Studying in Seoul: An Opportunity of a Lifetime
With a rich and diverse history that stretches back in excess of 2,000 years, the ancient capital city of Seoul lies along the majestic Han River. A dramatic mountainous backdrop, beautiful national parks, and four UNESCO World Heritage Sites contrast beautifully against shimmering skyscrapers, dazzling nightlife areas, and thoroughly modern landmarks. It’s little wonder that so many international students opt to complete at least part of their studies in this vibrant metropolitan area.
Seoul National University (typically referred to simply as SNU) is one of the most popular destinations for international students. Options for the estimated 2,300 international students at SNU include a single semester, summer programs, and a full academic year. Many of these warmly welcomed students will be based at the Gwanak Campus; a sprawling facility of eleven colleges, four graduate schools, and more than 60 research institutes. Other international students will be based at Yeongeon Campus for the study of medical sciences.
Seoul National University Rankings
SNU is widely recognized for international cooperation and academic excellence, particularly in the fields of teaching and research, by respected institutions from around the globe.
- The Times Higher Education World University Rankings (for 2012 – 2013) lists SNU as the #59 top university in the world (up from #124 the previous year).
- The QS World University Rankings (for 2012) lists SNU as the #37 leading university in the world and #4 in Asia (behind The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the National University of Singapore, and the University of Hong Kong).
SNU: Application Requirements
Students hoping to study at Seoul National University should be in good academic standing and will typically a 2.7 Combined Retained GPA. In addition to a valid passport, a D-2 Overseas Study Visa is a must.
Applications to SNU are made direct to the SNU Office of Admissions. More information is available by consulting the Admission Guide for International Students, which contains extensive information on the admission timeline, applicant requirements and eligibility.
SNU: Cost of Study
With the average cost of a college education in the U.S. and indeed other English-speaking countries spiralling seemingly out of control and figures of more than $150,000 becoming increasingly commonplace, it is perhaps unsurprising that many students are looking toward alternative options for study.
Tuition fees at SNU are considerably lower than those that may be encountered in an English-speaking country. Furthermore, there are several avenues in which to pursue financial assistance. The majority of international students will be at least partially exempt from tuition fees as a result of generous university scholarships, performance-based scholarships, and popular work-study programs.
Aside from the cost of tuition, students should be aware that although rents in Seoul are typically high, student accommodation is often available, and high rental costs are typically offset against the cheaper overall cost of living in terms of consumer retail costs.
Any length of time spent studying in Korea will undoubted be a time looked back upon with much fondness by international students. It may be that the international exposure leads to glittering careers in their home countries, or it may be that Korea grows to be so attractive to them that they choose to stay and work here. The Gold Card system has been designed for exactly that kind of situation. Students who graduate from SNU with a particular major (such as IT, digital electronics, environments and energy, and others) can apply to remain in the country to work.
It seems that studying in Seoul really could lead to the opportunity of a lifetime.
Linda Forshaw is a Business Information Systems graduate from Lancaster University in the UK. A frequent contributor to Degree Jungle, an online resource for college students, Linda is also a full time writer and blogger specializing in education, social media, and entrepreneurship. Contact her on Twitter @seelindaplay