Located in Seoul (capital of the country), Yonsei University is ranked as one of the top 3 universities in Korea and is also the oldest university in the country. It celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1985 and has grown to host 17 colleges, 83 departments and 13 professional graduate schools. Together with its Korean Language Institute, the Yonsei family now hosts 47,000 students.
Minimum GPA requirement:
2.5 / 4.0
Language of instruction:
Flying Chalks’ tip: Do note that even for classes indicated as being taught in English, professors may choose to teach in Korean instead for various reasons (own preference, cater to the English standards of Korean students etc). It is advisable to check out the classes at the start of the semester, and plan more course options as a backup plan.
Course descriptions can be found in respective college’s webpage, click here!
Korean language courses
Should you be interested in taking up Korean language courses, you can either opt for the classes offered by the university or at its globally-recognised Korean Language Institute.
Korean language courses offered by Yonsei are limited in variety and less intense as compared to those held at the Korean Language Institute where most exchange students would attend a 2-hour class every day from Monday to Friday.
Flying Chalks’ tip: Should you already have some background knowledge on the language, there is no need to worry about which level of proficiency to take up for your classes as there will be a placement test on the first week of the semester to categorize the students.
Course registration process:
Registration for courses is via the Fastest-Fingers-First system on the start of the application date.
Flying Chalks’ tips:
- In most Korean universities, professors have the authority to accept students into their class even though it might appear as fully enrolled on the university’s online course registration system.
In addition, professors are usually more understanding towards exchange students’ demands. Having said that, do not bet all your hopes on it!
- As Korean websites tend to require certain plug-ins not used in other parts of the world, it would be good to use Internet Explorer which supports these plug-ins. Browsers like Google Chrome or Firefox may not support the plug-ins needed for the websites to run.
Any student who is absent from a course for more than 1/3 of the semester will be given an “F” grade regardless of his/her achievements.
The Yonsei University campus guide can be found here!
Yonsei University has a fitness centre that is accessible only through paid membership. Due to the limited number of membership slots, it will be on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Located on the second floor of the Physical Education Building, the swimming pool has four lanes and can get quite crowded. Like most Korean pools, you must wear a swim cap, goggles, and a proper swimsuit. It will be closed during the winter break. The cost is KRW 1,200 for one day, KRW 10,000 for ten days, or KRW 18,000 for a monthly membership.
Food on campus:
The Student Union Building houses 3 of the campus’ biggest eateries that feature a range of cuisines, from Korean and Japanese, to that of Western and Chinese.
Flying Chalks’ recommendation: The eatery serving Western food is one of the hot favourites amongst students. Be sure to check it out!
Apart from the main dining places, you can also find smaller food eateries and cafes at the Korean Language Institute Building, concourse leading to the lobby of SK Global House, basement of the Business building, amongst many others.
There is a free shuttle bus service that ferries students around the campus.
Yonsei University offers you one of the most exciting student life experiences that one can ask for in Korea! From having the biggest university event in Korea (Yonko-Jon or Koyon-Jon) to the exciting activities organised by various student clubs, it is indeed a university which lives up to the motto “Work Hard, Play Hard”.
You will be welcomed to the school through a mandatory one-day orientation program where apart from the usual academic and administrative briefings, you can also expect games and performances to make the entire session a really entertaining one!
The Mentors Club organizes the buddy program in Yonsei University where upon successful sign-up, you will be paired with a Korean Yonsei student. These buddies will be of great assistance to all international students, and especially to those who may be struggling to adjust to life in Korea!
Apart from the individual pairing, you will also likely be included into a “cell” which can grow up to as many as 60 Korean and foreign students. In Mentors Club, there are about 10 active cells, with each cell organizing their own hang-outs and outings.
At the orientation program, you will also be introduced to the 2 main student clubs which have their activities specifically catered to international students namely, Yonsei Global and International Yonsei Community (IYC).
