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by Harry
K-Wave, Contemporary Korea: K-Pop, K-Drama and K-Food

    When I saw Seoul officially release a new BTS Edition Discover Seoul Pass, I came to realize just how popular Korea has become globally throughout the years. Much of its success lies in the spread of Hallyu, or the K-Wave, and it is not strange today to hear tourists coming to Korea just because they love K-Pop, or they saw a K-Drama, or even after trying out some K-Food abroad. In this post, I will briefly explain some of the changes Korea had gone through regarding its globalization, and the K-Wave. I will categorize the key characteristics of K-Wave into K-Pop, K-Drama and K-Food, to make explanations and references easier. It might not be perfectly accurate, but you will get a general idea of why Hallyu has become so popular.   K-Pop  K-Pop is a recognized music genre as much as Pop, Rock or Electronic. It is characterized by repetitive, catchy, and fancy melody tunes with a catchy rhythm, and enhanced by idol performers who can dance, sing and/or even rap on stage.    (Girl group, Twice, from JYP Entertainment) It is hard to pinpoint exactly which group/singer and which period of time did K-Pop started becoming popular worldwide. Between 1995 and 1998, the three music industries JYP, SM, and YG Entertainment formed, and these industries helped to pave the way for future artists and idols to enter music industry.  Groups such as Girl's Generation (SM), Big Bang (YG) and Wonder Girls (JYP) were one of the first to start performing and promoting to fans overseas through concerts and SNS, but initially towards Asia. Songs such as "Gee", "Nobody" and later "Bang Bang Bang" became hits overseas, with overseas fans being able to cite Korean lyrics during concerts. Psy (from YG)'s "Gangnam Style" was one of the most viewed Youtube MVs throughout the world, and idol group EXO also played a huge role in spreading K-Pop especially towards the Western countries. The era of the big 3 (JYP, YG, SM) came to a hold when a certain group called BTS, from Big Hit Entertainment came to sweep, and spread K-Pop like wildfire to the US and Europe. Their songs were continuously featured on the US Billboard 200, and BTS also had won Top Artist for three years in a row on the Billboard Music Awards. It is not an exaggeration to say that global K-Pop today, is currently the era of BTS.   ---   K-Drama   Much like K-Pop, K-Drama had first spread across Asia, in regions such as Japan and China, to later spread to other parts of the world such as South-East Asia, and towards Europe and the US. The most common theme for K-Dramas is romance, often brought with dramatic conflicts and sequences that keep the audience on their toes.   One of the most influential early K-Dramas that caught the attention of Japanese, and Chinese viewers was Winter Sonata, starring Bae Yong Joon. It was so famous especially among the Japanese viewers that Bae Yong Joon got the nickname 'Yon-sama'. Other notable dramas include "My Love from the Star" and "Descendants of the Sun". These dramas helped to spark the popularity of 'chicken and beer, chimaek', the Korean army, and the culture in general. Korean movies did not gain as much popularity as K-Dramas did due to the popularity of Hollywood movies, but some notable movies worth mentioning are "The Host" (괴물) and "The Train to Busan" (부산행).     ---   K-Food   K-Food is now so much more than the common 'Kimchi' or 'Bibimbap' that were representative of Korea in the past. Rather, Korean food industries today, are focusing on spreading the Korean culture, and history throughout the food.   As much as how Japanese food, or Thai food have become globally recognized in a short period of time, Korea, and K-Food too has become globally popular through recent times.   Being a representative of slow food, healthy and dieting, K-Food, featuring healthy side dishes, and retaining its local, original tastes have become popular originating from Korean Barbeque and Kimchi.  K-Pop stars have also played a huge role in helping to promote K-Food, through promotions and K-Dramas, drawing attention to fans to try out the food.   ---   I may have missed out many details regarding K-Pop, K-Drama, or K-Food, but there are so much more innate, and correlated aspects which all helped K-Wave to build up to its popularity and significance today. There is no telling of what the future holds for K-Wave, but it seems like right now, it's just the beginning.  

