STUDYING IN SOUTH KOREA - A GENERAL INTRODUCTION OF SOUTH KOREA
South Korea lies in the Southern part of the Korean peninsula, East Asia. In the East, West and South of South Korea are oceans. Its topology is separate into 2 zones: forest area that makes up 70% of South Korea area in the East, and plain area in South West. The official number of population is about more than 10 million people. There are many large cities such as Incheon in the West of Seoul, Daejeon in the central areas, Kwangju in the South West, Daegu and Busan in the South East.
South Korea has 4 distinct seasons. Spring and autumn are short, summers is hot and humid, winter is cold, dry and snowy, especially in mountainous area, unlike the coastal areas in the south. Climate is also different depending on different areas, with average temperature ranging from -6 degrees Celsius to 26 degrees Celsius. Average temperature in August, the hottest month of the year, is around 19 degrees Celsius to 27 degrees Celsius, when in January, the coldest month of the year, the average temperature is about -8 degrees Celsius to 7 degrees Celsius.
In the beginning of Spring, South Korea usually has “yellow dust” carried by wind from Chinese desserts. But in the middle of April, South Korea experience an enjoyable weather with mountain and farmlands surrounded by fields of colorful wild flowers. With dry air and crystal clean sky, autumn is the favorite season of many South Koreans. Countryside sights are beautiful with many different colors.
The South Korean economy has experienced major improvements, from one of the poorest country in the world after the Korean war, South Korea became one of the developed countries, in the top 3 most developed Asian country and top 10 in the world. South Korea has a market economy where its government play a major role. From 1970, many South Korean corporation began to make its name in the world market. Those are Samsung, Hyundai or GM Daewoo, to name a few.
Modern South Korean culture was developed from its many traditions. Industrialization, urbanization and modernization have brought many changes in the South Korean lifestyle. They, however, still maintain their own cultural traditions, and can not be mistake with any other country in the world.
South Korea is most famous for its kimchi, a dish made by salted and ferments vegetable, which the most popular ingredient is cabbage. Bulgogi, galbi, and samgyeopsal are all favorite dishes made from meat. Fish is also a popular food, because it is traditionally used in Korea. A famous fast food in South Korea is kimbab, including rice mix with vegetable and rolled meat in wrapped seaweed.
According to the United Nations, South Korea has more than 50 million people, which is 27th country with largest population.
South Korea is a country with freedom of religion, so most popular religions in the world all present in South Korea, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism and Islam. Standing at the top is Buddhism with 43% of religious population of South Korea.
Traffic infrastructure in South Korea is equally developed in every parts of the country. In South Korea, every information about transportation are digitalized. In the year of 2011, South Korea has finished installing high speed fiber optic cable on 3.500 km of highway, creating a network of Intelligent Transportation System, and through it improve South Korea traffic to a new level.
School year in South Korea starts in March, vacations in July and August. Second semester starts in September and lasts until the end of December. After that is winter break that lasts until the beginning of February. After school starts in the beginning of March, students have a short break of 1 week before starting a new school year. School systems in South Korea are divided into: Elementary school (6 years), middle school (3 years), high school (3 years) and university (4 years) with the exception of 2-3 years colleges and technical institutions. Universities are also opening up master degree and doctorate program from 2-3 years.
The purpose of high schools is intermediate study and basic advanced courses. There are 3 types of high schools: High schools, Job oriented high schools and others. Tuitions are paid by students for 3 years studying in high school.
Occupational universities provide after high school programs. Currently, in South Korea, there are about 150 occupational universities, and, among those, 10 are public, and the rest are private. The purpose of a professional university is providing intermediate training for technicians by creating a stable theoretical and engineering knowledge. Programs are divided into technology, agriculture, aquaculture, healthcare, family, society, art and sports, ….
Students will receive thorough training in both practical skills and occupational knowledge so that after graduation, students can easily qualify for jobs and, if desired, can move on to a 4 years University.
There are 250 4-years universities in South Korea. Some special majors such as medical, eastern medicine and dentistry requires 6 years. South Korean universities offer a diverse choice of majors.
University programs for International students
- Official program
- International student exchange program: depends on majors, universities.
- Studying during break time (summer break, winter break) program: including official programs during break time, practicing Korean, other lectures.
Currently, in globalized universities, 30% of lectures are in English. The percentages of lectures in English is even higher in colleges than in universities. Some universities also open international major and all lectures are to be made in English.
Korean practice programs
Many universities open language academy and have custom made Korean program for international students. Short program from 3 to 4 weeks is a short-term program focusing on improving speaking skill. Long program from 10 to 40 weeks focus on related theme, which is highly practical, develops communication skills and at the same time provides cultural courses – improve study efficiency and knowledge about culture.
Master’s degree and Doctorate
If you have already graduated universities then you can participate in master’s degree and doctorate programs. For a master’s degree, it usually takes 2 to 3 years while doctorate requires 2 to 4 years. Most universities in South Korea provide master and doctorate program