Why should I study in Korea?

Study Blog Series | Inku

May 7, 2019

Studying in a new country is never easy. It takes determination and big decisions to decide on where I would complete my studies. I, myself, took a long time before finally deciding to come back to my Korean roots and take my undergraduate program in Korea. It wasn't easy deciding since I had studied in Singapore and Indonesia my whole life. Considering this position, I wanted to share what made me decide on coming to Korea and how you could consider it as an option too.


First of all, Korea's higher education can be grouped into 3 different categories

  • University (4-year program)
  • Junior College (2~3-year program)
  • Graduate school (Master's and Doctoral degree program)

*As Graduate school programs are mostly offered in Universities, 'University' and 'Graduate school' are often categorized together.


Universities (including graduate schools) are a common go-to for many foreign students willing to study in Korea as they provide you with various courses to choose from and eventually earning that hard-earned degree or achieving your goal. Universities provide a 4-year program (6 depending on the course) for your Bachelor's Degree, a 2-year program for Master's, and a 3-year program for Doctoral. Junior College, on the other hand, provides you with education specialized to your needs. After 2~3 years in Junior College, you will be eligible for an Associate's Degree.

Non-degree programs such as exchange or summer school programs are also readily available for foreign students. These short term programs are also as popular as (if not more) Degree programs. Korean Universities provides foreign students with a multitude of opportunity to study and experience student life in Korea. Additionally, many international students come to Korea to study the Korean language. There are various language institutes to choose from that will help fulfill these needs. With each categories having their own benefits and purpose, you will be able to find the education that fit your needs.


You need not worry about difficulties catching up with the classes in a non-English speaking country, because there are many opportunities that teach you Korean to help with your studies and numerous English-speaking classes (or you can always look for a Korean institute or classes in your home country before coming to Korea). In fact, though English is not the main language in the country, it isn't terribly difficult to communicate in basic English with Koreans. (A note of advice is to keep it simple because some Koreans feel uneasy speaking in English)


"But why Korea?"


Korea has already made its mark in the Global Market (be it through electronics, music, entertainment or whatnot) and it's currently ranked 11th in Nominal GDP in the world. Korea owes much of its success to its high standard of education. Together with its culture which puts education as a top priority for youths, Korea puts in efforts to keep these schools competitive and in the best quality. However, in the past, some people considered Korea's education to be overly competitive and academically-oriented. But in today's Korea, schools, especially universities, are looking at a more holistic approach, embracing not only the academic department. Ultimately, Korea is becoming a more favorable country for international students to come to be it for studies or for the experience. As Korea continues to grow, more and more students are coming to Korea to study and more importantly experience Korea.


Following are the statistics of Foreigners who are currently studying in Korea released by the Ministry of Education (MOE) of Korea: (Data was based on April 2018) 


1) Number of Foreign students based on year


Year 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Foreign Students 84,891 91,332 104,262 123,858 142,205


2) Foreign students based on continents and course of study


Region Language Training  Course Type Other Courses Total
University Graduate School
Master's Doctorate
South America            213              303            279               58            105            958
North America            414           1,087            718              295          1,350          3,864
Asia        39,507          53,400        18,488           7,532          9,579       128,506
Africa            441              479          1,330              465            103          2,818
Oceania              41              132              74               16            114            377
Europe          1,045              696            540              144          3,257          5,682
         41,661          56,097        21,429           8,510        14,508       142,205


*The following numbers were provided by the Ministry of Education of Korea (MOE) and uploaded on its site on 5 November 2018


Since the past 5 years, there has been a constant increase in foreign students studying in Korea (such as shown above) to enroll in a Degree or a non-degree program. It's evident that Korea is willing to accept more foreign students coming to study in Korea and more foreign students are wanting to come to Korea.


The decision is up to you, my readers, on whether to come to Korea to study or not and I don't wish to force it on you. Ultimately, I'm just another blogger and you should be responsible for your education. Leaving your home or where you are familiar is not easy. However, why not try and experience what is new or what you always wanted to do. The opportunity is up for grabs.

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.  




Life of an international student in Korea


Hi! My name is Inku and this is my blog for foreigners willing to study in Korea. A little something about myself, I am a Korean who studied in Indonesia for 12 years and in Singapore for another 7 years. Then, I came back to Korea to complete my university here. Currently, I'm studying at Underwood International College (UIC) in Yonsei University. Being overseas for almost my whole life, I understand the struggles of international students living in Korea. Luckily, thanks to my ethnic background and familiarity with the country's culture, I could find my way of adjusting to life in Korea. In this blog, I want to share with you my information that international students need so that you know what to expect from studying in Korea and to prepare and adjust.