May 21, 2019
by Inku
65th TOPIK (in Korea) application guide and details

The 65th TOPIK (July 7, 2019) application in Korea is open tomorrow (May 21, 2019)!   Make sure that you apply from 9:00 AM May 21, 2019 to 6:00 PM May 27 for the 65th TOPIK in Korea!   The exam will be conducted on July 7, 2019   The Results will be released on August 1, 2019   1st round of application: May 21 0900hrs ~ May 23 1800hrs 2nd round of application: May 24 1000hrs ~ May 27 1800hrs   Complete your registration and payment for 1st round of application in the given time. If you have not registered or have not made the payment in the 1st round of application, you will have to register during the 2nd round application. – the difference between 1st and 2nd round is that 1st round applicants have the benefit to choose where to take their examination and have priority. On the other hand, 2nd round applicants will have to choose from leftover spaces.   A. How to Apply: 1. Create a TOPIK account or log in to your account 2. Choose your exam location 3. Select whether you are taking TOPIK I or TOPIK II TOPIK I is for level 1 and 2 while TOPIK II is for level 3 to 6 4. Upload your photo and fill in the blanks necessary 5. Upon completion, check if your application is registered.   B. Things to take note: Make sure you upload your correct photo; you should upload a photo of you and not anyone or anything else. You are able to change your photo during the application period. However, after the application period, you will not be able to change it voluntarily. (unless you have been marked as 사진오류자(photo error). You will not be able to print your admission pass without updating your photo when marked as such. After updating your photo you should also inform that you changed your photo on [정보마당][Q&A] Any changes to your application details (other than photo) that you wish to make after the application period, you have to send your changes to the email at topik@korea.kr until July 2. Ex. Title: (접수번호/registration number)-영문성명 변경 요청 Information: HONG GIL DONG -> GO GIL DONG   If your form of identification you bring during the exam does not match the information given in the admission pass, you may not be eligible to take the exam.   C. Date to print admission pass: June 24 1000hrs ~ July 7   D. Refund date: 1st round of refund: May 21 ~ May 27 (100% refundable) 2nd round of refund: May 28 ~ June 3 (50% refundable) 3rd round of refund: June 4 ~ July 6 1300hrs (40% refundable)   E. If you have difficulties/limitations in online registration, you can visit certain facilities Time: 21 May 2019 ~ 22 May 2019 (09:00 ~ 18:00) Items to bring: Identification (alien registration card or passport) ID Photograph (or passport photo) Mode of payment (credit card or bank account) Below is the list of facilities you can receive assistance:   Name IC Contact Location 국립국제교육원 TOPIK 사업단 02-3668-1331 국립국제교육원 TOPIK 사업단(7층, 704호) 건국대학교 임철권 02-450-3956 건국대학교 언어교육원 행정실 (교내 6번 건물 1층) 한국산업기술대학교 오창열 031-8041-0802 한국산업기술대학교 시흥비즈니스센터 502호 계명대학교 남희온 053-580-6358 계명대학교(성서캠퍼스) 동영관 317호(사랑방) 부경대학교 이지은 051-629-6905 부경대학교 대연캠퍼스 국제교류부 행정실 (대학본부 108호) 선문대학교 전동호 정다운 041-559-1302 041-559-1308 선문대학교 천안캠퍼스 본관 401호 제주한라대학교 조훈진 064-741-7421 제주한라대학교 금호미래관 1층 언어교육센터 한림대학교 장윤희 033-248-2973 한림대학교 국제관 1층 14102호   Link to official TOPIK website: http://www.topik.go.kr/usr/lang/index.do?home_seq=221

