The basics
South Korea: Student Finances

Living costs in South Korea

Moving to another country for your studies might be unnerving at first but with our guide on living costs in South Korea, you can start your study abroad journey feeling prepared.

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The cost of living in South Korea is generally affordable compared to other desirable study destinations. That being said, the capital city of Seoul can be costly. The sum of money that you will need to study in South Korea also depends on your preferred standard of living and the financial choices you make. Hopefully, with our help, you can gain a clear idea of the average living costs so that you can plan and budget accordingly in preparation for your studies.

 

Accommodation costs in South Korea

Whilst South Korea is regarded as relatively inexpensive, rent will generally be the largest cost that you will need to pay. The average cost of a room in shared accommodation is KRW 500,000 which is about USD 420 per month. 

 

If you think this might be out of your price range, another popular option among students is to stay in a Goshiwon, which is similar to an off-campus residence. In this type of accommodation, you can expect to pay KRW 200,000 to 250,000, about USD 200 to USD 250, which is one of the most affordable options. 

 

A Goshiwon is a small room that is equipped with all of the essentials that you will need to live. This includes electrical equipment like a fridge and microwave. They are similar to studio apartments, arguably slightly smaller, but usually come fully furnished which is always a bonus. They are popular options for international students due to both the convenience and cost.

 

Renting from a private landlord is generally more expensive and may involve further costs and charges that you would need to consider before signing a contract. Always ensure that you have seen the accommodation before signing any agreement and don’t hand over any money without a contract having been signed. Make sure that you understand the terms and conditions that you have signed up for. 

 

Transport costs in South Korea

As an international student, you can buy a Korail Pass online which offers unlimited rail journeys as long as you travel on consecutive days:

 

 

You can also purchase a ‘select pass’ which allows you to travel on non-consecutive days as long as they fall within 10 days:

 

Persons aged between 13-25 can also receive a 20% discount which will allow you to save or spend the money elsewhere.

 

Travelling by rail is not the only way to get around as a student in South Korea. You could also choose:

 

  • Bus (intra-city and local buses)

  • Taxi (taxi fares vary but it’s about KRW 800 per kilometre or USD 0,75)

  • Subway (KRW 700 for a trip or about USD 0,70)

 

Utilities in South Korea

On top of the basic rental costs, you will also need to pay for utilities which are estimated at KRW 85,000 to KRW 242,000 (USD 70 to USD 200) which covers electricity, gas and water. Of course, this depends on how much you are using but this estimate can help give you an idea.

 

Other costs

 

Internet connectivity costs in South Korea 

As a student, having a reliable internet connection is vital and an essential cost. On average, internet connectivity in South Korea will set you back KRW 30,000 per month, which is about USD 26. You’ll also enjoy the fastest connection on the planet of almost 170 megabytes per second and extensive 5G coverage in the country. South Korea is also one of the most connected countries on earth, with 95 per cent of the population connected to the internet. 

 

Healthcare and medical insurance

Typically, students in South Korea were expected to pay KRW 100,000 to KRW 110,000 (USD 85 to USD 94) for health and medical insurance. But as of July 2019, it is proposed that all foreign students who plan to stay in the country for six months or more will need to purchase national health insurance. This is expected to cost KRW 678,000 (USD 570) per year. However, it has been suggested that students could be exempt from this revised law.

 

Check out the below infographic for an idea of what you can expect to pay for everyday costs:

 

 

 

Now that you have some idea of living costs in South Korea, check out our guide on applying for a visa so that you are ready to move abroad for your studies. You can also use our course matcher tool to find your perfect study abroad match.