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Can Foreigners Go to College in Korea?

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Last updated:

Yes, foreigners can get into college in Korea. However, make sure that you pass level 4 at TOPIK because, at that level, the majority of the Korean colleges and universities will allow you to get in as a foreigner.

This is easily achievable in one year, but it will take a lot of hard work and dedication. Also, make sure that you understand the Korean language because the professors will speak in Korean to each other as well as to their students.

If you want to study in Korea, then there are some things that you should know first. If you have a certain area of expertise, like a major in a specific field, then make sure that you look for a college or university that is associated with your specialization.

Is It Hard to Get Into College in Korea?

Yes, it’s quite hard because of the competition. For instance, if you want to attend a university as a foreigner in Korea, then it is very likely that there will be many other foreigners who are also vying for the same spot at that college or university.

This means that you will have to step up your game in order to ensure that you get a spot.

For instance, if you want to go to Yonsei University, then it is important that you study hard in high school as well as pass level 4 of the TOPIK exam.

If you do that, then you are qualified to get into Yonsei University. The same goes for all the other universities and colleges in Korea.

Take note that most universities, as well as colleges in Korea, will require you to have a certain score on the TOPIK exam and/or other exams.

This is because they want to ensure that their students are qualified enough to take the courses offered by the university or college.

Can You Go to College in Korea Without Knowing Korean?

Yes, but this would be an international program. In such a program, students get an opportunity to study in Korea but are taught in their English instead of Korean.

Going to Korea without knowing Korean isn’t the smartest thing because you shouldn’t be studying in Korea if you aren’t willing to learn Korean.

This is because Korean is essential in certain job fields, like engineering and teaching, so you will be at a disadvantage if you don’t know the language.

There are also private universities and colleges that will accept you without any knowledge of Korean.

However, you should think twice before going to such a college or university because those can be extremely expensive.

Many international students do learn Korean in the 1st year they come to Korea or have prior knowledge of the language.

How Much Is College in Korea for Foreigners?

On average, the college will cost you about $5,500 just for a year of tuition at the Bachelor’s degree level.

However, there are also private colleges and universities where the prices can cost up to $8,000, and for top universities in Seoul, it can cost $6,700.

This doesn’t include the extra costs, like housing, food, and other expenses.

College is expensive for Koreans as well, but they have many benefits because they are citizens of the country. For foreigners living in Korea, your college or university fees will be higher than what a Korean pays.

This is so that you can pay for your healthcare as well as your accommodation and food. So make sure to save up before heading to college in Korea.

What Do You Need To Study in Korea?

Here are some important essentials that you need to have when you want to study in Korea.

  • A student visa
  • Passport
  • A certificate of your past educational background
  • Documents that prove you are a citizen from a certain country, like an ID card or passport (if you’re not yet a citizen)
  • Make sure that you get all the documents before going to college in Korea.

When I was studying in Korea, I needed my passport, certificate of educational background from a past university. Nowadays, you can apply for a visa online (which is what I did).

My experience studying in Seoul

When I was studying in Korea, I was able to get into a college and live with Koreans. This isn’t something that all foreigners living in Korea are allowed to do because you probably barely know anyone.

I knew basic Korean, and the language barrier was a bit of a problem at first, but I was able to overcome that because I studied Korean really hard.

Make sure to enjoy the time while you are at college in Korea because that is really the only time you get to go out. Try out as many restaurants and stores as you can because everything will be different once you get back to your home country.

All in all, I think college was a great experience for me and there are many benefits I got from it.


At the end of the day, it’s really up to you whether or not you go to college in Korea. Make sure to enjoy your time in Korea as much as possible. Also, make lots of friends because you might not see them after you graduate.

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    About The Author

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    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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