South Korea enjoys a very high reputation globally as far as its education system is concerned. It has secured some of the topmost positions in world rankings that put the education systems of different countries against one another. With a literacy rate that is very close to 100%, it’s no surprise that students from all over the world consider South Korea very seriously as their study destination, whether for the first cycle or second-cycle studies. The country is also a very famous study destination for people looking to get their PhDs.

But as with any other country, South Korea brings forth some problems for its international students as well. It’s, therefore, a good idea to carefully assess any country that you’re considering traveling to for your studies.

The first thing to note is that the academic calendar of South Korean educational institutes is different than that of many western countries. The start of a new school year takes place in March, and this semester goes all the way up to June. After this semester, you get a one-month break. On the flip side, the alternate semester starts from August and goes till December. After this period, you get a two-month break. So, essentially, the summer and winter breaks are swapped in Korea.

With that piece of some basic information out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of the South Korean education system so that you can determine whether or not it is a good place for you to pursue your studies.

What Are the Pros of the South Korean Educational System?

The pros of the South Korean educational system are affordability in tuition fees and textbooks, flexibility in classes, group works are highly valued, and the educational system in the country is continuously developing. Yearly, many foreign students are choosing South Korea as their next study destination because of these reasons.

What Are the Cons of the South Korean Educational System?

The cons of the South Korean educational system are the difficulty in class registration, being too much lecture-oriented, and being highly competitive in enrolling in classes. Since many international students in the country are experiencing these disadvantages, Korean universities have specific offices for international students to answer these concerns.

In the section below, we will be covering the pros and cons of the South Korean educational system, so make sure to stay till the end!

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Advantages of the South Korean Education System

1. Affordable Tuition Fees and Cost of Living

Compared to other countries, South Korea has affordable tuition fees for international students. Since their government places a high value on education, they provide cheaper educational fees open to local and international students. In this country, you can get a high-quality education without costing a lot. Another thing, educational tools such as textbooks are very cheap compared to other popular study destinations. Over time, this cost can be a big difference in the amount of money required to complete a degree, which is a serious consideration for every international student.

For the cost of living, South Korea has a reasonable set of prices. Once you have settled with your dorms or apartments, transportation and food are cheap.

2. Group Works is Highly Valued

Many activities, projects, and other school works are done in groups during the semester rather than individually. By having these kinds of activities with other students, collaboration and teamwork are developed, and you’ll have more interaction with your peers.

3. Flexibility of classes

In some universities and colleges, you can sit in classes that you haven’t officially joined. If you like the course, you can ask for permission from the professor and join it. This arrangement in some South Korean universities and colleges allows students to explore other subjects that interest them.

4. The Educational System Evolves

As South Korea continues to move with modernization and innovation, its educational system also develops. This country is considered one of the most innovative globally as it has modernized technologies and services. South Korean universities are built with the latest equipment and facilities to give quality education to students.

Disadvantages of South Korean Education System

1. Difficulty in Class Registration

Students often find it hard to register for classes that they want. There are many reasons for this, but one particularly frustrating one is that many universities prioritize having more native Korean students in the class than international ones. So at times, you may not be able to register for a class even if it has an empty spot simply because of the fact that it may not have enough Korean students.

2. Lecture-Oriented

Teachers don’t interact much with the students on a personal level, and students are expected to learn everything based on such lectures. As a result, they end up having a lot of work to do when they get home, which involves memorizing texts and working on mathematical and other problems.

This kind of education leads to a lot of mental stress in young students and college students. There is a larger focus on memorizing stuff rather than nurturing and boosting students’ creativity.

3. Highly Competitive

It’s simply too hard to get into a class due to the sheer number of interested students. Therefore, the process is highly competitive, and many students find themselves waitlisted and then dropped. As a new foreign student in a Korean university, you might find it difficult to enroll in a specific subject.

So, as you can see, education in South Korea has its own pros and cons. If you’re not bothered with having a lot of work to do and want to achieve excellence in terms of academics, then the country is an excellent place to go for your education. However, you should be very well aware that the system prioritizes work over any other kind of creative experience, so you may not be able to enjoy yourself as an international student as much as you may be able to in some other countries.


Interested in studying in Korea but not sure what to do? Our team can help! We offer paid admissions service for international students who want to study in Korea. We charge a fee to help with everything from choosing the appropriate university, helping with the admission application, and application for a Korean student visa. If you are interested, fill out your information on this page.


I hope that this article on the pros and cons of the South Korean educational system was helpful. If you are interested in studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students!