In 2013, more than 287 thousand college students chose to study abroad with a small fraction of those picking South Korea as a destination. For those interested, Seoul is a prime choice for a variety of reasons. Many want to experience Korean culture firsthand or experience KPOP at the source. No matter the reason planning for you trip can ensure you get the best experience possible.
One of the first worries students have is not being able to understand the language of instructions. A majority of Universities with international programs offer many classes spoken in English, with some universities offering up to 40% of their classes in English. Many schools also offer Korean language classes in English as well for those who wish to learn the language.
Another issue you may encounter is the risk of your earned credits not transferring or the school not offering classes in your selected major. Consulting with an advisor from your home school is almost necessary to ensure you’re getting the best and most useful study abroad experience. They offer tools to help you not only decide what school would be best for you to attend but provide assurance that you won’t encounter issues returning home. Many advisors suggest adding a minor for those pursuing their bachelor’s degree, usually in International Studies or Korean language.
What could be considered the biggest issue is the cost of the trip. Finding the cheapest program is not always easy and for some the price may still be too hefty. Checking with your home school’s financial aid program could save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Many programs also offer need based aid for students using them. Programs will also help make sure you reach all requirements to be allowed into the country.
To study in Korea, and many other places, you will first have to have an up to date passport. From there, depending on how long your stay is, you will need some sort of visa, usually a student visa. Most study abroad programs will handle these things for you, however, be sure to check as each program is different.
Some smaller, yet important, details some forget:
- Check your university’s start times when planning what flight you will take.
- Plan for weather differences. Korean winters can be much worse than what you are used to.
- Decide if you will be living on campus or in another living arrangement.
- Plan for outings your program may sponsor. Some of these include tours of Seoul and nearby cities.
No matter the place you study, be it South Korea or Alaska, using the resources you have to prepare for your stay will ensure you have the best time possible. Don’t lose sight of the reason you wanted to travel, and make sure you enjoy your time abroad!