Are you planning to study abroad in South Korea? Check out our essential tips and information to make the most of this experience

The proposal for an exchange program consists of immersing yourself in a new culture and having experiences with a foreign language. THE South Korea brings this possibility, because in addition to carrying a different culture from ours, it provides different experiences for the student. In addition to being the birthplace of the phenomenon of K-pop bands, which are successful among young people of other nationalities, the country located in Asia is the fourth largest economy on this continent, and even so, the cost of living is reasonably low.

The official currency of the country is the south korean won, and currently the territory is in political and economic stability. The most chosen destination by students is the capital seoul (or Seoul), with the advantage that no visa is required for up to three months of stay, reducing any extra paperwork for students.

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Exchange students in South Korea are amazed by the country's history and culture. Photo: © Korea Tourism Organization

Types of studies and exchange programs in South Korea

Most students go to Korea to learn or improve the Korean language. The agency World Study is one of the few Brazilian companies that offer student exchanges to the country. The study possibilities are diverse, for example, if you cannot go for a long period, there is the option of vacation programs that last only one month. But, if you want to delve deeper into the culture, it is possible to find longer duration packages.

An interesting thing about these programs is that there is a possibility to go with a group of brazilians, in case you are afraid to make the trip alone. The groups are also accompanied by a representative of the World Study, helping each step of this journey. Every 15 students, an experienced leader who has already done the exchange, participates in this experience. Either way, in a group or alone, one thing is for sure: this trip will be an experience of a lifetime!

Most group accommodations are in a cluster of apartments, so everyone is close together. Going alone, living in family homes is also a viable and very safe option. These families are used to receiving foreigners and do everything they can to make the trip of the young person or adult complete.

But many students prefer to stay in goshiwon, which are actually very small rooms, and offer only the basics as they are more affordable. The student Bianca Enoura, gives World Study, who stayed in this type of accommodation for a month, gave some essential tips for the exchange in south korea: "The most important thing when living in a Goshiwon is organization, to take advantage of all the useful areas and not let the clutter get in the way of everyday life. The common spaces (kitchen, laundry, closets) were very organized”. Although there is no maximum age to improve your knowledge, everyone over 13 can go and participate in this international experience.

Another concern of students is insecurity with the language when traveling. With the World Study, one of the pioneers in exchange in south korea, the agency guarantees all the support before and during the trip, therefore, in some cases, the student does not need to know how to speak Korean, let alone English.

But, if you are looking to study a period of your graduation or high school in Korea, some language level tests may be required, which ensures better performance in studies.  

Student Amanda Prata, 23, spent about two months in Korea and says she didn't have much difficulty communicating: “You can communicate smoothly depending on where you are, through gestures, translation apps, mime, facial expression. You don't go away from hunger, people always help in these matters”. Another important point for the most insecure is the support given by the Brazilian Embassy, which helps with any extra need, in addition of course, the constant support offered by the exchange agency

Jeonju Hanok Village, about 2 hours from Seoul. Photo: © Korea Tourism Organization

How to do an exchange in South Korea?

Few Brazilian agencies offer packages of exchange in south korea, which makes it difficult when planning a trip to study in the country and finding the right company to provide all the advice.

THE World Study is one of the few that offer special packages for Brazilian students who want to travel alone or in a group. In July 2019, for example, they will make two special trips accompanied by youtubers Iago Aleixo and for Thais Midori, there are still vacancies for the two outputs.

The first tour will be for two weeks in seoul and a week in busan, and the second itinerary will be with two weeks in Busan and one week in seoul. In addition to the presence of youtubers, the trip promises a very fun immersion for those who want to get to know the diversity of South Korea up close. The investment for the trip is U$ 2877 + agency administrative fee.

Hanok from Bukchon, traditional Korean village, located in Seoul. Photo: © Korea Tourism Organization

Safety and Prevention

A very frequent question from travelers is in relation to health insurance. with the agency World Study, the insurance can be contracted directly with them or with a broker of their choice, and there is no need to have previous concerns about vaccination, since no type of vaccine is necessary to enter the South Korea.

For exchange students to have greater security, it is important that they know that the Brazilian Embassy is based in the capital seoul, in addition to carrying the telephone number of the entities in case of emergencies. Since most Brazilians residing in Korea go with the intention of studying, but in the southeastern region of the country, there is also a cluster of Brazilian companies working with Korean companies, such as construction companies and companies from other sectors. That is, the population is spread across the country and it will always be possible to find someone of the same nationality.

Winter in South Korea occurs from November to March. Photo: © Korea Tourism Organization

How is the adaptation in South Korea?

The seasons of the year in Korea are well defined, when it is summer temperatures can reach up to 30°C, in winter it can drop a few degrees below zero. Some people may find the country strange in cold weather, but as they become more familiar with the environment, they get used to the icy weather and dress warm as the weather takes them. So, at the end of the day, the biggest apprehension of tourists ends up being with food and transport.

The food cost is not expensive compared to the Brazil. As the country's eating habits are different from ours, tourists tend to try typical dishes such as kimchi, a spicy combination of rice and a vegetable – usually Swiss chard. The dishes are very well served, and most of the ingredients used are natural, such as vegetables, meats and pepper. The taste issue is customary, students tend to adapt with a week's stay. But in case you are not ready to dare in Korean dishes, there is still the choice of fast food and ready meals. Even more affordable than cooking, in case you don't have so much free time.

Regarding means of transport, all public services work perfectly. The most used is the subway, which connects the main areas of the city in eight different lines. The bus, on the other hand, has a wider reach, connecting subway lines with various points of the metropolis. In addition, there is the option of trains, most used for locomotion around the country. Transport is safe, practical and well signposted: “When you are at the bus stop, you already have a panel with the timetable and routes with this information in English. It's amazing, because we have quick access to information about the buses and that makes everything easier”, says the exchange student Amanda.

Main Destinations

Korean architecture is a mix of tradition and modernity. To make the most of it, it is necessary to trace a route with the main attractions of the country. The most famous city is the capital seoul, which contains a large population concentration, including Brazilians. Soon after in the southeast region is busan. Other cities that also attract tourists are: Daegu, incheon, Gwangju and Daejeon.

In seoul it is possible to connect from Korean roots to the country's technological advances. the palace of Gyeongbokgung contains typical traits of the culture and provides tours free, making life easier for students who want to save money on travel. But, if you are thinking of shopping, you need to visit the COEX, an area of the city that hosts events, restaurants and many modern buildings. in this spaceço is the Hyundai Mall, the largest mall in the country.

Gyeongbokgung Palace, one of Seoul's imperial palaces. Photo: © Korea Tourism Organization

In the city of busan it is possible to relax on some beaches, in addition to getting in touch with Asian spirituality. For example, the Haedong Yonggung Temple, which carries the Buddhist aesthetics and philosophy, enabling a deeper view of this philosophy of life. In addition, the beach Haeundae It is also a very visited spot in the country, being considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Did you like these tips? exchange in south korea? Now that you know the main tips, plan your trip to ensure a unique immersion in this Asian pearl.

Haedong Yonggung Temple in Busan, South Korea. Photo: © Korea Tourism Organization

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