Why Study Abroad in Seoul?

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Why Study Abroad in Seoul?

As most people know, South Korea is a country with a population of nearly 50 million people. The capital city, Seoul, is home to 10 million residents and is quickly growing each year. Thanks to its urban sprawl and vibrant nightlife, it has become one of the world’s most visited cities. If you are studying abroad in Seoul, there are plenty of things for you to see and do. There are popular tourist destinations such as Gyeongbokgung Palace and Namsan Tower that offer great panoramic views from their observation decks. Aside from sightseeing attractions, you will also be able to visit local museums such as Dongdaemun Design Plaza and Museum or The National Folk Museum which showcases traditional Korean culture through exhibits and history.

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When choosing where to study abroad, it can be daunting and overwhelming. You want to make sure you are getting the most out of your experience, both in terms of academics and in your host destination. Truly, the city you choose to live in for your experience abroad should be examined just as carefully as the college you choose for your undergraduate or graduate experience.

It needs to be dynamic, fulfilling, and someplace you feel you can really make “home” for several months. Studying across the world brings its own set of challenges, which is why you’ll want to choose a destination that you’re passionate about. In the low moments, it’ll be easier to remember why you’re there in first place (and in the high moments, it’s all that much better!).

So, why study abroad in Seoul? There are lots of reasons why Seoul is the BEST place to study abroad. Seoul brings all the vibes of East-meets-West and combines them into a modern, 21st century city rich with history and ripe with innovation.

Is Seoul a good place to study abroad?

Yes! Seoul is a great place to study abroad. Known worldwide for its intricate history, soaring mountains, innovative technology, and endless things to do, Seoul is THE place for studying abroad.

Studying abroad in Seoul offers the convenience and comforts of city life on levels comparable to (and even above) NYC. When you study abroad in Seoul, you become a dynamic element amongst a city that never sleeps. Seoul is the perfect place for those who want to expand their world outlook while also enjoying some of the comforts of home.

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Plus, Seoul’s pockets of international communities scattered throughout the city highlight its presence as a leader in in East Asia.

10 reasons to study abroad in Seoul

Why Study Abroad in Seoul?

1. Language barriers aren’t an issue

The official language of South Korea is Korean. However, you don’t have to know any Korean to navigate Seoul, or even most of the country. Thanks to a massive government undertaking several years ago, signage throughout Seoul is displayed in Korean and English.

The Korean government recognized that in order to bring more visitors into Korea, they needed to help meet them halfway. All major signs, public transportation information, attractions, and even a fair amount of restaurants have signage in English. This makes navigating a breeze (for English-speakers, of course).

Likewise, the Korean alphabet system is easy and fast to learn, and many words are “Konglish” (a mix of Korean and English). For example, the English word “Taxi” in Korean is 택시” (takshi). The subway system also announces stops in Korean first, followed by English, Chinese, and Japanese.

2. The city is your classroom

Why Study Abroad in Seoul?

You’ll enjoy learning about the *soul* of Seoul.

Studying abroad in Seoul means the city is your classroom. The city of Seoul is massive and spread out over many different areas. Each area offers a different vibe and provides a unique perspective.

Whether you are in the beauty and fashion district of Gangnam, living it up in Itaewon’s party scene, taking in the sunset from a park on the Han River, seeing how much you can eat at Dongdaemun Market, or strolling along the art streets of Insadong, Seoul offers something for everyone.

While it might take you an hour to get from one side of Seoul to the other by subway, there is plenty to see and do in the process.

3. …And so are the museums!

Another compelling reason to study abroad in Seoul is the museums. Seoul is home to more than thirty museums, and the best part is that many of the museums are completely free!

Seoul’s museums are world-class and offer visitors a unique glimpse into the history of the country in a way that is exciting and engaging. Most of the museums offer English versions of their websites and typically have the signage for the exhibitions and museum maps in Korean, English, Chinese, and Japanese.

Museums such as the War Memorial, National Folk Museum, Cheongwadae Sarangchae (Presidential Museum), and Seoul Museum of History combine historical artifacts with start-of-the-art technology to help visitors understand Korea’s history and how it has shaped the present day.

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To study abroad in Seoul means you can expand upon what you learn in the classroom in a fun and dynamic way.

