5 Best Cities for Studying in Korea

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Where to study abroad in Korea

Even though it’s already so 2012, who doesn’t start tapping their feet when they hear Psy hollering “Op, Op,Op, Op, Oppan Gangnam Style!” Today, Korea remains a global trendsetter when it comes to #popculture, #fashion, #technology, and #music. But, there’s more to Korea than K-pop, kimchi, and Samsung.

5 Best Cities for Studying in Korea

To get to know the real South Korea, why not try studying abroad in Korea? If you are ready to become an international student, here are the five best cities for studying in Korea:

1. Seoul

If you’re looking for an Asian city that never sleeps, one that rivals the breakneck speed of world cities like Tokyo, London, and New York, Seoul is where your soul should be. Though 10 million residents may seem intimidating, Koreans in the capital city are very friendly and open to foreigners. Jumpstart your introduction to the city with these five things to do in Seoul or learn why studying abroad in Seoul in spring is the best thing ever. Better yet, commit to studying abroad for a full year to really get into the guts of this eclectic city.

Check out these programs to get started:

Direct Low Cost at Konkuk University with CSA is an affordable study abroad option for international students at a reputable Korean university. Courses in liberal arts, sciences, and business are taught in English during the summer, so don’t worry too much if your Korean isn’t up to par. The program also offers immersive Korean language classes throughout the year if you really want to get to know the country and its culture.

Want to kill two birds with one stone by studying in Korea and getting work experience? With SAGE Corps, you can study in Korea and intern with a tech startup in Seoul for twelve weeks. Build solid international business experience and network with C-level executives and other pros in the innovative tech industry in Korea. SAGE Corps boasts of one of the most elite professional networks out there so maybe you might be able to snag your dream job and end up staying in the country afterward!

Fall in Korea

2. Daegu

The historical city of Daegu is located in Yeongnam Province in the southeastern part of the country. Daegu’s large student population makes it the perfect college town in Korea. There’s something for everyone here. Climb Palgongsan, go to the ballgame with other diehard Korean baseball fans, seek peace within temples like Donghwasa, Haeinsa, and Jikjisa. Visit the quirky and traditional herbal medicine market. Foodies, linger in Chicken Gizzard Alley and Braised Beef Ribs Alley or dig into Daegu-only foods like makchang gui (grilled beef entrails), flattened dumplings, and spicy catfish stew. In summer, hit up cool festivals like the Chicken and Beer festival and the International Bodypainting festival.

Check out this program to get started:

Youth for Understanding (YFU) Intercultural Exchange Programs offer study abroad programs for international high school students in Daegu and Seoul. Dive deep into the culture by staying with a local host family and going to a local high school. Spend as short as a semester or as long as an entire school year. During the month-long summer program, you get to decide what you want to explore by making your own “to do list.” Even if you’ve never traveled abroad before, YFU’s study abroad programs offer a lot of support, from pre-departure orientation to post-departure orientation.

Intricate design of a temple in Seoul, Korea

3. Chuncheon

Chuncheon is located about an hour and half from Seoul. With nine peaks, lakes, and  impressive natural landscapes, the city is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. Adventure seekers can hike several mountain trails for great views and waterfalls. If you’re more of a book nerd, visit the literature village of one of Korea’s most famous authors, Kim Yu-jeong. For culture vultures, there’s always something going on in the capital of Gangwon Province, like the Mime Festival, International Theater Festival, and Puppet Show Festival.

Check out this program to get started:

The University of Albany provides study abroad at Hallym University in Chuncheon. You don’t have to sign up for Korean language classes, but since you’re in the country, why waste the opportunity to get really hands-on foreign language instruction at one of the top 10 universities in the country? Hallym University is also one of the universities in Korea that teach in English. You can study topics like intercultural communication, Korean food (yum!), Korean pop culture, and Korean history. Still have questions about Korean culture? The program offers a buddy system, teaming exchange students with local students.

Blossoming trees in Seoul

4. Cheonan

The Samgeori/Three Way Intersection Park in Cheonan was a historical junction where scholars and governors rested on their way to other parts of the country. Because of this convenient hub, larger cities in the north (Seoul), south (Daegu and Gyeongju) and west (Nonsan, Gwangju, and Mokpo) are readily accessible from Cheonan. Every fall, the park hosts street parades and an international folk dance festival. The city also claims to have Korea’s largest museum. The Independence Hall of Korea covers several acres and explains how the country freed itself from Japanese rule. Another must see in this city is Gakwonsa Temple at the foot of Mount Taejo, which has one of the largest sitting Buddhas in the country.

Check out this program to get started:

Illuwa T&G Korean Language Academy offers you the chance to study Korean in small, manageable classes of four to 10 students, taught by native teaching professionals. Classes include conversational and outdoor classes to really submerge yourself in the local culture and immediately practice what you learn. Scholarships are also available for the best students who can get 50 percent to 100 percent off tuition fees. The program also promises a full refund if you’re not satisfied with the first class.

Fireworks over Seoul, South Korea

5. Gyeongsan

Gyeongsan is a city that’s very close to the metropolitan city of Daegu. Many universities are concentrated here making it the perfect place to study abroad in Korea. When the studying gets to be too much, let your hair down in Daegu and explore the rest of Gyeongbuk Province. Relish the stillness at Bulguksa and Buseoksa temples or hike Songnisan or Sobaeksan National Parks to get some fresh air in those lungs.

Check out this program to get started: 

Study Korean at Yeungnam University, because the city is manageable yet close to a large metropolis, making it the perfect place to hit the books and let off steam during downtime. The private research institution was founded by past president JungHee Park, who grew up in Gyeongsan. The program also offers scholarships and tuition waivers for certain students. Classes are small (no more than 12 students) so it’s easier to practice the language. The program is also quite intensive, perfect to prep you if you plan to study abroad full-time at a Korean university.

Next Steps to Make it Happen

Before you go, learn some essential phrases, as you may end up in an area that is lacking in English speakers at some point. Some important phrases to know before you study in Korea include:

  • Hwa-jang-shil o-di-ye-yo - Where is the bathroom?
  • I-ge ŏl-ma-ye-yo? - How much is this?
  • Kam-sa-ham-ni-da - Thank you.
Studying abroad in Korea will feel like the adventure of a lifetime, but take your time when choosing a city and program that suits your needs.

Keep searching through program listings, reach out to different program providers, talk to program alumni, read unbiased program reviews, and compare programs side by side with MyGoAbroad.

Haenguneul bileoyo (good luck)!