Experience Korea through Study
If I remember correctly, I started to know about the land of the morning calm, Korea, after Dramas and movies became a hit on our country’s local stations. Besides the fact that the thing itself is different from our country and the culture it shows is far different from what we have, everybody became hooked with the Hallyu wave. Watching shows on the internet, trying to understand a completely different language and be mesmerized by the actors became a daily part of life for people who got hooked up. Then came K-pop, which surely made the whole “fandomizing” relevant and big. And with these reasons, did my interest for the country grow. I suddenly wanted to learn Korean. And it became a goal for me to study in Korea.
And years after realizing that fantasy, here I am studying in Korea for almost a year. Now, how do you really become a student in Korea? A lot of people have been asking that recently.
Korea is actually the best place to study. Why do I say so? It’s one of those countries where they put in too much effort and importance on studying. According to several statistics, Korea’s culture in studying is considered a necessity that parents would invest to their child, a minimum amount of 300,000,000 won for his/ her educational needs until he/she graduates. That would be $10,000 if converted. And this doesn’t mean a child’s grade school to college fees, but rather includes academies, studying abroad and extracurricular classes. Also in Korea, the “수능”, Suneung, or the College Scholastic Ability Test is considered a big matter that students would study until wee hours and until their nose bleeds. This means that education is considered an important necessity for the Koreans.
But how about a foreigner? Korea has a different system education than that in America and in any other countries. Though they have the same number in years, Korea has been giving much effort to advertising education as a priority among families. For foreigners, one can study through any of the universities in the country, as they offer exchange programs and scholarships.
The NIIED or NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION in Korea offers a yearly scholarship to countries who wants to get a degree or just continue further studies. Also, some universities have their own scholarships that cater financially disabled foreign students. The only requirement being that you have to pass a certain TOPIK level to be able to apply.
I for one, tried applying and researching about several scholarships offered in Korea. And last year, I was able to study in a University found in the Chungcheongnam-do Province. Though my university’s location was quite far from Seoul, I usually go once in a while to Seoul. Also, Daejeon, the third main capital of Korea is an hour of drive from my University.
Most universities require in detailed requirements. Normally for those who don’t have a degree, a record of their latest academic attainment and scores are to be compiled with letters of recommendations stating their abilities. For those who are aiming for a higher degree, it would be the same as the previous, but with a much more competitive letter of recommendation. Also when applying, they are options for applicants, whose study plans and personal statements are goal-oriented and interesting.
Also, a thorough medical recommendation is needed. Since as any foreigner coming to Korea, medical insurance should be on hand while living here. This includes laboratory tests that might be quite expensive to anyone’s home country. But here in Korea, they are done as common standard procedures.
Once you become a student, all you need to do is just try and experience the culture of the country to be able to adjust well. As my university is found at the rural areas of Nonsan city in Chungcheongnam-do, I was forced to speak Korean and practice with the locals and the students since English is rarely used. Also I was able to experience the authentic Korean experience than being in Seoul or main cities, since the culture is already adapted with the global scene. I was able to understand that Korea is not just the Kpop music you listen or the handsome boys you see. But there is something in every old person of Korea, its small cities and its fields that make every foreigner understand the real Korea.
So if you want to study in Korea, be updated, research schools and scholarships that they offer. Don’t stick around Seoul; try the whole part of Korea. Experience Korea while studying.