May 20, 2019
by Visit Korea - Korea Tourism Organization
Culture & Traditions

About Korea: Culture & Tradition By: Korea Tourism Organization   Nowadays, if you visit the Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, or the Hanok Village in Jeonju, it's a common sight to see many locals and foreigners wear Hanbok. It goes to show how widespread and popular Korean culture has become throughout the world.   Korean culture is similar to Chinese, Japanese culture in that it is influenced by Confucianism, which established many traditions that we see in modern Korea today. It determines the ethical code in everyday life such as showing respect to elders and family. Hence, it is why many people ask regarding age, marriage or status to determine how to behave and treat one another in terms of social position.   ---   Hangeul:   Hangeul is one of the most unique creations of Korea, and was introduced in 1443 by King Sejong (1418-1450), the 4th king of the Joseon.  Hangeul as a written language, did not have any influence from pre-existing writing systems. The language is one of the easiest languages to learn, evidenced by Korea's illiteracy rates being one of the lowest in the world. There is even public holiday called Hangeul Day on October 9th, to commemorate and celebrate the creation of the alphabet.   ---   Hanbok, Korea's Traditional Costume   Hanbok is the traditional attire of the Korean people, which comes in various shapes and colors to reflect the culture and lifestyle during its time. Although it is only worn on special occasions and anniversaries, nowadays, hanbok is worn for fashion, and tourists find the Hanbok experience a must-do during their visit to Korea.   ---   Hansik, Traditional Korean Food   Hansik refers to Korean traditional food, centered on rice, served alongside a bowl of soup and various side dishes. Hansik is known to be extremely healthy, due to the amount based on fermented foods such as Kimchi, or Gochujang.  Some popular Korean dishes among foreigners include Bulgogi, bibimbap, and Hanjeongsik (Korean Full Table). Visitors are always treated with a little bit of everything when trying out Korean food.   ---   Hanok, Korean Traditional Housing   Hanok refers to houses built in the traditional Korean style. Hanoks can be categorized as noblemen and common-folk residences, which are characterized by the type of roof. Noblemen residences are usually tile-roofed, while common-folk residences are thatch-roofed. There are two main charms to hanoks. The first is the unique stone layered heating system of 'ondol', while the second is that hanoks are environmentally friendly, made from completely natural building materials. Today, majority of hanoks remain to commemorate Korea's past. Some have been changed in include modern facilities installed, while some remain untouched.    --- Korean Traditional Music   Korean traditional music can be divided into music listened to by the royal family, and by the common-folk, each differing greatly in style.  Jongmyo Jeryeak, is the royal ancestral ritual music, which was played during ancestral rites, and is characterized as solemn and splendid. In contrast, commoners overcame the difficulties of the working class by singing folk music, or by pansori, a traditional Korean music that narrates a themed story Recently, there has been an increase in a fusion of traditional and contemporary Korean styles of music, to feature both elements of music styles. Performances such as "Nanta" or "Gugak B-Boy" are examples of such fusions featuring traditional Korean rhythms and contemporary rock music.   Final Remarks:   Much of Korea's traditions and cultures today, have been influenced by growing globalization and western influence. Nevertheless, the Confucian influence still remains strong, and though foreigners sometimes may find it confusing, the Korean sense of belonging, social position and identity remains strong.   You can check out our site for additional details and information.   Also, feel free to contact us on our SNS such as Facebook or Instagram if you have any questions or concerns about Korea.

May 20, 2019
by Inku
How's university like in Korea?

University life in Korea   You probably have seen many videos or blogs already about the life of a Korean student. However, in this blog, I want to tell you some of the important things that you have to know as a foreign student studying in a Korean university. The purpose of this post is to give an idea of what you can expect from your university life in Korea.   Many Koreans consider University as the first step into adult life. In Korea, students enter the legal adult age as soon as they start their university year. This is when they start drinking and enjoying the nightlife. Korean parents tend to be strict until their children complete high school, but after entering university, these parents often give freedom to their children. Therefore, students have more control over their life than they ever did.   1. 동아리 Dongari Apart from the lectures and studying, students are engaged in non-curricular activities called 동아리 (dongari). This Dongari is like an active club of students with similar interests. It could be anything from sports or even looking for good food (matjib). In this Dongari, you can meet new people who are from different departments and even different universities. As for myself, I joined a photography dongari even though I had no knowledge in it. As a member of the photography dongari, we would go on field trips or events and take pictures. I joined a few other dongaris as well such as football and coding. I enjoyed the idea of meeting new people of similar interests. These dongaris are not just randomly organized groups but they go through a process of formal registration from the university. There are many Dongaris in each school and I suggest that you look into them when you are studying in a university in Korea, as they may be a big part of your university life.   2. 선배/후배 Sunbae/Hubae One of the important community culture in Korea is the 선배/후배 Sunbae/Hubae culture. In its literal sense, it is closest to senior and junior. However, it is more complicated than just that. Anyone who came first in a certain community is your Sunbae and anyone who comes next would be your Hubae. The most common analogy would be in your school. If you entered a university in 2019, the person who entered the university in the year 2018 or earlier would be your Sunbae. Anyone who enters the school at 2020 or later would be your Hubae. In the past, this Sunbae/Hubae system formed a hierarchical society. However, most of this hierarchical culture have disappeared and left a culture of socializing. Your Sunbaes tend to help you as their Sunbaes did and eventually you will be helping your Hubaes as well.   3. Drinking culture in Korea. Just like in any other universities in the world, drinking(alcohol) cannot be left undiscussed when talking about universities. It is not an overstatement to say that Koreans drink a lot. This drinking culture starts in the universities. As early as your orientation (or as Koreans call it OT), you will most likely be having something called 뒷풀이 (dwitpule). It’s like an after-party for any event. This is when people gather to drink and socialize. In these dwitpule it sometimes extends to 2차 2nd round and 3차 3rd round (or even more). While it is perfectly fine to enjoy this culture, overdrinking is a big issue in Korea and it’s always important to drink in moderation. Personally, I’m not a good drinker and I only enjoy an occasional beer. Hence, I don’t often join these dwitpule. However, it doesn’t mean that I will be left out. There are always other ways to socialize with others. If I do join for an occasional drink, I wouldn’t drink as much as others but still be able to socialize and be part of the group. Although drinking helps you socialize with more people, It’s important that you know your limit when drinking rather than drinking too much and making mistakes that you may regret.   4. 축제 Chukjae Lastly, one of the biggest events in Korean universities are 축제 (chukjae) festivals. Every year the university open these festivals around late spring or fall. The school invites various singers, groups, band etc. to perform. You can watch your favorite groups/band/singers perform live on stage for almost no cost. (Depending on the school). There are also one-day booths set up by the students that sell food and drinks as a fundraiser during these festivals. These festivals are even open to public so you are able to visit other schools as well. In my opinion, school festivals are a great way to let off some steam from studying and enjoy being a student of that school.   Describing the university culture in Korea can be endless. What I gave you above is only some of the many things that you might get to know or enjoy while studying in Korea. However, I hope that this post helped you in understanding at least some of the important university culture in Korea.

