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SOUTH KOREA - ISEP Yonsei University

Located just 20 minutes from downtown Seoul, Yonsei University provides students a chance to truly experience life in Korea’s capital city. Students looking for a wide variety of English courses while also learning the Korean language will find Yonsei University to be a great fit. Whether students choose to spend their time relaxing in the Global Lounge with other international students, participating in one of the university’s over 200 campus clubs, or taking weekend trips into the big city, there is something for everyone at Yonsei University.

This program is best for a student that is independent.  A student must be comfortable with advocating for themselves on campus and comfortable with the local language to thrive in this location. Please be aware that there may not be the same access to internet or amenities to which you may be accustomed.  Student services and especially class registration may not be at all similar to what is done at the College and may be difficult for some students to adjust.

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

Experiences of Former Students


“The international classes at Yonsei University offered a broad span of classes from business to Korean language and culture. This culture class that I took taught me a lot about Korean customs, rituals, and many daily life aspects of Korean life.” - James Park, Indiana State 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).


Yonsei University’s main campus is ensconced in a spacious, picturesque, and natural setting located minutes away from the economic, political, and cultural centers of Seoul’s metropolitan area. Yonsei University has a 245-acre campus in the lovely wooded hills of western Seoul, 20 minutes from downtown by bus or subway.

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


Being the oldest private university in Korea, Yonsei University was first established in 1885 by Christian missionaries. Yonsei’s mission is to educate leaders who will contribute to humanity in the spirit of “truth and freedom.” Yonsei has 3,460 eminent faculty members who are conducting cutting-edge research across all academic disciplines and two-thirds of Yonsei’s faculty holds doctorates from U.S. institutions. The student body is taken from the top one percent of high school graduates in Korea. The foreign student population is about 2,700. Yonsei is proud of its history and reputation as a leading institution of higher education and research in Asia.

Located just 20 minutes from downtown Seoul, Yonsei University provides students a chance to truly experience life in Korea’s capital city. Students looking for a wide variety of English courses while also learning the Korean language will find Yonsei University to be a great fit. Whether students choose to spend their time relaxing in the Global Lounge with other international students, participating in one of the university’s over 200 campus clubs, or taking weekend trips into the big city, there is something for everyone at Yonsei University.

The International Division of OIA offers undergraduate Korean and East Asian studies courses taught in English, with intensive Korean language instruction. Some departments are open to participants who are proficient in Korean.

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.

The social aspect of university life for Korean students is very important and students enjoy socializing with peers on campus when they are not attending class. While some students may have negative opinions regarding school study, Korean students generally agree that the most difficult part about university life is passing the entrance examinations.

Students are generally required to take a midterm and final examinations.  Other tests, presentations, research papers, and projects may also be expected of students.  A student‘s performance in a course is determined by the results of examinations, class attendance, and participation of the student. Student performance is usually graded on a 100 point scale. 

Due to high demand, exchange students are limited to enrolling in a maximum of 3 Business/Economics courses.

Upperclassmen placement priority.

Academic Environment and Teaching Style

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 are often more formal than those in the United States.

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.


For more information regarding courses being offered: click here.

Course information can be found using the Online Portal. After clicking “English” in the top right corner please find “Course Catalog and Syllabus.”

Intensive Korean language courses are offered in addition to regular classes during the academic year and/or semester for all levels.

If you are having trouble with the Online Portal, please try again using a different browser. If you are not able to find any courses listed under the appropriate semester/year, please try the previous semester/year to get a general idea of which courses are likely to be available.

Note: If you cannot access the course list page properly, please be sure to use the latest version of the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser. The Mozilla Firefox browser has been known to cause issues.

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

Student Life


ISEP students are required to participate in a 2-day orientation program upon arrival that covers topics and activities such as programs introduction, day-trip information, student clubs, and a Korean culture seminar. Students will be also registering for their courses during this time through the course registration system. Students will receive a detailed orientation handbook with all relevant information. Students will also learn the Yonsei “AKARAKA” cheer which will be chanted at the university’s “Yon-Ko” Fall Sports Festival.


Airport pick-up is available. The host will also provide arrival directions with acceptance packet.


Yonsei University holds many events and activities throughout the year. Two of the most noteworthy events to participate in are the annual Spring Mu-Ak Festival and the annual Yonsei-Korea University Friendship Games held in the fall semester. Each school and its representative student clubs organize programs in various academic, cultural, athletic, and artistic areas to bring students, faculty, and alumni together with a shared vision. The spirit of creativity and youthful exuberance extends beyond the campus borders and into the Sinchon community. Students and famous musicians and vocal artists also perform concerts throughout the year.

Korean students tend to take most of their courses only with other students from their own department. They have relatively few chances to meet students from other departments. One function of student clubs is to provide a method for cross-departmental networking. Thus there are a large number of student clubs on campus that involve activities such as mountain climbing, calligraphy, and so on. Below are 3 other examples:

Yonsei Global consists of Yonsei University student volunteers. It aims to provide 30,000 Yonseians with a variety of world views and help them experience diverse cultures. Yonsei Global plans and prepares programs that create opportunities for Yonseians to meet students with overseas experience as well as exchange students every month. Email: 

The Mentors Club encourages interaction between international and regular Yonsei students on a one-to-one basis called the Buddy Program. International students are matched with Yonsei students in pairs based on their interests, hobbies, and goals written on their applications. It aims to promote community and friendship and continuing cultural learning and interaction through shared experiences. Email: 

The International Yonsei Club (IYC) is composed of Yonsei students who are interested in building stronger ties between Korea and the rest of the world. IYC is an excellent place to make new friends. IYC arranges retreats, activities, language exchanges, and forums. All are welcome to join. Email:

  Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteer opportunities are available through the Global Angel Program. Please contact your ISEP Host coordinator for more information.
Housing and Meals

Students will be housed in double-occupancy rooms at the SK Global House and International House with a stipend for meals. Please note that the stipend disbursement procedure takes about 3 weeks after the start of the program. Students who want to live off-campus should notify the university after they have been confirmed as an ISEP student. A housing benefit can be provided as a stipend. The amount is the same as on-campus housing fee. The SK Global House is available for families or couples. If an ISEP student wants to live off-campus with a spouse or family, a housing benefit can be provided as a stipend as well. 

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 Yonsei 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