My student journey at Korea University
Nov 16, 2022
7 mins read
💼 Bachelor: Business Administration
⏳ Mar 2021 — Feb 2025
🗣 English, Korean
✅ Student Visa
💰 Merit-based partial scholarships
🤓 25,000 Students
🌏 16% International
Recently, I have noticed that South Korea is becoming more popular among people of different ages worldwide. From K-pop, K-dramas, and Netflix shows, it is safe to say that Korean culture is becoming a global hit. South Korea is also known as one of the best and safest countries for University students, offering high-quality education and memorable student life. In this post, I will share my experience as an international student at country's one of the top universities.
About Korea University
Established in 1905, Korea University, or "KU" is a private university in Seoul. The University is known as one of the SKY universities, a popular acronym referring to Korea's three most prestigious universities (S-Seoul National University, K- Korean University, and Y-Yonsei University). The university has 81 departments in 19 colleges and divisions, as well as 18 graduate schools. The official School color is Crimson. The Symbol Animal is a Tiger, which stands to represent courage, determination, agility, and dignity. The University has a very rich history and traditions, I will mention some of them later.
My major is Business Administration, which belongs to the Business School department, one of the famous departments of KU (especially among international students). My major offers all the required courses in English, which makes Business Administration a major basically taught in English. There are other departments that offer only English-based education, which as the Department of International Studies. However, in almost all other schools, knowledge of the Korean Language is preferred and sometimes even required (language proficiency rules are different for each school). Although you can study Business Administration without the need to learn the Korean Language, it is highly recommended, since there are two required courses taught in Korean that every student at Korea University has to complete. Those are: "Liberty, Justice, Truth" (the name of the subject derives from the motto of the university) and "College writing". Both subjects teach the basic skills that university students must acquire and both subjects are divided into categories based on language level and nationality. When I first found out that I have to take courses in Korean in order to graduate while having zero knowledge of the Korean language I was really stunted. Before the start of the semester, you will get tested for your Korean language skills (just saying "hi" in Korean will be enough). The test is not graded and is needed to know your level so that you are allocated in the right category. The categories for each subject are - beginner, intermediate, and advanced. I took all two subjects at the "beginner" level, plus these subjects were specially designated for international students, which made the matter even easier. Before taking those classes, I took an elective course "Korean for Beginners", which helped me a lot. The courses are not so hard, you just have to know the basics.
I will surely say that the quality of education is really high, and so is the workload. Studying at KU is not easy, but studying at KUBS (Korea University Business School) is even harder. It is known to be one of the academically challenging and competitive schools of KU. All the professors speak and conduct lectures in English, and all the professors had Master's Degrees and Ph.D. at the world's most respected universities.
Our university offers a lot of facilities, such as start-up and study spaces. There is also a Science Campus that offers labs and research facilities. As well as that KU has a plethora of partner universities. With the drop in COVID-19 cases, Korea opening borders, and lifting the mandatory quarantine, the number of exchange students has increased drastically. Being a regular student here, you can also apply for an international exchange program.
Scholarships in Korea
I am currently studying without a scholarship. There are different scholarships you can apply for while studying, but most scholarships are given automatically to students who showed their academic excellence over the semester. During the application process, everyone is screened for a scholarship at the same time, so you do not have to submit anything to apply for a scholarship separately. Yet, I have to say that getting a scholarship with admission is very tough and it would be more helpful to apply for Government scholarships. One of them is KGSP - Korean Government Scholarship Program (you can easily find all the needed information on the Internet). I know for sure that KGSP can cover tuition, accommodation, and living expenses. While KU rarely offers all-in-one scholarship. Our Global Student Center offers a more detailed insight into scholarships.
IELTS - 8.0
IB - 36/45
For me personally, the admission process was a whole challenge. The process itself is very complicated, but I was applying during the peak of COVID-19, which made matters even worse. The application process is divided into two parts. First, online - you have to submit every listed document. Then, you have to submit all the physical copies of the documents directly to Admission Office in Korea. When I was applying the deadlines were tight (be careful of deadlines, check them on the website I have linked here) and none of the delivery services were working properly during the pandemic, so I had to pay a lot for express DHL delivery to submit my documents. The application fee is about 100,000KRW. The only resource that helped me during the application process, is the website that I have linked and google translate ;) Good Luck!
University campuses in Korea are all extremely large. Our campus size covers over 182 acres. We always get tired while going back and forth on campus, but I would say it is a good daily workout. Our Campus is not exactly in the center of Seoul, rather it is located in the North-Eastern side of the city which is not so modern and might look old but it has its own color and comfort to it. I think our campus is one of the most beautiful ones, due to its gothic-English style architecture and huge trees that change color every season (My favorite is the autumn KU campus).