May 20, 2019
by Visit Korea - Korea Tourism Organization
Seasons & Weather

About Korea: Seasons & Weather By: Korea Tourism Organization   It sure is getting hotter nowadays, marking the beginning of Summer. Korea has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons; spring, summer, fall and winter. Winters which last from December ~ March are long, cold and dry whereas summers which last from July ~ September are short, hot and humid. Spring (March ~ May) and autumn (October ~ November) are short in duration.   In Korea, each season is characterized by a unique feature, such as cherry blossoms in spring, maple leaves in autumn, the snow in winter, and the beach and monsoon season during the summer.   --- Spring Cherry blossoms bloom across to cover the nation in wonderful colors of white and pink during this season. Tourists can enjoy cherry blossom festivals in locations such as Yeouido, Jamsil, or Nami Island. The weather can vary, being very cold during the evening, while being warm during the day.   Summer Summer temperatures in Korea and reach as high as 40 degrees in some districts such as Daegu or Busan. There is also the rainy monsoon season during July and August. Tourists and locals will often go to nearby lakes, reservoirs, water parks and beaches to cool off from the summer heat. Between spring and summer is also the season for several music or outdoor festivals.   Autumn Similar to Spring, maple leaves cover the nation in colors of red and orange, marking the eventual coming of winter. Tourists and locals may visit locations such as the Naejang Mountain in Jeongeup, which is one of the most famous attractions to see the autumn maple leaves. The weather can vary, being cold during the evening while being relatively warm during the day.   Winter Winter in Korea can get very cold, with temperatures reaching as low as negative 20 degrees in districts such as Gangwon-do. It also snows heavily, with the amount varying across the districts. Tourists and locals will often visit the Ski-resort during this season to go skiing, snowboarding or sledding. You can check out our site for additional details and information.   Also, feel free to contact us on our SNS such as Facebook or Instagram if you have any questions or concerns about Korea.  