4. Safe and efficient public transit

An important part of studying or living anywhere is feeling safe, and Seoul’s public transportation doesn’t disappoint. Trains and buses keep to strict time schedules, while ETAs, routes, and other public transit information is kept up-to-date through apps such as Kakao Maps and Naver Maps.

Subway cars and buses are clean and quiet because eating, drinking, disruptful behavior, and loud conversations are frowned upon when using public transit. Public transit fare is also affordable, coming in at around $1 USD per ride (and transfers made within 30 minutes typically do not incur an additional fee).

5. Street vendors and small restaurants

Why Study Abroad in Seoul?

South Korea is a foodie heaven!

The food scene in Seoul can only be described in one word—epic! Forget grabbing a bite at a chain restaurant (although those are good too), hole-in-the-wall restaurants or food from a street vendor is where it is at.

While most dining options tend to be sequestered in their own sections, the options are endless. Even though Korean cuisine reigns supreme, Seoul offers plenty of options for Western, vegetarian, and even vegan food.

Taking a food tour of the city might start at an American-themed diner for a pancake breakfast in Itaewon, followed by a chocolate and berry croffle (waffle-croissant) in the subway station. Then you can try out 떡볶이 (tteokbokki-fried rice cakes) and 만두 (mandu-dumplings) from a street vendor in the streets of Insadong.

Feel free to conclude with hot pot or even 김치 전 (kimchi jeon) from a family run shop in Anam. Yum!

6. (Almost) neverending free WIFI

A major part of studying abroad is, in fact, to study. Why study abroad in Seoul? If the previous reasons above aren’t enough, the free high speed WIFI available virtually everywhere should convince you!

Regardless of if you are at a café, restaurant, on the bus, or in the subway, you can almost guarantee that there is free WIFI. South Korea is a tech savvy country and one that requires constant access to the internet.

In Seoul, you can spend your study time at one of the thousands of coffee shops absorbing the culture while also being productive!

7. Mountains in your backyard

The proximity of nature to the city is a big reason to study abroad in Seoul. And in fact, South Korea’s landscape is 70% mountains.

This means that hiking trails can be accessed quickly and easily via public transit from pretty much everywhere within the county. Hundreds of hiking trails, parks, and nature areas can be accessed in as little as 15 minutes from most places within Seoul.

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You can hike one of the countless peaks of Mount Bukhansan and watch the sunrise. During the winter, ski slopes in the north open up for those who prefer the snow. Spend your weekdays learning and exploring the city, followed by weekends up in the mountains.

8. The rest of Korea is only a short trip away

Why Study Abroad in Seoul?

There’s even more to explore outside of Seoul on the weekends.

If the beach scene is more your thing, take the train 1.5 hours to the west coast. Or if you want to experience the beauty and wonders of island life, catch a 45-minute plane ride out of Gimpo Airport to Jeju-do (you will NOT be disappointed).

But what about coast-meets-city? You can always take the bullet train three hours south of Seoul to South Korea’s old capital, Busan, and explore a whole new city that’s right on the water.

By choosing to study abroad in Seoul, you have a fast-paced city as your homebase, within easy reach of slower living that’s great for weekend trips to unwind.

9. Seoul blends the Old with the New

To study abroad in Seoul means you can see the past, present, and future. Seoul is home to several palaces, historical buildings, and landmarks. These fixtures are often side-by-side with brand new structures.

Within a 10-block radius, you can spend the morning stepping back in time by exploring Gyeongbokgung Palace and the National Folk Museum; then, in the afternoon, walk a few blocks over to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.

10. West meets East living

Reasons to study abroad in Seoul include that you get the best of both worlds in regard to the combination of Western and Eastern styles. Seoul’s 21st century technology and global language inclusion seamlessly integrate with traditional cultural aspects.

For example, seating in dining spaces ranges from traditional Korean (matts on the floor with a low table) to Western (table and chairs). Foods can be traditional but with Western flair. The Korean language is prominent, but many signs are in English, and English is spoken by many.

Big box stores can be found near traditional food markets. The country is largely homogeneous Korean, but the international community (roughly 10% of the population) within Seoul is growing.

All in all, Seoul offers a sense of familiarity while also staying uniquely Korean.

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