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SOUTH KOREA - ISEP Ajou University

Founded in 1973, Ajou University (AU) is a private co-educational institution of higher learning, rated within the top ten of the two hundred educational institutions in Korea. An outstanding characteristic of Ajou University is its specialization in international studies, engineering, medicine, business administration, and information and communication, which have a strong academic foothold in the nation as well as abroad. The university also takes pride in its pioneering role in educational reforms, which have kindled new enthusiasm for university reforms in Korea. In addition, Ajou University is distinguished for having a generous financial supporter, Daewoo Educational Foundation in Korea. Current enrollment is at 10,600 students, of which 1,600 are graduate students.

Ajou University ranks among the top 10 universities in South Korea. With a central location to the center of Seoul, students are only a quick train ride away from the lively streets of the capital city. In addition to having a diverse selection of English course offerings, students can take advantage of a variety of activities, both on campus and off. Whether it’s participating in the campus buddy program, joining weekend excursions like rafting the Dong River or visiting historical sites such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, students are sure to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Got questions? Contact the Program Officer for East Asia for the latest information on Ajou University.

Learn more about Ajou University here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.

Experiences of Former Students

“I loved the welcoming, communal feeling of Korea. I rarely felt left out and the Koreans often went out of their way to make me feel welcome or included…I found the whole experience to be wonderfully positive. I loved how welcomed I felt and I enjoyed the feeling that I was teaching my friends just as much as I was learning. I was pleased to alter some people’s view of America. I gained knowledge of the world and more tact to communicate with people different from myself.” - Chelsea Baker, Central Michigan University


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have junior status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75.  
  • Language Requirement: For courses taught in Korean, fluency is required.
  • The student must submit ISEP language proficiency report in the application, even if native speaker.

Students applying to ISEP must apply for an Exchange option (in any country) as a first choice but may apply to a Direct option as a back-up. Direct options may have an additional cost (see a financial section for more information).


Ajou University is located in the central area of Suwon, the principal city of the Gyeonggi-do Province, approximately 20 miles from Seoul. The University and the surrounding communities offer a rich educational and recreational environment with the unique cultural and historical heritages of Suwon and easy access to the diversity of Seoul, the world’s tenth largest city. The University provides a cozy academic and residential atmosphere with harmoniously arranged classrooms, laboratories, libraries, residence halls, and recreational and cultural facilities on the 125-acre main campus.

To learn more about the visa process for this country, please visit the ISEP Country Handbook for South Korea. 

Academic Environment and Teaching Style

For direct-enroll courses at the Ajou University, please understand that the academic system is quite different. Classes are usually lecture-based, instead of discussion or group work. Classes are often much larger than those found at Lake Forest College. Grades are based heavily, at times almost entirely, on one end-of-term exam, though some courses will also offer a midterm.  Professors more formal than those in the United States, and would not anticipate nor appreciate questions in class.  This would be best done outside of class, during private meetings, or in study groups.

All courses/modules may have prerequisites.  Some departments may have limitations on numbers of courses that can be taken within or outside it.  Be aware of these limitations. 

Language Requirement: For courses taught in Korean, fluency is required.
Language Courses: Intensive Korean language courses for all levels are offered in addition to regular classes during the academic year and/or semester for an additional fee. Semi-intensive courses included in ISEP benefits.


Prospective exchange students may refer to the Courses section of the Ajou University website to find appropriate courses.

The final course list for each semester is confirmed two months prior to the beginning of each semester. Many courses offered each semester are repeated, but the list is subject to change. Students should use the list from the previous semester as a reference.

Note: If you cannot access the course list page properly, please be sure to use the latest version of the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser.

Korean credits are equivalent to US credits. Three hours of class work per week for 16 weeks is equal to three US credits. Eight hours of class lecture per week for six weeks (summer session) is equivalent to three US credits. 

To Earn 4 Lake Forest credits, students must take 15-16 US semester credits.

To Earn 3 Lake Forest credits, students must take 12 US semester credits.

The number of credits listed here is estimated, and GEO will work with you, your advisor, and the registrar to ensure you are earning enough credits to keep you on track for graduation.

Please review the ISEP country handbook for more information on the education system, grades, class hours, and classroom etiquette.

Student Life

During the mandatory orientation, the Office of International Affairs will assist students and answer any questions about the program. Participation in the orientation is very important to guarantee a successful stay in Korea. Important information such as the academic schedule, tips for living in Korea, alien registration, and other relevant topics will be covered. There will be a campus tour and Welcome Reception.

Ajou University offers various kinds of activities for exchange students to help them experience Korea in many ways. Activities include tours to historical sites, visits to global companies, and attending dynamic cultural events. International exchange students can also join the Host Family Program where students are invited to visit a Korean family and experience local culture. For the benefit of international exchange students, Ajou University recruits highly qualified Korean students to organize the student volunteer service club “Ajou Global Ambassadors.” The club is dedicated to supporting the life of international students in Korea and their dedication develops into true friendship throughout the semester.

Housing and Meals

Students are housed in double-occupancy rooms in a university dormitory on campus. The university dining service provides students with meal plans at a very low cost. Several cafeterias and kitchen facilities are available on campus. Kitchens are located on each floor of the dormitory.

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for a semester with the ISEP Exchange to Ajou University includes orientation, on-site director, university fees, housing, and the equivalent of 19/meals per week.

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2019/Spring 2020 programs:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost for Southern Hemisphere programs, as that starts a new academic year.


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


ISEP Confirmation and Application Fees


ISEP-required health and repatriation insurance (estimated, $90/mo)

Note: Some countries require national insurance, which may be instead of, or in addition to, ISEP insurance. Check ISEP


Additional Meals


Estimated Airfare

*Students placed on ISEP Exchange may be eligible for up to $750 airfare award


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)


Total Expected Out-of-Pocket Expenses




Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of March 2019. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Deposits to other programs, if required, are paid by the student to the host program, and will appear as a credit on your study abroad term bill from the College.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

  • Contact:

    For Questions About the Initial Application Process:

    Alexandra Olson
    Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office