Korea University Korean Language Program Review

Location
145 Anam-ro, Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, South Korea , Seoul 136-075, South Korea

Review

Based in Northern Seoul, Korea University is one of the top three universities in Korea; part of the SKY contingent of premier universities in KoreaIt is also the red half of the famous Yonsei-Korea Games. Korea University’s language program has a strong reputation for quality but is a less known option compared to programs offered at some universities in Sinchon. Korea University holds claim though to a famous alumni in the form of Australian Korean-speaking celebrity Sam Hammington.

 

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Affordability

The Regular Program is priced around average, but comes in roughly 100,000KRW cheaper than the priciest course at Yonsei.

  • Regular Morning (Mon–Fri / 9am–1pm)  Class –  1,630,000 KRW/Term (10 Week, 200 hours)
  • Regular Afternoon (Mon–Fri / 1:40–5:30pm) Class –  1,470,000 KRW/Term (10 Week, 200 hours).

 

Location

The 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 two major streets of coffee shops, eateries, karaoke bars, and bars catering for the student community in Anam. As we will talk about in the ‘Atmosphere’ section below, this isolation contributes to the unparalleled sense of community at Korea University, but may not be our recommendation if it is your first time in Seoul and are looking to explore what the city has to offer.

The campus itself is fantastic with plenty of majestic looking buildings and gateways, a state of the art library, and plenty of study rooms. Anam and Korea University Stations service different entries to the university, which gives some indication of its size (did I mention it has its own ice rink built for the legendary alumnus Yuna Kim?). In fact, the popular dormitory, CJ International House, is about a 15-minute walk to the subway station up or down a sizable hill which can really ask questions about your fitness in peak Summer or Winter.

 

Housing

CJ International House, a purpose-built dormitory was constructed by the university to cater for the large amount of exchange programs and international professors at Korea University. Facilities are excellent but it will often come down to luck if you can secure a spot or not. The dormitories also have fairly strict rules and are tucked away right at the top of campus. Due to these factors, many students who arrive opt for the foreigner-friendly hostels in the area. These are basic in nature and have communal living spaces, but are known to be quite fun to live in and sometimes even arrange activities for the cohabitants.

However, even these hostels, as well as the other rooms and goshiwons in the area, are known to get snapped up quite rapidly toward the start of the semester. Without preparation, you may find yourself further out from the two most popular areas near the front and back gates of the campus respectively. For convenience’s sake, it is quite uncommon for students at Korea University to live outside of Anam-dong.

Smaller goshiwons and boarding houses will cost around 300-400,000 KRW/month, with the higher-end options costing 500,000 KRW/month.

Single rooms around Korea University Station are on the expensive side (10,000,000KRW key money and 600,000 KRW rent), despite the relatively unexciting location in the scheme of greater Seoul.

 

Reputation

Korea University due to its isolated location and collective rivalry toward Yonsei is known as having it’s own very strong community, with which even language students inevitably feel a sense of belonging. More importantly, the Korean language program is highly regarded, even offering more tailored academic courses for those wanting to progress further with their Korean. Korea University will also add nicely to your resume when applying for jobs in Korea – as long as your employer is not from Yonsei!

Korean University language program for foreign students

 

Atmosphere

Korea University has many exchange programs for regular courses so there is a good international vibe (estimated at 2000 students and 50 nationalities) on campus and a slight air of superiority. The prestigious nature of the university means there is a strong academic atmosphere at the university. The student body almost lives and breathes as a collective unit. Come exam time, you will struggle to find seat in any of the cafes or libraries, even at 4am! As soon as exams are done (or during the Go-Yon-jeon), the bars overflow with students who know how to drink.

The campus area is large and majestic, and includes many accessible facilities for sport and other clubs. There is an air of exclusivity to the campus and many of the international students readily adopt allegiance to the university. In general, the passion of Korea University students during the Korea vs Yonsei games is far more intense. This is probably due to the fact that Yonsei pumps through a huge amount of language students who do not recognize themselves as ‘Yonsei” students while at Korea University; international students very much adopt the university spirit.

Chinese students are the dominant student demographic, usually 60% of foreign enrolments in the Korean language program, but are usually assigned to language classes focused on academic study (grammar and writing intensive) and accordingly have more assignments! Western students (60%) and students from the rest of the world (40%) are then typically placed in their own classes where the curriculum is split half-half in focus between academic elements and conversational/ practical Korean. Western students studying at KU tend to be Korean language majors at their university in their home country and thus rather serious learners.

 

Korea University Yonsei Games

 

Opportunities

The major opportunities of studying at Korea University is access to the Yonsei-Korea Games, scholarship,s and on-campus networking opportunities. KU offer more scholarships for foreigners than most universities (50-60 each year) and are based on academic merit for high performing students studying in the Korean language program. However, keep in mind that you will be up against lots of extremely diligent students, typically from Asia, who will usually claim the majority of the scholarships on offer. 

There is a lot of networking opportunities with students who are on exchange, postgraduate students studying at the international MBA program, and with foreign professors who are also on exchange. The MBA program at Korea University has an excellent reputation and ranks well globally. As many degrees at Korea University’s Graduate School are taught in English, it is relatively easy for Western students to apply. Studying Korean at Korea University would only help your case should you choose this pathway.

For professional opportunities, Korea University does not quite reach the extent of opportunities at Yonsei, such as jobs boards and TV spots. The TV shows and other companies that have opportunities available for foreign students usually target Yonsei first. However, some opportunities are available and the KU international student office will tap students on the back from time to time to appear on a Korean TV show – as long as you’re good looking and speak good Korean!

 

Asia Options Verdict

Studying Korean at Korea University will not only provide a strong curriculum and focused study environment for keen learners, it will also allow you to join a sense of community that is not common for language students at Korean Universities – the Korea-Yonsei Games.in September are particularly worth experiencing. Even as a language student you will want to wear your KU logo clothing everywhere you go!

The campus itself is impressive,  but there are limited value options for housing in the area, especially since its relatively isolated location means the  more exciting areas of Seoul are quite difficult to reach.

 

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