Study in South Korea

The rising of the Hallyu Wave through their music and drama is making more people interested in studying there. People love their skincare, their food, their culture and almost everything from the country. Not just that, the country has more than 30 universities ranking in the top 500 in the World QS ranking. It would be very nice on your resume when you are seeking jobs after you graduate. As someone who has studied in Korea, let me tell you about how to study in Korea.

Why Study in South Korea?

study in korea

South Korea, especially Seoul, is a walkable city and gives its people easy access to public transport all over the city. Around every university area, there are a lot of cheap restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores etc for you to survive. Koreans place a great value on education, particularly higher education. Academics in South Korea are fiercely competitive; students respect their lecturers and take their studies very seriously. You will find yourself to be more ambitious in your study just by being surrounded by Koreans.  

South Korea has several prestigious universities, most of which are in Seoul. Malaysian students that are contemplating studying in South Korea can choose from a wide range of subjects. The arts and sciences are the most popular subjects of study at university in Korea, closely followed by business degrees. If you are interested in any of these disciplines, enrolling in a South Korean institution will assure that you receive the greatest education available in Korea.

How to Apply for Study in South Korea?

study in korea

Now, let’s talk about how to study in Korea after SPM. While you are waiting for your result, you will need to research what major or where to study in South Korea. Since they started their higher education in undergraduate studies without pre-university, you will need to finish pre-university in Malaysia first. Take a look at pre-university programmes that have a link to a bachelor programme in South Korea. Examples of programmes such as: 

  • Korean Preparatory Programme at INTEC Education College
  • Foundation in Science and Technology for Korean University at UNIKL
  • Korean Language Intensive Programme (K-LIP) at UNIKL

After you finish your pre-university programme in any field, then you can start preparing for your undergraduate application. Generally, most universities in South Korea would have two intakes each year. Spring Intake in March and Fall Intake in September. Make sure you plan ahead to which intake you want to apply to and be prepared a few months before the application deadline. Go to your desired university’s website and take a look at the application steps there. Usually, they will ask for you to write essays on your self-introduction, study plan and future plan. It is better if you can prepare these essays earlier so you have time to recheck and revise them. 

After your application has been reviewed, you will receive an email for an interview. The interview will be attended by the professors from the department to which you applied. Depending on your course, your interview will be either in English or in Korean. If you succeed, you will receive an offer letter from the university and can start preparing for your life in South Korea!

Scholarships that You can Apply

study in korea

The important part of how to study in Korea is scholarships. There are actually a lot of scholarship for Malaysian to study in Korea. Local provider scholarships are available such as Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (JPA) and Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA). You will need to apply directly on their websites after you finish your SPM. These scholarships also will support the fees of your preparatory programme before you fly to South Korea. Make sure to maintain a good CGPA to be sponsored for your degree studies as well. 

The South Korean Government also has a study in Korea scholarship provided for international students. Global Korean Scholarship (GKS) has two pathways for application. Either through the University track or the Embassy track. This is a fully-funded scholarship that includes your tuition fee, flight ticket, accommodation, monthly allowance and other additional allowances. It is recommended to apply through the Embassy track as it has a higher acceptance rate. 

You also might want to apply directly to your desired korea university scholarship. Some of the scholarships are:

  • Seoul National University (SNU) Scholarship
  • Yonsei University Scholarship
  • Korea University Scholarship
  • Hanyang University Scholarship

What Are The Requirements to Study in South Korea?

Here is the breakdown of requirements depending on your pre-university programme in Malaysia. 

A LevelsPass 3 subjects (min. C)
STPM3 subjects min. B
SPM3 subjects min. B
FoundationCGPA min. 2.5

You also will need to fulfil their language requirements. For undergraduate studies, you need to have at least TOPIK Level III to be accepted. If you are applying for an English field study, you will need a minimum 5.5 in IELTS or a minimum of 550 in TOEFL.

What Visa to Apply for to Study in South Korea?

study in korea

After you have received an offer letter from your university, you will need to apply for a Student Visa. A category D2 visa is required for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees, as well as student exchange programmes. Here are some of the papers you will need to submit for your South Korean student visa:

  • Visa application form.
  • Four passport-sized pictures with a white backdrop.
  • Copy of passport. 
  • Bank statement that proves a minimum balance of USD 10,000.
  • Health certificate from approved hospitals.
  • Acceptance letter from your university. 

You must report to immigration within 90 days of your arrival in South Korea to get an alien registration card. Throughout your study in south korea for international students, this card will serve as your identity card. 

study in korea
  1. Seoul National University (SNU).

Seoul National University is a national research institution in Seoul. It upholds the objectives of liberal education and seeks to instil in pupils a lifetime love of learning that will serve as the foundation for ongoing personal development. Simultaneously, it is devoted to training students to work and live in a globally competitive economy. You can apply for their south korea study in Social Sciences and Humanities courses. 