May 17, 2019
by Visit Korea - Korea Tourism Organization
Geography & Provinces

About Korea: Geography & Provinces By Korea Tourism Organization   Korea is a mostly mountainous country, so much of the structures, roads and buildings are based on an angle. A lot of the flatlands are used for agricultural production. Korea is surrounded by beaches, categorizing between the West, and the East Coast. There are also some islands such as the famous Jeju-Island, Ulleung Island and Dokdo.         South Korea is composed of nine provinces, with Seoul as the capital City. The provinces include Seoul Metropolitan Area, Gyeonggi-do, Gangwon-do, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Gyeongsangnam-do, Jeollanam-do, Jeollabuk-do and Jeju-do. Other notable and advanced cities in Korea include Daejeon, Incheon, Sejong, Daegu.   Each district or city has its own unique characteristic or attraction point such as Everland in Gyeonggi-do, Haeundae Beach in Busan, or the Hanok Village in Jeonju. The spoken dialect of Korean also changes across each province, particularly within the Gyeongsang and the Jeolla Provinces.   ---   Seoul        To explain about Seoul in more detail, the regions and economic status are divided mainly into the North and South according to the Han River (which flows through Seoul measuring 514 km in length). Prices and quality of service, and infrastructure in general also differ according to this division. Seoul is also home to the headquarters of several Fortune Global 500 companies such as LG, Samsung and Hyundai. Other Corporations are usually grouped and located as a hub, such as the financial hub in Yeouido, or the broadcasting station hub within Digital Media City. In general, Seoul is considered a leading and a rising global city. Though it was rated as a city with one of the highest quality of living, it has some of the highest living costs, and has an extremely expensive real-estate market. Tourists love Seoul for its high living standards, easy transportation in and out of the city, and for its cultural aspects such as the food and the night-life.   You can check out our site for additional details and information.   Also, feel free to contact us on our SNS such as Facebook or Instagram if you have any questions or concerns about Korea.  

May 17, 2019
by Visit Korea - Korea Tourism Organization
National Symbols of Korea

About Korea - National Symbols By Korea Tourism Organization The National Symbols of Korea are official and unofficial icons, flags, representations or cultural expressions which have been accepted to represent South Korea   The main symbols of Korea include the National Flag (Taegukgi), the National Anthem (Aegukga) and the National Flower (Mugunghwa)     National Flag (Taegeukki) The design of the Taegeukgi was finalized in 1949. The circle in the center is divided equally, and in perfect balance. It symbolizes the principles of the yin and yang, where the upper red responds to the positive cosmic forces of the yang, and the lower blue represents the negative cosmic forces of the yin. The background of the flag is white, representing peace and purity valued by the people of Korea. Finally, the trigrams surrounding the center each have its own meanings. The upper left represents ‘heaven’, the lower left represents ‘fire’, the upper right represents ‘water’ and finally the lower right represents ‘earth’. National Anthem (Aeguk-ga)   The National Anthem or the Aegukga was re-arranged and finalized by Maestro Ahn Eak Tai (1906-1965) after undergoing several changes.   The term Aegukga literally translates to ‘a song expressing love towards the country’, and it was meant to foster patriotism and raise awareness for the nation’s independence. While it does not necessarily translate directly to the National Anthem, Koreans term the Aegukga and accept it as the Anthem. The National Anthem, usually only the first verse, is mainly sung at official or national events. National Flower (Mugunghwa) The Mugunghwa, also known as the Korean Rose, is the national flower of South Korea, which appears in national emblems. The flowers bloom from July to October every year to gracefully decorate the entire nation. The flower’s symbolic meaning stems from the word ‘Mugung’ which means eternity.   Finally, other unofficial emblems or expressions include: The National Bird: Korean Magpie The National Animal: Siberian Tiger The National Instrument: Gayageum, The National Sport: Taekwondo. You can check out our site for additional details and information.   Also, feel free to contact us on our SNS such as Facebook or Instagram if you have any questions or concerns about Korea.

May 17, 2019
by Visit Korea - Korea Tourism Organization
About Korea - General Information

~ Welcome to Korea ~ By Korea Tourism Organization   If you currently live abroad, you may have heard at least once about Korea, whether it is about the food (such as Kimchi), the K-Drama (such as Goblin) or K-Pop (such as BTS). You may have even heard about Korea from the issues arising from North Korea. Although Korea is small, it has become one of the most influential countries the past couple of years.   South Korea, or officially known as the Republic of Korea, is one of the most economically developed countries in Asia along with its neighbors, Japan and China. It has a population of approximately 51,635,256 (as of September 2018), with most of the population residing in the metropolitan areas such as Seoul or Busan     The main language used in the country, both reading, writing and speaking is Korean, while the written version is called Hangul. Many Koreans are obliged to learn English as the second language, and it is also mandatory to teach English, or a second language in public institutions.   It is visited annually by tens of millions of international travellers, many who come as tourists, while some decide to study or even work at Korea. It is hard to segment which nationality or types of visitors visit Korea the most, but there has been an overall change from Asian ethnic, to European or North American visitors.    You can check out our site for additional details and information.   Also, feel free to contact us on our SNS such as Facebook or Instagram if you have any questions or concerns about Korea.    

