So where is the best Korean language program? Well, basically all the schools in Korea cater to the TOPIK (Korean Proficiency Exam). The test has three categories (beginner, intermediate, and advanced) and the categories are broken into 6 total levels. So levels 1 and 2 represent beginner, and so on. Therefore in Korea most of the language programs have six levels. These days they are offering a seventh unofficial level to help students transition from the formal Korean training to real-world college-level Korean.

Main Schools (SKY): these are the most traditional schools and focus mainly on grammar and vocabulary

Seoul National University:

location is in the mountains, south of Han River

Tel: 82-2-871-6808
tuition: 1,500,000 (am) 1,350,000 (pm) 1,200,000 (advanced)

I have only been to SNU so I can really only talk about it from my experience. I liked the program because it worked on pronunciation. We had two exams where we would have to record our voice and the teachers would check and assist in our pronunciation for levels 1 and 2. The study atmosphere was good, as most students hope to matriculate into SNU. Cost of living is cheap.

Korea University: location a bit far from other schools in the Northeast
courses: 6 levels with advanced research classes
tuition for regular course (200 Hours): 1,600,000 (application+tuition)

I have only been to a conference at KU, but the atmosphere was really welcoming. The students on campus are good at English and there is an international student dorm on campus.

Yonsei University: location good in Sinchon

tuition:1,610,000 (includes materials, tuition, application)

I have friends who went to Yonsei. They have said it is really focused on grammar but there is also a vibrant community life so you can participate in clubs and university life at YU.

Other notable programs:

Sogang University: currently attending, good location in Sinchon

tuition:1,610,000 (includes materials, tuition, application) 10% discount on books when you go to Sogang’s Bandi & Lundi campus bookstore to purchase the books. I think if you want to just purchase them, you can pretend to be a student for the discount:) *Note: Sogang’s application is super easy (rolling admission)

I like the classroom environment. The program is unique because it focuses on speaking. The textbook is entirely filled with phrases that Koreans use in everyday speech. Downside is that if you want to learn advanced vocabulary and grammar you will really have to push yourself. I would recommend this for those who need to work on speaking, but not for those who want to reach an advanced academic level. There are a lot of English-speaking students and Japanese exchange students, since Sogang has a sister-school in Japan. One fun thing that we did in level 3 is go on a field trip outside the school. It was just to the National Museum, but we had the opportunity to do a mini art project.

  A nice gift, right?

Ewha University

Tel:82-2-3277-3183; or 82-2-760-1341

tuition: 1,400,000 KRW + books

I heard the books are dry, but I think that this is still a well-known program. It is nearby Yonsei and Sogang. Traditionally a women’s school ,but admits both men and women into their language program. I think the opportunity to receive scholarships is quite high at Ewha.

Konguk University


tuition: 1,250,000 + 50,000 application fee

I went to YBM in Chongno where they offer Korean lessons, and they use teh Konguk U. textbooks. These books are a lot like Sogang’s with practical reading sections, and they are really dense in grammar. I think this program could be worth trying but I have not had the chance to go due to scholarship funding at other universities. Definitely a good school and worth looking into.

Kyunghee University

official IIE language school
tuition: 1,480,000 (regular course fee, application fee, textbook)

useful links:

-complete listing of Korean Scholarships and foreign insurance information provided in Korea
-National Institute for International Ed
-within NIIED website, educational opps and internship announcements
(Studying in Korea>Learn Korean has useful links)
-Korea Foundation (possibly apply in the future, fellowships for grad studs)