Yonsei Global is a student organization under the Office of International Affairs (OIA) in Yonsei University. It organizes various events and programs for foreign students to learn more about the Korean culture, forge friendships with Koreans and other international students, as well as enjoy a richer experience on and off campus.
- Global Day
Global Day is one of the many events organized by Yonsei Global. It is held every semester and features various cultural elements of different countries. Global Day can be best described as a bustling fair where one can learn about foreign cultures through great food, fun games, and an interactive exhibition.
- Movie Cinema
For moviegoers, you will be thrilled to know that popular Korean movies with English subtitles are screened at the Global Lounge every month! Oh, and did I also mention about the free dinner and snacks that one can also enjoy at the monthly affair? :D
- Language Exchange
For those who are interested in making new friends and picking up the Korean language at the same time, you can sign up for the Language Exchange Program where you will be matched with a Korean student at Yonsei University according to the languages that both of you are proficient and wants to learn from each other. Each pair can then arrange their own meet-ups to learn more about each other’s language, culture, or even just to have fun!
- Global Angel
Global Angel provides a platform for foreign students to do volunteer work in Korea where through it, you get to discover and experience an aspect of Korean culture that most tourists would not have.
- One Shot
As the name hints, this program is for all who has an interest in photography and wants to meet like-minded peers. You will be brought to beautiful places around Korea to soak in the sights and take amazing photos of it.
- Company tour
Another unique program is that of company tours where you can sign up for exclusive visits to Korean corporations such as Hite Jinro (alcoholic beverages company), Amore Pacific (cosmetics company), KBS Broadcasting station, amongst many others.
International Yonsei Community (IYC)
IYC is another student club that actively engages with foreign students. One of its highlight events is that of MT (a Korean-style overnight field trip where participants get to enjoy good food, play games, and drink together).
Yonsei University offers a vibrant campus for its students by hosting many events round the year; the biggest of which is the Yonko-jon.
Yonsei-Korea Games (Yonko-jon / Koyon-jon)
Held in Fall, Yonko-jon is the biggest university event in Korea that features rivalry between Yonsei University and Korea University over 5 sporting events (Baseball, Basketball, Ice Hockey, Rugby and Soccer). The actual sporting event runs over 2 days, with a Prep-rally session before the event and an After-party upon completion.
Such is its scale and hype that the Yonse-Korea Games was even featured on the popular Korean variety show “Infinity Challenge”!
Sinchon, where Yonsei University’s main campus is located, is one of the best places for students to live in! An area where 8 out of 10 people you see on the street are likely to be youths, it is a bustling university town where shops and activities are all catered to the needs and wants of the students in the vicinity.
The area plays host to dozens of restaurants, eateries, themed cafes, dessert cafes, coffee chains, fast food restaurants, Korean BBQ and even street food.
Flying Chalks’ recommendation: Chun-Cheon-Tak-Gal-Bi-Mak-Guk-Su (signboard reads 춘천집닭갈비막국수) is a Korean restaurant located round the corner near Uplex that is highly popular with the locals. It serves really delicious Tak-Gal-Bi, a stir-fry spicy chicken dish that is usually topped off with rice at the end, as well as several other variants of the dish such as that of seafood.
For nightlife and entertainment:
You can easily find No-Rae-Bangs (Korean-style singing rooms), bars, pubs, clubs and PC Gaming shops all within a stone’s throw distance from one another. In addition, there is the “Megabox” shopping complex which has a cinema for movie-goers.
Sinchon is also a 15 minutes’ walk away from Hongdae – a place famed for its nightlife and entertainment.
Flying Chalks’ recommendations:
- Da-Mo-Toh-Ri (다모토리) is a Korean-style drinking joint in Sinchon that offers the perfect blend of highly affordable drinks, great atmosphere, and catchy music that is played at the right volume. It is a popular hangout for both local and foreign students alike, where friends and strangers come together to sing and even dance together!
- Hongdae is a place famed for its nightlife and entertainment. It mainly caters to the younger, hipster crowd.