More than anything there is a huge number of various extracurricular clubs and activities at KU. Before each semester there is a club fair and recruitment. I participated in Korea University Dance Team but eventually had to drop out since I had to leave Korea for holidays back to Kazakhstan and participation is very strict in every club (yes, even during the holidays). Korean students usually take extracurricular activities very seriously, so if you will apply, you have to be committed as well.
Although the student body is diverse and there are a lot of International students, I struggled to make friends at first. However, living in a dorm during my freshman year helped me a lot. Thanks to the dorm, I have found a lot of friends and acquaintances. I also advise you to apply for the KU Buddy program if you will apply to KU, it is basically a networking+mentoring program where you will have your own "buddy" and will have an opportunity to meet other international and Korean students and spend time together outside the campus.
Before I start, I have to mention that festivals and other major events are a crucial part of Universities in Korea. It is no secret that Korean Schools' education is known to be rigorous and challenging. High School students study hard and only study until the CSAT actually hits (CSAT or Suneung is a standardized test that is recognized by South Korean universities and all Korean students absolutely have to pass it to get into the university). CSAT and School years are taken very seriously in Korea. Therefore, It is believed that college students need to have fun during their student lives and thus it is necessary to add such events, to reduce stress.
There are two main events (traditions) at Korea University. First, "Ipselenti" is an annual festival, which is common for every major University in Korea (but Ipselenti is specifically a name for KU's festival). During Ipselenti week, there are different games, competitions, fairs, and performances on campus. Before the Ipselenti main day, there will be about 3-4 days full of different artists and university clubs giving concerts and shows. I had to see famous artists like Aespa, BIBI, BewhY, and many more. However, during the main date, everyone gathers up from the morning and the red wave (everyone is wearing crimson-colored clothes with red university custom stickers) fills up the whole stadium area in anticipation of surprise guests (artists for the main day remain as a secret until they actually come on the stage). This year, the guests were PSY, Heize, Jay Park, PH-1, Red Velvet, and many other idols. Everyone is singing, dancing, and having fun, exactly what students sometimes lack in their daily lives.
The second one is called "Koyonjeon" (short for sports games between Korea and Yonsei universities). The rivalry with Yonsei is known to be historical and now is rooted in a tradition or even an ideology. If you are a proud student of KU, your mortal enemy is a student from Yonsei (all jokes now of course). While we call the sports game "Koyonjeon", Yonsei students call it "Yonkojeon" putting their university name abbreviated first. Since 1956, annual Korea–Yonsei University Games comprises five events every year: Football, Rugby, Baseball, Basketball, and Ice Hockey. This semester I went to watch a baseball game. It was a great experience, the amount of red and blue colors, tigers, and eagles I had to see were astonishing. No words can describe the unifying spirit that you will see during Ipselenti and Koyonjeon. During these major events, all students have to know all the University anthems and chants as well as dances and moves for each of the anthems. What if I do not know the anthems? No problem, a week before the main events there is special training where you can practice singing and dancing to cheer your University sports team and join the proud KU students crowd. My favorite song was "Yonsei chickens"!
I am joking, my best friends are actually from Yonsei, so...we do joke around like that a lot.
My major is very serious about internships. Every week, KUBS sends us an email of weekly internship and job opportunities at various companies, both Korean (Samsung, Lotte, LG) and International (World Bank, Deloitte, McKinsey, P&G, Mercedes, and many more). Monthly career fairs and Carrer Development Centers are very helpful I would say. However, a lot of internships based (many International companies have offices in Seoul) in Korea usually require a certain Korean Language Proficiency.
I really hope that this post will help you in deciding what will your journey be and what will your future look like! This is not a full story of my story as not only a student but as a foreigner in South Korea and I am looking forward to sharing it! If you have any questions that I might have missed, feel free to contact me on Instagram, although I might not answer right away.
Illustrator & Designer
6 months ago
Woah! SKY! You are incredible!
5 months ago
Hello...! I really love the way you pick your story in a very simple way.. May be in future i will be at your University..
5 months ago
Thank you so much for tell me about Korean University and Chinese University. but I am interested in south korea University.😊😊
Co-founder & CEO of Borderless
5 months ago
Hey! I think you got confused with the posts? This post is only about Korea University, which is a university in South Korea🇰🇷
2 months ago
Thank you for your insightful post!
I will probably be studying GSIS at KU this autumn.
Mostly I'm worried about making friends. You mentioned you had trouble making friends at first, but then your best friends even were from another university! Crazy! 😊 What was your "strategy" to find friends from other universities if I may ask?