High School Programs in South Korea

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A Guide to High School Programs in South Korea

You may think that PSY’s Gangnam Style is the most popular hit to come out of South Korea, but high school students that choose to explore Korea’s ancient history and advancing modern culture will discover much more to jump up and down about. The education system in South Korea is top-notch, so high school programs in South Korea offer a beyond immersive learning experience. Whether mastering Korean, sharing a spicy meal with new friends, exploring an old temple, admiring technological innovations, or hiking up beautiful mountains, experiencing high school in South Korea is sure to top the charts of any student’s list of high school memories.


South Korea is a compact East Asian country, located below the heavily guarded border of North Korea and in-between the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan. The busy, urban spaces make South Korea popular for high school programs abroad. Many high school programs in South Korea offer students the opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of cities to explore the wondrous, high mountains enclosed by dense forests and tranquil coastal areas though too. 

High school students will never experience a dull moment during programs in Seoul, South Korea’s capital. The city is always moving and students will find themselves marvelling at the modern skyscrapers and technological innovations, including Seoul’s impressive public transit system. Steps away from state-of-the-art attractions, students can explore Korea’s ancient culture of reconstructed palaces, temples and markets. The Gwangjang Market is Seoul’s largest food alley, where students can get their seafood and kimchi fix. Namdaemun Gate is the oldest and most famous place to walk among the Seoul’s 600 year old city walls. 

Daegu is a progressive, easy going metropolis in South Korea. As a common travel destination for international students and young Koreans alike, the city provides a vibrant, fun atmosphere that is ideal for teens. Getting around is a cinch on Daegu’s two-line subway system and students can explore the intriguing medicine market or the Buddhist temples to get a feel for traditional local culture.

High school students can experience South Korea’s warm way of life in Jeju City, a transportation hub located on the largest island in South Korea. Jeju City is great for adventure travel as it consists of 20 National Parks and Hallasan, an extinct volcano that is the highest point in South Korea. Students will definitely want to squeeze in a visit to Jeju City’s surrounding orange and mandarin farms.

For a sweeter taste of South Korea, students should consider high school programs in Jeonju, a designated UNESCO City of Gastronomy. Even Koreans agree that trying food in Jeonju will spoil you for life. Students can walk off their meals by exploring Jeonju’s historic center and the city's Hanok Maeul, a village made up of hundreds of traditional houses built for Korea’s upper class, and a photographic maze of classic, slanted roofs. 

Gwang Ju is the sixth largest city in South Korea and kick-started the democratic movement. The Democratic Uprising on May 18th was orchestrated by the former military government. The city’s fascinating history of civil resistance continues to be a strongly commemorated. High school students will be impressed by Gwang’s well-preserved sites such as the Square of Democracy and the National Cemetery. The city is highly supportive of artists and students may find themselves inspired to tap into their own creative juices during high school programs in South Korea. 

High School Programs in South Korea

South Korea is a prime destination for high school programs abroad because students can take advantage of unique opportunities to be fully immersed in Korean history and culture.

Language and cultural immersion programs are one of the most popular options for high school students in South Korea, integrating language courses with culture courses, taught in both English and Korean. Students’ required knowledge of Korean prior to joining a language immersion program will vary by program. Field trips and other activities are usually also included to help students explore South Korea’s history and culture in a fun, hands-on way. Not to mention, the Snapchats you’ll be sharing with friends back at home will be to die for!

For high school students fascinated by South Korea’s progressive history and transition as a peaceful country, community service or volunteer programs offer opportunities to explore these themes and connect deeply with local communities. On the other hands, more academic-focused students can take courses in liberal arts, science, and business, and a variety of other subjects through high school study abroad programs in South Korea.

Most high school programs in South Korea last between one and six weeks. The school year in Korea runs from March until mid-February. Student supervision varies between high school programs in South Korea, but staff will most definitely be highly supportive and South Korea is known as a safe, peaceful country. Students will have no problem making friends with Koreans either, who are extremely friendly and welcoming!

Scholarships & Costs

South Korea is one of world’s leading economies, and while this makes the country an exciting place for high school students to experience, the standard of living can be pricey. In fact, Seoul is considered one of the top most expensive cities to live in the world. Smaller South Korean cities offer more affordable options though, so high school students should factor in the overall cost of living in South Korea when selecting a program location.

Many high school programs in South Korea have large program fees; however, these packaged fees will ensure that housing, tuition, trips, and other necessities are well organized, offering a smooth experience for high school students in South Korea. Students shouldn’t let the high cost of living in South Korea discourage them from experiencing a once in a lifetime adventure. GoAbroad’s scholarship directory and fundraising opportunities can help students raise money to cover trip expenses, and as the famous quote says, “Travel is the only thing that makes you richer.”

Accommodation & Visas

High school students looking to enrich their experience abroad should jump at the opportunity to stay with a host family for the duration of their high school program in South Korea. Host families are generally carefully screened and provide delicious home cooked meals, and a very warm welcome. Dinner table conversations will have students picking up Korean in no time too. For students that prefer to have their own privacy, have no fear; students are typically given their own room.

Modern dormitories on university campuses offer students easy access to a variety of essential facilities and the comforts of home. Some dormitories are a double occupancy, and while students may have to adjust to sharing their space, they will likely enjoy the close company and making friends with their fellow program participants.

Every foreigner needs a visa to enter South Korea, but depending on your country of origin and the length of your high school program in Korea, you’ll have different visa requirements. Applying for a visa will likely take significant time, but the process isn’t hard to complete. Check out GoAbroad’s embassy directory for more information on South Korea’s visa requirements and to help you plan ahead for your studies abroad. 

Benefits & Challenges

There’s no better time to go abroad than in high school. Experiencing a new culture miles away from home will give students a taste of freedom and cultivate strong personality traits that provide students with a leading edge.

Easy to Make Friends. Korean culture is based on relationships that are closely nurtured. Whether high school students find themselves bonding with a host family over a delicious meal or mastering the Korean language through everyday conversation, the kind, caring nature of Koreans will make their experience unforgettable. Students will likely notice their Facebook friend requests double during their high school program in South Korea!

Education in South Korea is the pride of families and from an early age Korean youth are taught to be competitive and hardworking. Most Korean students spend long days studying in order to graduate from a top university and achieve a strong status in Korean society. While international students might find this serious attitude toward education challenging, they will be highly motivated to make the most out the learning opportunity. Completing a high school program in South Korea will make your university application look like a winner! High school programs in South Korea combine the hard work of Korean education with exciting, culturally immersive activities, so stressed out students can still have plenty of fun!

South Korea is a sizzling destination for high school students, not only for the delicious spicy food and Korean BBQ, but as a reputable country offering high quality education and locals who balance hard work with family, friends, and fun. Whether you’re planning to learn Korean, hike up mountains, or have your mind blown by South Korea’s peaceful progression and technological advances, the opportunities to embark on a high school program in South Korea will reward you with more than a full belly, deeper understanding of  KPop, and enough gorgeous photos to fill your Instagram feed for months on end.

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