May 17, 2019
by Inku
No 'Outs' in Health 'In'surance

No ‘Outs’ in Health ‘In’surance   Recent reports state that from July 16th onwards, it will be compulsory for all foreigners, including students, to sign up for the state health insurance system if they stay in Korea for longer than 6 months. Hence, the burden to pay for health insurance rose from 100,000KRW per year to 678,000KRW per year, almost 7 times its original cost. That’s a significant increase for an average college/university student. It’s a questionable move by the government considering the fact that they’ve been trying to increase the number of foreign students studying in Korea. Apparently, the root of the issue dates back to 2012.   1. The issue According to a Chosun News article from 2018 titled “외국인 건강보험 적자, 작년 2000억 돌파”, Foreigner Health Insurance Deficit has constantly been rising from 77.8 billion KRW in 2012 to 200 billion KRW in 2017. The main reason behind the deficit was that foreigners would receive the benefits of health insurance and after the treatment, the patient would immediately return back to his/her country. For instance, patient A could be paying for the health insurance of 100,000 KRW for a year and receive treatment worth 500,000 KRW. As soon as patient A is treated, he/she returns back home and a deficit worth 400,000 KRW arises. Similar cases have become an issue in Korea where some people would come to take advantage of the health insurance system. Tuberculosis treatment, for example, is a common disease that can be treated for free even if you are a foreigner without health insurance. In fact, Tuberculosis patients increased from 791 patients in 2007 to 2940 patients in 2016. Even though there was a decrease in Korean nationals diagnosed with Tuberculosis, there was an increase in international patients. This increase in sick patients has caused both health and financial concerns.    The current National Health Insurance policy allows foreigners who have stayed in Korea for longer than 3 months to decide whether to sign up for it or not. Compared to countries such as the UK, where foreigners not from EU are qualified after 6 months, and Japan (1 year), Korea’s standards seem to be too lenient. In fact, Korean students who study overseas fear to be sick, and stay away from healthcare, as they are often not insured. Hence, it seems that the government has added that 6-month buffer time before the compulsory payment.   2. The disagreement While this seems to be the reason behind the decision of the government, it is evidently unpopular among the international public in Korea. A current petition is ongoing, where more than 62,000 have signed for the withdrawal of the compulsory insurance policy. A university faculty member in charge of foreign students in Korea has raised the issue of the previously undiscussed policy. This faculty member expressed his regret over the proceeding of this policy without being discussed with members related to this issue. In fact, during the announcement of this policy, the faculty member asked why it wasn’t discussed before the proceeding of the policy, and the answer that he received from the management was that “last year’s health insurance deficit was 200 billion KRW”.   These are the 3 main points that he/she expressed regret upon:   Firstly, while many foreign students sign up for health insurance in private companies, the new policy makes it compulsory to sign up for the National Health Insurance Service. This means that foreign students who have difficulties in making a bank account due to nationality (ex. Ethiopian, Iranian) would have to visit the bank in person every month. Hence, there are concerns about the feasibility of this policy.   Secondly, compared to health insurance from companies, the National Health Insurance is too expensive. While it is already difficult for foreign students to find a job in Korea, he believes an increase of more than 6 times its original cost puts a burden to many foreign students. In truth, many of the students who come to Korea to study are not financially stable. Additionally, the punishment set for not paying for the insurance such as confiscation and limited Visa extension is too harsh and may, in turn, lead to an increase in illegal immigration.   Lastly, the 6-month time for eligibility of the insurance begins on the date of arrival in Korea. However, this seems to disclaim the fact that it takes 2weeks to as long as a month to receive an Alien Registration Card. Hence, there is a lack of understanding of this period of waiting.   3. Final thoughts It seems to me that the issue of Health Insurance deficit has always been a problem because of the minority of people taking advantage of the system. Since most people potentially are more likely to be diagnosed with a chronic illness in their later ages, international students who are generally healthy during their time of study are at a disadvantage. While universities are trying to bring in more foreign students, this change seems to be a step backward. Though it may not be a deciding factor, this increase may cause unhappiness in this group. Yet at the same time, is there any fair solution for such a great deficit? I am curious about how the international community in Korea perceives of this current situation. Please leave any opinion or corrections you may want to share. The current petition is still in process, and you can be a part of this petition by going into the petition section of the Blue House webpage in Korean.   Reference: http://m.chosun.com/svc/article.html?sname=news&contid=2018043000080#Redyho http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2019/05/177_268676.html https://www1.president.go.kr/petitions/580061

