It is also one of the ‘big 3’ SKY universities in Korea, leading to Yonsei’s KLI being one of the largest Korean language programs in Korea. Yonsei has both a massive foreign student body and is often recommended within Korea and abroad as a great place to study and make the most out of your time in Seoul!
This review was last updated in 2020.
- Program schedule for Regular Program
Evening, 3-Week, University Preparation, Summer, and other programs are also available.
As the most popular program in Korea it should come as no surprise that it is also one of the most expensive.
- Regular Morning (Mon-Fri / 9am-1pm) Class – 1,730,000 KRW/Term (10 weeks, 200 hours) + Application Fee: 80,000KRW
- Regular Afternoon (Mon-Fri / 1:40-5:30pm) Class – 1,730,000 KRW/Term (10 weeks, 200 hours) + Application Fee: 80,000KRW
There are also a variety of different course options to choose from outside the most popular Regular Program.
Yonsei is located in Sinchon in Eastern Seoul, an area famous for its nightlife and array of interesting coffee shops, bars, restaurants. and shopping. Sinchon is in walking distance to Hongdae, and thus belongs to the city’s epicentre of youth culture, with several other major universities also situated in the vicinity. It is a great place for those who want to socialise and party as much as they study. If this appeals to you, there simply is no better place to be (well perhaps Sogang, Ehwa, and Hongik are worth a mention to since they are in the same area).
However, while it is definitely worth visiting these areas, you may not necessarily be excited by the prospect of living right in the thick of them. Although the Yonsei dormitories and housing are generally in the more residential pockets, you will inevitably feel the influence of the all-night drinking culture which pervades the area. It also means that you will frequently come across groups of other foreign students, and may have to more actively seek an ‘authentic’ Korean experience if that is what you are looking for during your stay.
Living in this area is also on the more expensive side, especially for a one-room studio. Expect to get a lot less for more with average one room prices starting from around 500,000 KRW/month with a 5,000,000 KRW key money. hasukjips and dormitories will cost less but provide fairly small rooms with communal services. Check out our ultimate housing and accommodation guide to start looking in the area!
Reputation and Content
Whilst the university’s name carries prestige which is heralded Korea-wide, the language program (and indeed the experience of international students in general) has a somewhat unique reputation.
Firstly, the Korean course at Yonsei is known to be very heavily focused on grammar, rather than practical speaking or listening. This may be because the course tends to cater to many to prospective university students who are doing a language bridging course, whilst the remainder is largely made up of non-serious learners who have come for a term just to party.
As a result, some students commented that they did not improve their fluency in Korean as much as they had hoped during their time at Yonsei, as the environment is not particularly conducive to improving your Korean through practical use. This is especially evident at the beginner levels, although those with some command of the Korean language may find the academic and textbook oriented approach quite useful in their future Korean language studies.
Furthermore, students from Western countries especially are likely to find the teachers at Yonsei’s preference for a very ‘traditional’ style of education quite non-engaging and ineffective. There is little time for deeper exploration of concepts and general conversation during class, which tend to follow a very rigid test-oriented curriculum.
Outside of the classroom, the atmosphere at Yonsei is almost unbeatable, particularly in the summer. There is a real party / college town feel. You will no doubt find yourself socialising outside classes, succumbing to a few of the many distractions offered in the surrounding area – eating, drinking, partying – to name a few. The large foreign student population means less staring and more English menus and signs (a blessing and a curse). You can even attend the famous Yonsei v Korea University Games and will probably find yourself joining in with the students’ great pride for their prestigious school.
Yonsei has a very large foreign student body and is a renowned destination for Western exchange students, but the language program is not particularly diverse. Classes will be dominated by Japanese and Chinese learners and then American students in the summer. Expect your class demographic to be 80% Japanese / Chinese. Incidentally, if you have an interest in practising these languages at the same time, this may be a hidden benefit for you.
As the largest Korean language program in Korea most companies and TV networks advertise positions and part-time opportunities through Yonsei. TV networks and model agencies can be spotted on campus scouting for talent or conducting interviews from time to time. Yonsei also curates by far the best Jobs and Opportunities board of all the Korean universities. This resource gives Korean language students access to a wide range of employment and cultural opportunities that are hard to find elsewhere. Also keep an eye out for job and notice boards around campus, these are an excellent resource if you are looking to fund your studies via some part-time English tutoring.
Asia Options Verdict
Yonsei’s Korean Language Program provides a great option for someone who has come to Seoul for a fun time, with a healthy side of study. The university is also known for its excellent jobs board and networking opportunities for foreigners.
If it is your first time in Korea and want to be right in the thick of Korean youth culture, Yonsei’s location and atmosphere are hard to beat.
Simultaneously, if you are determined to learn Korean as quickly as possible, you may prefer a course with a more pragmatic teaching method and fewer social distractions.
It is also among the most expensive programs overall for tuition fees, accommodation and cost of living. If your budget is tight then choose elsewhere.
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