I’d been wanting to visit Korea ever since the K Wave hit me while studying on exchange in Tianjin (China) in 2010. In 2013 I decided to enrol in the Korea University Summer Program for my first K hit and I was won over both by Seoul and the Korea University program!
The Korea University Summer Program offers a semester’s workload condensed into a summer program and is open to both domestic and international students. Academic credit earned through the program is recognised by a number of overseas universities. The program has traditionally run for six weeks but this year ISC is running two programs from June 27 to August 4 (6 week program) and June 27 to July 21 (4 week program).
The program includes more than 120 courses offering a wide range of subjects including international Business, Economics, Humanities, Sociology, Fine Art, International Relations, Science and Korean Studies. Students therefore have the choice of subjects as diverse as Business Calculus, an Introduction to the U.S Legal System and Korean K-Pop Studies. The program also attracts an international faculty from prestigious universities in the US, Europe and Asia.
The academic program is complimented by a range of engaging excursions and performances, including a vista to Lotto World and a K-Pop performance. I was also really impressed by the highly organised structure of the program and enthusiasm of the volunteers from the Korea Buddy Program.
Korea University is located in the area of Anam Dong. Although slightly isolated from the major hang out areas of Seoul (with the exclusion of Itaewon), there are plenty of coffee shops, eateries, Karaoke bars and small drinking establishments catering for the student community in Anam. The campus itself is fantastic with plenty of majestic looking buildings and gateways, a state of the art library and plenty of study rooms. There is a subway station on the door of Korea University, however it is a fair walk from CJ International House to the subway station (approx 15 minutes) and enough elevation going up the hill to sober you up after a night out partying in Itaewon or Hongdae.
Most students stay at CJ International House on campus. The accommodation, while not cheap (approx AUD$1000 for a single dorm), was the best dorm I have ever stayed in and included a free gym, study rooms and spacious lounge areas.
The program has a great international vibe and attracts students from all over the world, with a large percentage of western and Chinese students. As with most summer programs, there is a huge drinking and partying culture (and which the local Korean students also encourage!) but more studious and mature students can also get away with focusing on their assessment and less soju benders or handing out for meals after class and exploring Seoul on the weekend.
The campus area is large and grand and there are great facilities for sport and other clubs. There is also an air of exclusivity to the campus and many of the international students readily adopt allegiance to the university and wear their Korea University t-shirts everywhere they go!
Funding and scholarships
The program offers an Academic Excellence Award for fee-paying students (exchange students are not eligible to either of the scholarships) and a Universitas 21 (U21) Fellowship.
|Academic Excellence Award|
|–||All A+’s||: KRW 1,500,000|
|–||Average Grade A||: KRW 1,000,000|
Students coming from U21 or APRU member institutions can receive the Fellowship Fund of either KRW 200,000 or KRW 400,000 depending on the student’s home institution. This fund is offered to strengthen the ties between Korea University and member institutions. Australian partners include the University of Melbourne, University of Queensland and the University of NSW.
– Both international and exchange students are eligible
– Students who receive U21 Fellowship Fund (or APRU Scholarship) are also eligible to receive the Academic Excellence Award or the Alumni Scholarship
– Students who are coming from universities which are both on U21 and APRU member institution list, only one of the scholarships will be applied
Negatives of the program
There is an enormous gap between Beginning Korean I and Beginning Korean II, and therefore many students with a basic foundation in Korean were placed in Korean 1 and subsequently not sufficiently challenged, including myself!
The KU Summer Program is a great inception into student life in Korea while offering a wide selection of classes, plenty of party options and a diverse group of young people to hang out with. This might not be the right program for more mature students, as at age 23 at the time I felt a bit old hanging out with so many 18-21 year old’s. All in all, a great program to consider.
Follow the link for more details on studying Korean in Seoul and which Korean language program to choose.
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