May 17, 2019
by Inku
An exclusive chance for ASEAN Science and Engineering students

If you are a Science or Engineering student from one of the 10 ASEAN countries, you should take this exclusive opportunity to study in Korea. Almost everyone would have heard of Samsung, as it is one of the largest electronics company in the world. Not only that but Korea is well known in the R&D (Research and Development) section throughout the world. Every year, up to 200 ASEAN students get the chance of studying here for 5-weeks for zero cost.    GKS for ASEAN Countries’ Science and Engineering students   A. Introduction: An opportunity open to the 10 ASEAN countries’ students in the Science and Engineering department. Every year, around summer break, the government announces the application for this scholarship. This year, the program is from July 11th to August 14th, 5 weeks of academic training and experience is prepared from 6 different universities to choose from. Sadly, the application has met its deadline on may 10th 2019. However, the program is still open every year. The benefits of this scholarship is airfare, accommodation, tuition fee and Traveler’s Insurance. A total of 200 students were to be accepted this year 2019.   Some of the programs provided during the 5 weeks are:  Orientation  Introduction of Program  Lectures  Field of study, Korean language, History Culture  Research Project, Lab activities, Seminar  Conduct research projects under mentoring of graduate students in Korea  Field Trip  Laboratories, institutes, cultural visits  Closing  Presentation, award ceremony for outstanding students These programs are subject to changes according to school and time period   These are the institutions and fields that you could apply to this year (2019). You should be aware that the schools you may apply to changes yearly and while some may remain, some may be replaced:   Chosun University  Mechanical Engineering, Photonics Engineering  Chung-Ang University  Electrical and Electronics Engineering  Chungnam National University  Animal Science and Biotechnology  Keimyung University  Architecture and Civil Engineering  Kyungwoon University  Aeromechanical Engineering, Aviation IT Convergence  Mokpo National Maritime University (newly added in 2019)  Maritime Engineering (Marine Engine, Navigation, Naval Architecture, Ocean Civil Engineering You can choose only one of the universities given and once the document screening is complete, you may receive a phone/skype call to do an interview from your choice of university. B. Qualification: Citizen of designated ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam)  Undergraduate students majoring in Science or Engineering in the above ASEAN countries and have completed 2 or more semesters.  Fluent in English Mentally and Physically healthy Ability and willingness to adapt to Korean life and culture   C. Date of Application: The notice is usually posted 3 weeks before the application deadline. For this year’s notice, it was posted on April 22nd. One should check the notice around this time in order to apply for the scholarship.   D. Documents: Along with the notice, you will be receiving an application form, self-introduction, research plan, letter of recommendation template to fill out. It can be written in English or Korean.  Additionally, you need to submit: Passport Copy Proof of enrollment in current university And an original sealed transcript from the university   E. Additional remarks: Because the full program is going to be in English, it would be important for you to be fluent in the language. In addition, understanding Korean language and culture would benefit your program experience as well as to improve your chances in being selected. Among the 6 choices of the University, you should firstly be aware of the programs they provide as well as their location. For instance, only Chung-ang University is located in Seoul and the rest are not. It does not mean one is better than the other but rather something you should be aware of to know what to expect. As for your accomodation, during your 5-weeks, you will be in a dormitory of 2~3 person per room and mostly Korean food will be provided.     Thank you for reading this post! I will continue to put an effort to provide you with any useful information. If there are any changes or mistakes that you want to mention, feel free to email me at (wakandasian@gmail.com). You can email me personally if there are any questions as well and I will give a reply either through the blog or personally.

