn about Universities in Korea, Leigh did an excellent job and I look forward to more. The list of topics she spun off at the end of this vid would be a wonderful start! :)

    2 years ago
  24. i want to hold your hand.

    2 years ago
  25. Hi Leigh! I hope you see this. I’m wondering when in your schooling you did this intensive program. It sounds like that was the only schooling you were doing at the time, so was this after graduating university in the US, or was it related at all to a US university through a foreign exchange program? I am starting university in the fall and I would love to do an intensive program like yours someday! Thanks :)

    2 years ago
  26. That’s a lot of money!! Is it possible to earn a scholarship for this??

    2 years ago
  27. Mobile phone fees are that expensive?!? o_O I thought in Québec we had expensive monthly fees for our mobile phone, but wow…

    2 years ago
    • actually the cheapest you can get is around 12.000, I was also very surprised… and if you have the cheapest one the calling and messaging is not even included (you just pay for having the number) and then you pay extra for it. You can get something like credit based sim card (like you just charge it every month) but most of the companies don’t want to sell that. Also it’s sometimes difficult to even get a sim card since they want you to buy a mobile phone in their shop first. One of my worst experiences >.<

      2 years ago
      • So, is it possible to buy a new mobile phone without having to sign a contract or stuff? Are there electronic markets which sell phones without phone plans/contracts, just the plain phone (with no simlock of course)?

        2 years ago
        • it is possible but it’s not so easy… usually you see phones on the streets which are sold by tele companies… but it’s, but maybe more expensive and then if you would want to buy a sim card in most of the places they will tell you that they can’t sell you a sim card only…

          2 years ago
  28. there are so many requirements… you have to go to lessons (you have to have 80% attendance), you have to do tons of homework (like we have grammar lessons, reading lessons, listening lessons and writing lessons and every day there are homework for each of these classes). One ‘semester’ (at least in the language course) is like 2 and half months. In that time you have mid term exams and final exams. For both of them you have to prepare something (like presentation, interview in pairs). Also they expect you to pay attention in every class (no phones, no games, no sleeping or eating). Also there are occasional presentations in class, sudden tests and so one…

    2 years ago
  29. I found this really hepful! I actually know a few Korean students that
    go/went to EWHA because they were International students at my college. I
    was an ESL tutor so it helped me get to know many Koreans and I know
    some from EWHA and CUK. I really want to study at EWHA for at least a
    semester so this does help give an insight on what to expect for the
    most part. Though I always get really worried because I am mixed, I
    wonder how I will be looked at compared to people who are..lighter
    skinned? I am biracial Puerto Rican and African American, or blackarican
    as I like to call it, and so I have light tan skin, and so I always
    wonder if I will be looked at differently and talked to differently in
    Korea than maybe my Caucasian friends or something.

    2 years ago
  30. I love the idea of having guest hosts for TL;DR, as this video was so informative and perfectly timed for incoming international students. It really helped settle my nerves a little bit as a American studying abroad in Seoul at Yonsei University for the next four months. Hopefully the lonely kimbap eating period won’t be in effect for my whole experience though! ^_^ Thanks Leigh and EYK!

    2 years ago
  31. I think Leigh fits well with you guys on camera =) It seems really natural and I would like more of these TL;DRs!

    2 years ago
  32. I really like having other people talk about topics that they have experience with! Good job guise. :)

    2 years ago
  33. Leigh, what year in college are you? I want to study abroad in korea but at my school ESL majors cannot study abroad unless its in the summer (I want to study abroad for a year).

    2 years ago
  34. My mom keeps saying that it is to dangerous and doesnt want me to study abroad to south Korea… Any advise???

    2 years ago
  35. IT’S SO MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE *falls out of chair and cries forever*

    2 years ago
  36. Hi guys … im a nasty fan from México and i found very interesting this video because my plan is to be an international student in korea ( do my MASTER) … really will be great if you could do a video from Hongik University and show us how the students life is there… BTW you gyes are awesome and i don´t miss any of your videos … please make more of Hongdae Area…✌&♥

    2 years ago
  37. I love you for this! I want to go to school for Korean Language (I would go for full-out Korean Studies if there were more schools that were less expensive and closer to me that offered it…) and the school I am going to go to has a study abroad program for Junior and Senior years in Korea. This is so helpful!!!! :D I love you guys. <3

    2 years ago
  38. This was one of the most informative TL;DR’s for me!
    Thanks Leigh <3

    Can you guys visit more universities?

    2 years ago
  39. are those costs in us dollars?

    2 years ago
  40. You guys should make a part 2 for this segment where Leigh talks about those stuff at the end of the video!!!!

    2 years ago