  1. Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

This institution is suitable to study in korea for Malaysian that love Math and Science. It is largely regarded as Korea’s top institution, as well as the most innovative university in the Asia-Pacific area. One of its recent standout research initiatives saw researchers design an electric transportation system in which cars receive electricity from wires beneath the road via non-contact magnetic charging. It exemplifies how KAIST is at the forefront of creating new technologies that might address global issues such as energy consumption and urban congestion.

  1. Korea University

A very famous korea university international students prefer when they apply to study in Korea. Constantly on top world’s 100 in the QS ranking, Korea University offers you a variety of study fields. From law to pure science to humanities to engineering, they have it all. It is highly competitive to be admitted to Korea University, so you should prepare the most to fulfil their requirements. The institution now has sixteen colleges and divisions, eighteen graduate schools, and eleven auxiliary facilities, including libraries, a museum, and a public relations press office.

Is it Better to Live in a Dormitory or Student Housing (goshiwon)?

study in korea

The choice for accommodation will be 100% your choice whether you receive a scholarship or not. Based on international students in Korea, they have different perspectives on both accommodations. 

Relatively, for international students, goshiwon is cheaper than a dormitory. Your accumulated payment will be much lesser than your one-time payment per semester in the dormitory. However, goshiwon rooms are very small that you might feel uncomfortable and somehow will affect your study later. 

Living in a goshiwon might limit your networking ability because you will be living in a room alone. And most of the students in the goshiwon love their time alone without interacting with others. In the dormitory, you might have another foreign student or even a Korean student as your roommate. So, you could have new friends and learn about each other’s culture more closely.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How much does it cost to study in South Korea?

Similar to Malaysia, the cost would depend on the major you are applying into. The type of your university, whether it is a private or public university also affects the cost of your studies. On average, the tuition fee per year is ₩4,000,000 (RM 13885.60).

Can I study in South Korea for a short time?

Yes. You can apply for the university’s summer program. Go through their website and look at the application there. Summer programs mostly are for one month. If you are interested, you also can apply for an exchange program that will allow you to study in Korea for one semester. 

Is it hard to study in South Korea?

There are no easy things in this world. However, Koreans are naturally competitive. You might want to increase your study time and effort differently from your study method in Malaysia. The gradings for each subject are also different from ours, so make sure to understand the system. 

Do I need to have TOPIK to study in South Korea?

Yes and no. If you are applying for a full student programme either an undergraduate or master studies, you will need to have at least TOPIK Level I. But, if you are going for summer school or an exchange programme, no TOPIK would be needed. 

Can I study in South Korea without knowing the language?

If you are studying in Seoul, you could survive without language knowledge. Seoul is foreigners friendly so it is easy to navigate around the city. Universities also have courses that use English as a teaching language medium. 

Can I work while studying in South Korea?

Yes. The Ministry of Justice’s international student part-time arrangements allow for unlimited work hours during vacation time. Only overseas students who have gotten a reference from their supervising professor are eligible. So, remember to notify the immigration officials before beginning employment!

What is the best course to study in South Korea?

Korea is famous for its engineering courses. They have always been on top in international level competition and have respected figures as their lecturers. You also might want to apply for their arts and humanities major. Learning their language and culture is one of the best courses to study there. 

What is the age limit to study in South Korea?

There is no age limit to study there but depending on your scholarship application, there might be an age requirement. For example, JPA scholarships only accept students not more than 19 years old to apply for their scholarships to Korea. 

Is it worth it to study in South Korea?

Yes. You will experience a different study environment from Malaysian students. Hands-on learning about their culture is also valuable. Not to mention that you will have new international friends and widen your network while you are there.

Do Korean universities have an entrance exam for international students?

No. University entrance exams are only for Koreans after high school. International students only need to apply from the embassy or the university. Do not worry about the entrance exam. 

Can I study in South Korea without IELTS?

Yes. IELTS are not a requirement for you to apply to study in South Korea. The important language certificate is TOPIK. It is better to take your TOPIK before applying because it will give you a higher chance to get into the programme. However, if you are studying an English major, IELTS would be needed as language proficiency proof. 

How long is a bachelor’s degree in South Korea?

Generally, undergraduate studies will be for 3 to 4 years depending on your course. Their structure is quite similar to Malaysia. You will have a curriculum program to attend, a research paper to write and elective subjects to take on. 

Can I study in South Korea with low grades?

Yes, but you will not be eligible to apply for their scholarships. A constant low grade also might result in you being expelled from the university. It is highly advised to maintain your grades while you study in South Korea. 

Which university teaches English in South Korea?

Most universities in Seoul offer a programme in English fields. Courses such as Literature, Linguistics, Communication or Teaching English are available. You can check the university websites to look at more of their subjects each semester. Korea University, Ewha University, and Dongguk University are examples of the universities that offer the courses. 

Can I work in South Korea after graduation?

Yes, of course. However, you will need to change your visa after you receive your job offer letter. This is to avoid complications and to make sure your stay in South Korea is legal. 







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