- Program schedule for Regular Korean Program
SKKU’s Regular Program has six sessions per year, so each session is only 8 weeks rather than the usual 10. Whilst the shorter semesters may provide some more flexibility for your own scheduling, classes each day are slightly longer.
- Regular Program (200hrs, Mon-Fri 9am-2.50pm) – 1,600,000 KRW/ term + 60,000 KRW
If you plan on completing multiple levels, SKKU allows you to finish six levels within a single year, as opposed to a year and a half. The course is also slightly more affordable than the universities in Sinchon (Yonsei, Ehwa, Sogang).
Location and Housing
SKKU is located in Hyehwa-dong and serviced by Hyehwa station on Subway Line 4. The subway exits onto University Street (Daehangno) – actually named after the former campus of Seoul National University which still operates a hospital there.
Whilst many rave about the location of the universities near Hongdae in Seoul’s west, SKKU’s central location has plenty to offer. Notably, it is within arm’s reach of many of Seoul’s iconic landmarks including the beautiful Changgyeonggung Palace, Dongdaemun, Insadong, Bukchon Village, Gwanghwamun, and Gyeonbuk Palace.
Although the area’s reputation as a student hotspot has waned in recent years, the location is actually great if you want to be near Seoul’s cultural heart without the crowds associated with ‘hip’ areas such as Hongdae or Gangnam. There are still plentiful choices for food, drinks, and cafes, as well as the most famous theatre district in Seoul. What’s more, Naksan Park is a calm getaway ascending behind Daehangno where you can follow fragments of the old city wall and reward yourself with great views of the metropolis below.
Although its central location pushes up the cost of housing in the area, there are plenty of officetels and student housing available. A basic one-room in the area will cost around 500,000 – 700,000 KRW/ month with 5,000,000 – 10,000,000 KRW key money. Cheaper options are available, but would generally be in hasukjips or goshiwons – see more about housing in Korea here.
Reputation and Content
SKKU is almost as esteemed in Korea as the big three SKY universities in Korea, but arguably boasts a richer history as it claims to continue the legacy of the Joseon-era education institute of the same name established in 1398!
In recent years, a partnership with Samsung has allowed the university to invest in flashy new facilities and improve access to educational resources. However, the Korean language program is still fairly unknown and rather small in comparison to other universities’. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as those who have attended SKKU’s program tend to praise the fact that they are part of smaller classes and a more tightly-knit foreign student body.
The curriculum itself is one of the more balanced programs in terms of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. This is in part due to the longer classroom hours allowing various modules to be taken every day; including conversation-focused speaking and cultural classes, listening, reading, and grammar/writing classes. While naturally varying from class to class, teachers at SKKU generally encourage individual students to actively engage, which cannot be said to be typical of all Korean language programs’ approach.
Due to its dedicated building slightly off-campus you may at times feel quite removed from the university proper. However, this means you are likely to become very close with the students and teachers at the language school, although limited in your opportunities of meeting local Korean students.
The student body is almost majority Chinese, many of whom are seeking the language requisites to enter SKKU, with the next largest representation being Japanese. The remainder comes from rather diverse backgrounds, with several European and British institutions sending Korean Studies students here under a partnership. As only the minority are English native speakers, an added bonus is that the environment is very conducive to adopting Korean as a lingua franca among classmates both in and outside of class.
Exploring the many cafes, restaurants, bars, or noraebang, in the Hyehwa area will mean there are no obstacles to bonding with classmates. You may find yourself heading up towards the main campus as well, especially since alongside the state of the art facilities are the centuries-old buildings from original Joseon-era university, accessible for anyone to stroll and relax in.
It is difficult to gauge the opportunities offered at SKKU. While its strong reputation around Korea will help when later applying for jobs within Korea, SKKU’s fairly overlooked Korean language program means that there will not be as many opportunities for TV appearances, university clubs or activities, or internships that are available at the major Korean programs such as Yonsei. In any case, you can always start researching opportunities here.
Asia Options Verdict
In short, we rate SKKU very highly and consider it a hidden gem among Korean language programs in Seoul.
Although somewhat distanced from other universities, its location is central and a superb entry point for discovering Seoul, but admittedly not as dynamic as the known nightlife hotspots of Seoul.
SKKU’s course is relatively affordable and is structured as a shorter but more intensive term, with a balanced curriculum between practical and academic skills.
Although Koreans regard SKKU very highly, extra-curricular opportunities are limited when compared to larger university programs such as Yonsei.