- Gangnam is another place famed for its nightlife and entertainment, which also received global recognition when Korean artiste Psy’s MV “Gangnam Style” went viral. As compared to Hongdae, it mainly caters to the working and more sophisticated crowd.
For daily necessities and groceries:
For daily necessities and groceries, there are the “Grand Mart”, “Hyundai Department Store” and “Daiso” in addition to the dozens of convenience stores strewn around the area.
Flying Chalks recommendation: Grand Mart plays host to a two-storey supermarket where you can get groceries and next morning’s breakfast at a much cheaper price than that of Hyundai Department Store’s supermarket.
There are many skincare and cosmetics shops around Sinchon, as well as the “Artbox” where you can purchase fancy stationery. The area also plays host to the Uplex shopping complex and Hyundai Department Store that sells everything from fashion and accessories to that of electrical appliances.
For clothes and shoes, many students love to flock over to Ewha University area (about 10 minutes’ walk) where there are more fashion outlets.
Flying Chalks’ recommendations:
- “Express Bus Terminal” is a highly popular place amongst locals and foreigners alike for shopping. The underground shopping features hundreds of shops with products at affordable prices. Having said that, you can always bargain for better prices!
- Dongdaemun is another highly popular shopping haven where you can literally shop till dawn! For serious shoppers, it is near impossible to finish the entire shopping area even in one full day!
Yonsei University is located in Sinchon and is most commonly accessed via the subway by alighting at Sinchon station (Line 2 Subway); 10 minutes’ walk from exits #2 & 3.
Getting from Incheon airport to Yonsei University:
Private Pickup Service
Yonsei University has contracted a company, “AIRHELP CENTER INT’L” to provide pick-up service from the airport to the campus. The fare is about USD $80 and online reservation can be made here!
IYC Airport Pickup Service
International Yonsei Community (IYC), a student organazation that seeks to foster and promote relations between Yonsei students and international students, also provides airport pick-up service for students and visitors to the Yonsei campus. Fare is about USD $70 and reservation can be made here!
By Incheon Airport Railroad Express
The Airport Railroad can be said to be the fastest and most affordable option to get from Incheon Airport / Gimpo Airport to the heart of Seoul city.
The Express train (non-stop) allows one to get from Incheon Airport to Seoul station in just 43 minutes! Should your final desired destination not be Seoul station, you can also take the All-stop train which is slightly slower but stops at several stations in between (56 minutes to Seoul station).
Flying Chalks recommendation: This option is highly recommended for students who seek a comfortable ride and yet not want to splurge on commuting! However, do note the train timings in order not to miss it.
- First train (Express): 5.20am (runs in intervals of about 30-40minutes)
- First train (All-stop): 5.23am (runs in intervals of about 7-15minutes)
- Last train (Express): 9.40pm
- Last train (All-stop): 9.42pm; 9.57pm (train stops at Digital Media City station)
Directions: From the Arrival Hall, head down to B1 floor and follow the signs “Airport Railroad” to the station. Take the train to Hongik University station, then transfer to Line 2 Subway and head for Sinchon station (1 stop away). Exit at #2 or #3 and Yonsei University will be just a 5 minutes’ walk away.
By Limousine Bus
The limousine bus offers a comfortable and relatively inexpensive ride to various places, including that of Seoul. Passengers can get information about its services and ticketing at the following ticket booths located outside the airport’s Arrival floor:
- Exit 4 and 9 (indoors)
- Exit 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 13, and 9C (outdoors)
Directions: Board the limousine bus numbered 6002 at bus stop “5B” or “12A” and it will take you to Sinchon station (Line 2 Subway). From there, it is about 5 minutes’ walk to Yonsei University. You can also take the limousine bus numbered 6011 which stops at Yonsei University.
Taxi is by far the most convenient way of getting from the airport to the campus (especially when you have lots of luggage) but is also the most expensive. You can get a taxi outside the Arrival Hall of the airport.
Sinchon station is pronounced as “Shin-Chon-Yok” in Korean. The fare of a regular taxi to Yonsei University is approximately KRW $50,000.