Having split from North Korea in 1948 into a separately governed country, South Korea has diverged considerably from its neighbor, developing into an internationally recognized Asian powerhouse in the fields of technology, education and tourism, to name but a few of its strengths. Embracing both tradition and modernity, this ‘Asian Tiger’ has much to offer international students, and ¬¬capital city Seoul is currently ranked among the world’s top 10 student cities.
Investment in education and research has been at the heart of the South Korea's growth into the world’s 13th largest economy and the third largest economy within Asia. It’s this investment and growth in innovation and technology that has meant the country is known as one of the four ‘Asian Tiger’ economies, alongside Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.
Compared with English speaking countries like USA/ Canada or even Korea’s neighbor Japan, Korea has lower tuition fees, living costs and what is better is that the government has well-prepared scholarship programs for international students.
Korea has a highly competitive educational system and has been recognized globally for its excellence in education. Korea ranks at the top of OECD countries for scholastic achievement and educational competitiveness. Korea is all poised to become Asia’s largest economy so understandably, Korea leads the world in Science and Technology. Korea is the home of Samsung, one of the biggest electronics company in the world. This shows how seriously they take their education in science and technology.
With Korea noted as one of the safest countries in the world, the number of international students keeps on increasing every year. In particular, post graduate students have risen steadily over the past years. Many Korean universities are part of the government’s scholarship program and assist in finding job opportunities in Korean companies upon completion of a degree.
One of the good things about studying in South Korea is that tuition fees are the same for domestic and international students, as part of the national plan to bring more international students to the country. These fees will vary depending on the course and university. An undergraduate course at a public university costs from US$2,000 to US$4,500 per semester (with humanities subjects at the lower end and medicine at the top). At a South Korean private university, fees are estimated between US$3,000 and US$6,000 per semester. Average annual tuition fees at the 16 internationally ranked universities in Seoul are US$6,800. To calculate the total cost, bear in mind that there are two semesters in each academic year, and South Korean undergraduate programs typically last four years (or six years for subjects like medicine and dentistry).
Accommodation is cheapest when staying in dormitory and is the most convenient option too. A meal at a normal restaurant could cost you as less as $3 and if you cook at home, it will cost you even less than that. South Korean food is delicious and there are a lot of fruits available year round.
Luckily for international students, student visa holders in degree courses of more than one year's duration at tertiary institutions may take up short-term internships that are study/curriculum-related (and be arranged or endorsed by their university), and up to one year’s duration with no restriction on the nature of work, level of salary, location, number of working hours and employers. So you can earn while studying thereby decreasing financial burden on your parents.