How to Study in Korea for Free (9 Steps)

The choice to study abroad has become increasingly prevalent in recent times. Not only does one get to explore and learn about different cultures and beliefs, but a person who has knowledge of an additional language or understanding of a different environment is expected to have added advantages when it comes to searching for a job.

While studying overseas may seem like a costly affair mainly reserved for those who come from affluent backgrounds, you may be surprised to find that there are many ways you can fund your studies abroad even if you were not exactly born with a silver spoon in your mouth and don’t happen to have millions in your bank account. In this article, we will look at some ways you can keep the cost of studying in Korea to a minimum, or even better, how you can study in Korea for free!

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How to Study in Korea for Free

1. Prepare to Meet and above the Application Requirements of Korean universities

The best way to obtain an education abroad without any financial burden is by securing a scholarship. Be sure to check the available scholarships and their requirements before applying for one.

In general, most scholarships are awarded based on merit. This means that your chance of getting a scholarship increases if you have excellent academic records, test scores, or CGPA. Highlighting these in your applications is a must-do.

If possible, supplement your applications with your extra-curricular achievements and awards to help you to stand out in the crowd of applicants and therefore, increase your chance of getting a scholarship.

If you are required to provide a statement of purpose or a self-introduction, having an outstanding and well-written letter will most likely give you an edge over the other applicants. We recommend starting your application early and spending some time carefully crafting your application.

To help you with this process, we’ve created a Guide on How to Study in Korea for International Students. If you want to know about the application requirements, visit the article.

2. Prepare your Application to Korean Universities Early.

Preparing your application in advance will allow you more time to gather all necessary information or documents, address any concerns that you may have, and reduce the possibility of making mistakes in your applications. In return, this will increase your chance of successfully securing a scholarship for yourself!

3. Search for Korean Scholarships

The best way to study in Korea for free is to get a fully-funded scholarship in Korea. Some schools will automatically consider their applicants for scholarships that the schools are offering, while some will require the students to apply by themselves. Be sure to search for and read through the available financial aids and their requirements on the university website in order not to miss out on any financial support that you may be eligible for.

Certain universities, such as Yonsei University, may have a wide variety of scholarships available for their undergraduate and graduate program students. Other universities, like Seoul National University, may provide financial support to international students through external scholarships.

Funded by the Korean Ministry of Education, the Korean Government Scholarship Program (KGSP) is one of the well-known financial aid programs for international students. Those who wish to pursue a 4-year undergraduate program at a Korean university can apply for this scholarship. Recipients of this scholarship will not only receive full tuition support, but also a monthly living allowance, round-trip airfare, insurance, and settlement allowance.

4. Get Scholarships from Your Government

You can also check if there are any study-abroad scholarships offered by the government in your home country. For example, the US government has several study-abroad programs, such as the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships and David L. Boren Scholarships, available to its citizens who wish to study overseas. Getting a scholarship from your government is a perfect way for you to study in Korea for free.

5. Search for External Scholarships in Korea

Some organizations or companies may also offer scholarships or financial aids to students to fund their studies abroad. Some of these scholarships may come with strings attached. For instance, you may be required to work for the company after graduation. Remember to read through the terms and conditions of these financial resources before you apply!

6. Attend Affordable Universities in Korea

Fret not if you are not eligible for any scholarship. You can still pay for your education in Korea by keeping your costs low. One way to study in Korea for free is to apply to national or public universities instead of private universities.

Depending on the program of your choice, you may require on average, USD 3,000 or less per semester for an undergraduate degree program at a national university. The same program may cost you roughly 50% more at a private university.

Take a look at the list of Affordable Universities in Korea for International Students. If you are studying at one of these affordable universities, you can study in Korea for free by doing additional things such as getting scholarships and working while studying.

7. Apply to Korean Universities

After you obtain the necessary information on the universities and the various financial aids, it is time to send in your applications! Make sure that you meet the requirements before sending in your application.

8. Work while Studying in Korea

Working while studying in Korea is another way that you can study in Korea for free. In Korea, international students are allowed to work part-time while pursuing their higher education at a Korean university. If you hold a D-2 student visa or a D-4 Korean language training visa, you can apply for a part-time employment visa at the Immigration Office.

This permit, known as an S-3 visa, will allow you to work for 25 hours per week as an undergraduate student or 30 hours per week as a research student or a master or doctoral degree student. Be sure to check what are part-time jobs that you can work for. Refer to the Korea Immigration Service website for more information.

9. Reduce your cost of living

On average, an international student will need about $700 a month to cover his or her living expenses. Choose to live in student accommodation or dormitory as the cost is generally lower than a rental apartment. You can also reduce your spending by preparing your meals at home instead of eating out.

Of course, this does not mean that you have to live with zero social interactions or be unbearably frugal. While it may not be wise to patron the Octagon Club in Seoul every night, there are still activities and places you can enjoy and visit without incurring significant financial stress. Anyone can have a memorable study and living experience in Korea!


I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit theĀ Korea Scholarships Page!