If you are lucky enough to get the opportunity to study abroad during your time at university, why not put South Korea at the top of your list.
Exchange programmes are becoming ever more popular; it is the perfect opportunity to step outside your comfort zone, gain international experience, advance your career prospects and meet new people, all while you are enrolled at university.
South Korea is a unique and exciting country, yet it remains one of the less popular destinations for students going on exchange. Whether you have never considered Korea as a destination for your year abroad or would like to confirm your interest in the country, here are 10 reasons you should choose Korea as your study abroad destination.
The Korean education system is like no other. With most of the Korean youth growing up attending additional after school institutions, it is no surprise that Korean universities are among the best in Asia.
The quality of education and the dedication to achieving highly is exceptional. Attending a Korean university will inspire you to work hard and compete with students at the top of their game. If you find your country’s approach to education unsatisfactory and desire a challenge, Korea is the place for you.
Most universities offer students the opportunity to take a course in Korean language during their exchange. This ranges from classes for complete beginners, to classes for more advanced learners who have studied Korean before.
The ability to speak another language is invaluable to employers these days and learning Korean will be extremely beneficial to those planning to return to Korea after their exchange. And if you don’t have the opportunity to study the language, you will be surprised how much you will pick up in your daily life.
COST OF LIVING
If there is anything university students love, it is the chance to save some money. Embarking on a year abroad may seem like an expensive pursuit, but studying in Korea is a lot easier on your bank account than you may realise.
Accommodation, transportation and eating outing are all extremely cheap. Even Seoul, which many expect to be expensive like other capital cities, can be enjoyed on a budget by students who are worried about the financial implications of studying abroad. By far the most expensive part of your year abroad is likely to be your plane ticket.
The rigorous education system in Korea has certainly led to a ‘work hard, play hard’ culture at universities. Students in Korea are dedicated to their studies, but this is not at the expense of their social life.
University areas are bustling, typically full of bars and clubs where students gather until the early hours of the morning to drink, eat and dance. If a vibrant nightlife is an important part of your student experience, Korea will not disappoint.
Korea was known as the ‘hermit kingdom’ until the late 19th century. The possibility of visiting was out of the question. Now that it is open to foreigners, the opportunity to travel around the country, learn about its rich history and be a part of the rapidly progressing future is one which should not be missed.
Korea is remarkable for its merging of the traditional with the modern; it is common place to find a thousand-year old temple neighbouring a sky-scraper. Travelling around Korea is relatively cheap and, in some cases, free for foreigners.
As the country is quite small, trips can be made at the weekend, without impacting your attendance marks. The natural landscapes in Korea provides a well-needed retreat from the non-stop student life. You will have no shortage of breath-taking photos to make your friends at home jealous.
Cheap, convenient and delicious. If these are your requirements for dining as a student, Korea is the right place for you. Food is central to Korean culture and so, the streets are lined with a variety of restaurants, many of which offer a wholesome meal for a reasonable price.
Most restaurants are open until late, offer a delivery service and convenience stores are open 24 hours for late night study fuel. Dining out is an essential part of life as a student in Korea, with many social events revolving around food, so if you want to immerse yourself in a unique and delicious cuisine, come to Korea.
Since its boom in the 1960s, the Korean economy has been growing at a rapid rate. This has led to an interest from international organisations and foreign job-seekers. The ability to secure a career in the country is becoming increasingly more competitive, especially for those without language skills.
Studying in Korea will give you the experience and language skills necessary to pursue a career here and will put you at the front of the game. A year abroad is highly desired by many employers and is essential to anyone who intends to work internationally.
One of the most common reasons students desire to study abroad is to experience life in a culture completely different from their own. No matter where you are from in the world, Korea will never fail to intrigue and fascinate its visitors on a daily basis.
As one of the most homogenous countries in the world, many traditional aspects of Korean culture have been preserved, and can be observed in modern life without the influence of other cultures. Studying in South Korea will expose you to a unique and captivating culture and provide an experience completely different to that of a tourist.
Attending a Korean university gives exchange students an insiders perspective of life in Korea which really is a once in a life time opportunity.
Attending a Korean university will give you the chance to make friends with Korean students, as well as meeting other exchange students from all around the world. As well as being extremely hard-working, Korean students are welcoming and friendly to international students and will introduce you to the essential aspects of life in Korea, from kimchi to noraebang, in no time.
University students in Korea are typically enthusiastic to share their culture with exchange students and learn about the culture of their foreign visitors. If it isn’t the beautiful scenery or the delicious food, it will be the hospitality of the Korean people which will convince you South Korea is the perfect destination for your year abroad.
COMFORT ZONE AND SAFETY
Although it may be a leap outside your comfort zone, Korea is an extremely safe destination for exchange students. It is not uncommon to leave your personal belongings unattended at a café, or to go out late at night with friends and feel safe.
Of course, every country has its dangers which students should be aware of before moving abroad, but overall, Korea is a remarkably safe environment for foreign students.
If you are interested in studying abroad at a Korean university, check out the following programmes offered to international exchange students.