If you are reading this, that means you want to study abroad, or at least you think you do. Maybe you really just want to go to South Korea or have thought about living here short term or even long term. Whatever your reasons are for reading this, there are many things to consider before you even go to the study abroad office at your college. The most important thing you need to do is ask yourself three questions and have these answers ready by the time you schedule an appointement with your study abroad advisor.
The first question you should ask yourself is where do you want to go: More than likely, South Korea is on your mind, but is South Korea the only place you want to go? Maybe you want to go to several places and if you can, go for it. If you can only go to one place, do your best to choose wisely. Think stongly about the city you choose too. My top city choices were Seoul, Kyoto, Busan, and Tokyo. I knew that wherever I went, the college I went to had to be in one of these cities.
The second question you should ask yourself is how long and when: How long do you want to stay abroad? 1 year or longer? 1 semester? Winter or Summer? Knowing how long is important so that you choose a program that is the right length for your needs and major. However knowing when you want to go is important too. Maybe you want to go in Fall so that you can go to the Busan International Film Festival with CIEE Seoul, maybe spring so that you can go to an island instead. Maybe you hate the cold and want to go somplace warm in the winter or cold in the summer. I chose two semesters because I wanted to stay as long as possible while receiving as much financial aid as possible and to experience all four seasons.
The third and final question you need to ask yourself is what do you need from the program: I chose CIEE because CIEE offers a semester long homestay program. I knew that if a program did not have a homestay option, it was not for me. I knew that I wanted to go to Seoul National University or Yonsei University if I came to Seoul too. Visiting Busan was extremely important to me as well and being able to take a Japanese class to complete my minor was also something I had to look into.
It might seem daunting at first trying to find out what program and place is best for you. Figure out what you think you want, talk to your major and/or minor advisor(s), talk to your study abroad office and go from there. Also, if you decide CIEE Seoul is right for you, maybe I will see/meet you in the upcoming Spring semester!