how to study korean in south korea

Fly to the land of morning calm. Do you dream it? Me too. Are you still in university but need a break from your studies? Or are there no partnerships between your school and South Korea and therefore you cannot make a university exchange? This is my case. I’m on a break. That’s how I managed to go to study there!

  • What is the caesura? A break between two years of study. You must first find out if your school accepts it, because it means that it will “reserve a place” for you the following year when you return. During your gap year, you maintain your student status, which is very important for resuming your studies later.

How to take a gap year and go to study in Korea?

  • We will certainly ask you to make a file with at least one cover letter and proof (a training certificate OR an employment contract OR a certificate from the host organization if you want to volunteer for example, etc …).
  • For my part, I applied for a university with the Korean language program: this allows you both to have a training certificate (which justifies your gap year at your facility in France) and a student visa: the visa D-4! The goal is therefore to go and study the Korean language! Personally I chose to go for three sessions (to put it simply, the sessions correspond to the seasons: autumn, winter, spring and summer), for a total of 9 months. Keep in mind that not all Korean universities offer the Korean language program.
How to take a break and study in South Korea
Dongguk University campus, which offers the Korean language program, in Seoul © Dongguk University
  • Often these are half-day courses, in the morning or in the afternoon. This represents approximately 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. There are several levels and you can start from scratch in the “beginner” class. In addition to learning Korean, this program will also introduce you to the culture by offering you, depending on the university, taekwondo, sightseeing, cooking classes and other cultural activities!
Going to study in South Korea on a gap year
The campus of Hanyang University, which offers the Korean language program © Piotrus
  • Applying on your own at a Korean university is a bit tricky, as the sites are often in Korean or English. But don’t panic! There are organizations ready to help you, in French and for free, since they are subsidized by universities to do so.
  • During a university exchange (like Erasmus), the school takes care of most of the administrative procedures. This is not the case when you are in caesura! You have to do it all by yourself. This is where it gets complicated. In order to finally be able to leave for the country of your dreams, learn your favorite language, enjoy the wonderful Korean food and its party quarters at night, you need to be ready to do a lot of paperwork! Here is a part:
  1. the passport if you don’t have one, or it expires within 6 months
  2. the dossier for the university applicationwhich I will talk about
  3. L’international health insurance
  4. The file of Visa application
  5. L’alien cardonce arrived in Korea
  6. L’enroll in your French university

How to study in South Korea as a gap year

  • For the university acceptance file, a lot of documents are needed. For my part I had to provide: diploma, identity document with photo, transcripts, bank details, birth certificate (or family booklet), health insurance certificate, passport, registration document to fill out, test in English on my personality and essay in english on why i wanted to study korean.
Learn Korean in South Korea when you are on a gap year
© Sofia Terzoni of Pixabay
  • After putting all this together, some universities ask a sworn translation in English of all these documents. For this you need a state certified translator, available on the government website. Their services are quite expensive.
  • For some universities, as documents must be sent in paper format, copies must be translated (you will not send the originals to your university, as it will not return what is provided to it). For this it is therefore necessary make a certified copy. Municipalities make free certified copies of your documents (photocopy + stamp). Attention, bring the originals!
Gap year: Going to study in South Korea
© by vangelicmonk of Pixabay
  • To have a certified copy it is not enough to go to the town hall, you also have to go and see the Court of Appeal. Once the two stamps have been affixed, you will have a certified copy, which you can have your translator translated. Ask for a quote first so as not to be surprised by the price! Do not hesitate, after receiving the quote, to specify that you are a student and to ask if the translator can give you a price.
study in South Korea
© sofi5t from Pixabay
  • Above all, find out as much as you can: about airline ticket prices, transport, internet and SIM packages, cost of living, good student plans … and even the Covid-19 procedure. Also make a list of the things you want to do / see there, most of the students regret not having made more visits, because once there you can get carried away by the routine.
  • You understand, just for the Korean university acceptance dossier, it takes time. Also, planning ahead, especially when taking a break, is really vital. Stay calm too!
How to take a gap year and go to study in Korea?
© Pixabay
  • And the same for the visa. Since June, the KVAC, the organization that deals with foreign visas, has been overwhelmed. The sooner you will be accepted by the university, the sooner you will have your training certificate which you mainly use for this visa, but which you also need for the gap year application!
  • Keep in mind that during your gap year you stay attached to your home university. You must then register, as if you were doing your year in France, but with “caesura” status as soon as your caesura has been validated by your institution. Personally, I paid the normal university fees, and some of them will be reimbursed by my university (since I don’t attend classes, I enjoy a lower rate). Check if this is the case in your school! Also, some universities offer scholarships to go abroad: find out your eligibility!

Have you ever gone to study in South Korea? If not, which city would you like to go to?

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