Live chat event with current Underwood International College students!

After a few months of spamming you guys with travelling in Korea and education-related topics, I am finally sharing more about studying in Korea! Hope that you guys don’t mind because I do feel that you can learn more about travelling in Korea as part of student life, and education articles are a way of showing what activities you can join in Korea as a “SNS supporter” of a UNESCO organization.

This “SNS supporters” thing seems quite unique to Korea, basically organizations like to recruit university students to help promote them or some ideas on their own SNS channels. For instance, Wow Korea supporters aim are supposed to promote Korean tourism. And as UNESCO APCEIU supporter I join conferences or events and through writing articles I’m supposed to promote education for international understanding. There are many other organizations recruiting supporters too, such as KOTRA from what I’ve heard. So depending on your interests there are many such organizations you can join, outside of school!

But I digress. The main point of this post is this live event that I’m very excited about! So basically two of my best friends in school, Amalia and Thanh who are running the Woori UIC Youtube channel are planning to hold a live event via Youtube! What this means is that you get to chat with them in real time, and get all the answers to your questions immediately!

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Career prospects with a degree from Korean universities

Since I will become a senior in the coming fall semester, I guess this is one question I have become more informed about compared to my time as an innocent freshman. I do get quite some questions about this too, so I hope this post can help you a bit more in making your decision to come study in a Korean university.

Some basics you need to know about working in Korea before we start:

Local Korean companies vs Multi-National companies
For local Korean companies, they would definitely require Korean proficiency. And when I say Korean proficiency, it is not 반말 (the form of informal Korean you use with your friends), but formal, business Korean. So if your aim is to work in Korea, in a local company, you definitely have to be able to speak Korean well.
*Note: Korean multinationals like Samsung or LG are not really in this category

The number of multinational companies that choose to locate in Seoul has been increasing over the years, and Korean multinationals such as Samsung are becoming well-known brands worldwide. In this globalizing context, such companies have two tracks of employment. One would be the local track where they are looking for Koreans to work in local branches and contact with local clients, and the international track where they are looking to send employees overseas or back to their home countries, or deal with international clients. For the local track, it is the same as Korean companies – Korean proficiency is needed. Korean proficiency is not always needed for global track.

However the international track is becoming more and more competitive due to its better employee benefits and the opportunities for overseas posting. Also, working in the more global departments in multinationals gives one a higher chance of escaping from the strict hierarchy in local Korean companies, so many overseas Koreans are very interested and definitely well-qualified for this track as well. They are effectively bilingual in English and Korean, so they have an advantage over other applicants who only speak one language. So I cannot begin to stress the importance of Korean proficiency if you intend to work in Korea. Korean proficiency would also be an added bonus if you want to work in Korean multinationals as well, even if your aim is to be posted back to your home country.

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Korean Proficiency – why TOPIK Level 3 is not enough

So, I’ve decided to address this issue of Korean proficiency after getting many questions over these years.

First of all, to make a differentiation, most universities in Korea have various tracks for admissions. For instance, Yonsei University has an admission directly for Underwood International College (its all-English undergraduate programme), and another regular admission for the other colleges. So in this case, for admissions to UIC, you would not need Korean proficiency.

However, for the regular admission, you would definitely need Korean proficiency. Even if some of the classes offered in say, the College of Business is conducted in English, during admission to the College of Business itself, you need to have Korean proficiency. Even if you are planning to choose only English classes (if they even offer enough classes conducted in English that you are able to complete the number of credits to graduate, which is usually quite unlikely), you would still need Korean proficiency.

Of course, there are some universities that state that for some majors, Korean proficiency is not required. Most of the time, it would be probably the English majors, or some universities that have some global business programmes or international studies/global studies programme. If so, then good (or bad, depending on how much you want to learn Korean) for you (:

However, there are some universities that accept students conditionally. So for instance, the Korean proficiency requirement is actually TOPIK Level 4, but you only obtained Level 3. Since your Korean proficiency is below that of the requirement, technically you don’t fulfill the admissions requirement. However, some universities still accept you for admission, and have you take part-time Korean language classes as you simultaneously take your other major classes for the semester.

While it sounds like a good plan for the students who really want to enter the university, I personally do not agree with such policies. Neither do I think that universities that only require TOPIK Level 3 for majors that are conducted in Korean are fully aware of the consequences on the students. I say this on a personal level, based on my own experience and the experiences of people around me, and so I hope to share our stories so to help all of you hoping to come to Korea for your studies make a more informed decision.

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2013 QS Asia University Rankings

Even if I’m busy usually, I will at least post updates on university rankings when I get wind of them!

Results for the annual QS Asia University Rankings~

(I will only talk about Korean universities!)

The top ranked Korean university this year is Seoul National University at #4, followed by KAIST at #6 and POSTECH at #7. SNU remained at #4 position, but KAIST and POSTECH did climb up the rankings by 1 and 2 places respectively. These are the only 3 Korean universities in Top 10.

Yonsei is #16 this year, Korea University at #19 and Sungkyunkwan at #21.Both Korea University and Sungkyunkwan also made improvements in the rankings this year while Yonsei maintained its position.

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