If you dream to visit Korea and wish to learn to speak Korean but feel you have to wait until college or after, you may not have to. You might be able to enroll in a South Korea exchange student program sooner than you think. You could have the opportunity to attend high school in South Korea and truly immerse yourself in the culture. You may stay in Seoul, or you may end up in another city or town in South Korea; however, no matter where you go, you could have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to immerse yourself in the culture of South Korea.
Korea Exchange Student Program
With a program offering a chance to study abroad in a Korea high school, you may have the chance to live with a Korean host family. This may provide you a chance to really see what daily life in this Asian country is like. You might gain far more insights than tourists who never venture into the real Korea[i]. Immersion in a country may also help you to learn the language more efficiently, since you could have opportunities to use it everyday[ii]. This may help you in your future, both at college and beyond. In a multi-cultural world, it may be important to know how to interact with other cultures, especially if you plan to pursue a career in a company or organization with international ties.
Study Abroad in Korea High School
If you do not wish to or cannot spend a year of high school in South Korea, it may be possible to spend a few weeks over the summer. The Korean school system typically runs form early March to Late December, so you could have the chance to attend a Korea exchange student program even during your summer break [iii]. Some summer programs may also have a particular aim for students, such as exploring peace and reconciliation along with Korea's past and present. Instead of staying in one location, you may have the opportunity to travel to various regions in Korea and learn from economists and historians. Although you may travel, you may still have the chance to live with a host family and might even have the chance to stay in a Buddhist temple and learn from monks[iv].
In a summer program, you may also be able to enroll in intensive language courses on a university campus[v] to help jumpstart your education in a language designated as a critical language by the National Security Education Program[vi]. This might grant you a head start when you enter university, as you may be able to test out of one or more required language classes. The ability to speak Korean may also help you with your future career, as some companies and international organizations may want to have employees who can speak the language.
Korean High School
A Korea exchange student program could provide you a way to visit South Korea, learn the language, and be immersed in the culture while also having support in country. You might live with a host family and attend high school in South Korea for a real view in the culture of the country. Some programs may also provide you with assistance in planning for the trip, including acquiring any visas or resident permits, preparation for the journey, placement, enrollment in school, tutoring and counseling. Some programs may also organize special trips so that you might see more of the country and region[vii].
There are many considerations to make when determining whether or not to go to high school in Korea, including the length of time, the location, the support, and amenities provided in the program and more. Every person and experience is different, so it may be best to research the different programs and determine which is the best fit for you. You may find our resources beneficial to help when you research if a South Korea exchange student program is the right fit for you.