May 16, 2019
by Inku
11-day trip that costs 0 dollars

Have you ever wanted to go to Korea but never actually got the chance? We often dream of traveling to a new country alone and meeting new people. However, it is never easy planning it or even going alone. Not to forget the costs of the whole trip itself. What if you don't have to pay a single dollar? What if you don't have to plan anything? That's why I want to introduce you to this program.   GKS-IP Global Korea Scholarship Invitation Program for Students from partnering countries.    A. Introduction: An Invitation program provided by the government for students who are interested in an all-expense paid training program. Its purpose is to offer future global leaders with invaluable experience in Korea. It is an 11-day trip to Korea and programs are set up to provide lectures, activities, tours, university visits, homestay, and more to the applicants. This program is offered annually usually around June to July with about 120 students from 56 different countries. Each country is given a limited number of students to send to Korea. 60 university students and 60 high school students from schools that offer Korean language courses are chosen.    Below is the list of Programs offered in the 2019 program (subjected to changes): Activities Details Lectures Korean language, history, economics, culture, etc. Government Office visits Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Unification, etc. University Tours Visiting Korean universities, Meeting and networking with Korean students Field trip to historic sites Gyeongju, Gyeongbok Palace, the National Museum of Korea, etc. Field trip to Korean Companies POSCO, Hyundai Motor Company, Samsung Electronics, etc. Cultural Activities Nanta Concert, Traditional Korean Clothes, and Food Homestay 2~3 students per family Other activities Visits to a Broadcasting Station, a Korean Folk Village, and an Amusement Park, etc. (http://down.mofa.go.kr/hk-en/brd/m_1495/down.do?brd_id=8158&seq=761234&data_tp=A&file_seq=1) PDF   B. Qualification: Undergraduate student or high school student Students from the selected country Priority is given those who have never been to Korea Preference for students who have a good understanding of Korea and fluent in Korean and English   C. Date of Application: Application is open from the Korean Embassy of your country. It differs from country to country and one should check the notice. However, the application is usually until mid to late March and open for application for about a month.    D. Documents: No separate documents are required until stated so. Travel related documents such as passport copy may be requested. An application form will be provided along with the notice of the program. Check with your embassy on what to prepare and where to submit them.   E. Additional Remarks: Because the program will be offered in English, applicants should be fluent in English. Those who are able to speak Korean and interested in Korea are given priority over others. It is beneficial to be familiar with Korean or the culture to increase your chances of being selected and to enrich your experience. Since most food provided will be Korean food, it is advisable to familiarize with Korean food. Students will follow the program schedule and private schedules are not allowed during the program.    Thank you for reading this post! I will continue to put an effort to provide you with any useful information. If there are any changes or mistakes that you want to mention, feel free to email me at (wakandasian@gmail.com). You can email me personally if there are any questions as well and I will give a reply either through the blog or personally.

May 15, 2019
by Inku
How to be fully paid for during your exchange program in Korea

GKS/KGSP for Exchange students   A. Introduction: A scholarship provided by the government to international undergraduate students who are willing to come to Korea for an exchange program. The NIIED supports about 200 international students each time. Depending, on the length of exchange of the student, the scholarship lasts from 4~10 months. The NIIED selects the (Korean) universities and the number of exchange students each school can nominate. This number may vary from time to time. Next, the (Korean) universities select a number of potential candidates for this scholarship. These potential candidates will be required to send documents which will then be screened by the respective universities and finally to the NIIED.    Below is the scholarship benefits that you will receive: Category Living Expenses Settlement allowance Round-trip Airfare Medical Insurance Amount 500,000KRW per month 200,000 KRW upon arrival Reimbursement available within the set amount 20,000 KRW per month   (http://www.studyinkorea.go.kr/en/sub/gks/allnew_exchange.do)   B. Qualification: Korean Citizenship (including dual citizenship) holders are not eligible Undergraduate students who have completed 2 semesters Must take a Korean language or culture class (at least one / 2 credits) Must possess a GPA of at least 80% out of 100% Must not have enrolled in a Korean university Must not have been sponsored by the Korean government    C. Date of Application: Depending on the season of application, it may fall before the start of the summer semester or the winter semester.  D. Documents: If you are nominated for the scholarship, the university may require you to submit a few documents for screening. Below is a list of some of the documents they may ask you to send: Self-Introduction Study plan Letter of recommendation Language proficiency certification (TOPIK/TOEFL etc.) Verification of awards The list of documents may vary according to circumstances. However, the above list of documents may be needed in order to understand whether the candidate is worthy of the scholarship.   E. Additional Remarks: The universities will screen you based on your academic performance as well as additional information that you provide them. Hence, in order to increase your chances of earning this scholarship, you should have a high GPA and an overall high performance in your respective schools. Additionally, it would be good to make a good self-introduction or study plan to leave an impression. Lastly, it is always recommended to have a TOPIK grade level 3 or above when applying for a Korean university. Thank you for reading this post! I will continue to put an effort to provide you with any useful information. If there are any changes or mistakes that you want to mention, feel free to email me at (wakandasian@gmail.com). You can email me personally if there are any questions as well and I will give a reply either through the blog or personally.

May 15, 2019