Seoul, South Korea

Gaming & Esports Culture

Program Suspended for Summer '21
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Learn the ins and outs of the professional gaming industry in the Esports capital of the world.

There’s no better place to study the business of gaming than South Korea — the birthplace of the industry. Here you can study with the pros (pro gamers, pro coaches and industry professionals), flex your creative muscles with hands-on projects, and try different career roles on for size.

During classes you’ll learn about the history of Esports and discover how the industry has exploded, with a viewership rivaling that of traditional sports. On experiential learning outings you’ll hang in PC Cafes, meet real-life Esports legends, test out game titles, and learn the ropes from professional coaches in the run-up to one of the most highly anticipated global Esports games.

Where’s your home base? You'll share a room with other Global Navigators in a comfortable hotel or dorm (differs by session). Each day begins with your choice of Korean or Western style breakfast, followed by a schedule of exciting classes, workshops and group activities designed to expose you to as many aspects (artistic, technical and business) of the gaming industry as possible. Out in the field you’ll visit sites of cultural interest and learn about careers in the industry (offerings run far wider than just coding!).

With classmates you’ll soak up the vibrant culture of Seoul and see all the sights — from N Seoul Tower to the Han River, ancient palaces to PC Bang. Twice a week you’ll team up with Korean high school students to get an authentic taste of the local scene. Together you’ll cook Korean food, perform community service, and play various fun Esports related activities and games.

As a final project, you’ll work with your team to plan and execute an Overwatch SCRIM event at the world-famous Gen.G Seoul HQ. Based on your interests, play the role of a pro gamer or a project manager, a content creator or a caster, a tournament producer or a journalist covering the beat. After publishing a YouTube video of your group project, look back on your off-the-charts experience at a viewing party you’ll never forget.

Back home you’ll be well positioned to apply for future internships, having gained an in-depth knowledge of an industry that’s quickly moving from obscurity and into the spotlight.

All the Esports curriculum and content has been developed in partnership with Gen.G Esports, the foremost Esports organization to connect the U.S. and Asia. Ranked #6 in the 2019 Forbes list of the world’s most valuable Esports companies, Gen.G is the only major organization that owns and operates top teams in the world’s leading Esports markets -- China, South Korea, and the United States. Its unique portfolio of teams, winners of 7 global championships to date, includes the Seoul Dynasty franchise of the Overwatch League; 2014 & 2017 League of Legends world champion teams in South Korea; the world’s top all-female Fortnite team, based in Los Angeles; and the NBA 2K League’s historic expansion franchise in Shanghai.

The Takeaways

  • Understanding

    General knowledge of the history of video game technologies and genres; the terms and principles of game design and development; and the marketing and consumer behavior theorems used in the industry

  • Cultural Immersion

    Analysis of the cultures, audiences and fan bases of popular Esports, as well as virtual communities and the practical ethics of creating games and playing them.

  • Certificate

    A Certificate of Learning in Korean Gaming Business & Culture

Location & Culture

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This “city that never sleeps” is famous for K-pop, good food, super-fast internet, and trendy fashion.

It’s hard to think of a better place to study games and gaming culture. Seoul’s Esports arenas pack in spectators by the thousands, and pro-gamers are treated like celebrities! Televised Esports competitions and pro-gaming tournaments draw in some 10 million regular viewers. From StarCraft and League of Legends to Overwatch and DOTA, many of the most popular games are created right here. Gamers come from all around to visit PC bangs, cat cafes or legendary places like Video Game Alley.

The World Cyber Games (WCG), established in South Korea in 2000, is considered the Olympics of the online gaming world. The government takes gaming very seriously, funding stadiums and venues for professional competitions. What’s more, Esports is an official member of the South Korean Olympic Committee.

Seoul is a city that embraces both a modern and traditional way of life. You’ll find historic palaces and peaceful Buddhist temples juxtaposed with extreme skyscrapers and neon lit entertainment, 24/7. Seoul is a city that never sleeps!

Seoul is a food lover’s city, too, so bring your appetite! Did you know that a typical Korean meal comes with seven or eight separate side dishes? And free refills to boot. Favorite foods include dumplings and noodles, bibimbap, and barbeque.

Daily Life

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Daily Life

Learn more about daily life on a high school study abroad program.

View the Program Blog

  • Housing

    Dorm Rooms

  • Local Support

    Local Coordinator in country and CIEE support staff available 24/7


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Sample Activities

  • Venture into whole new worlds in virtual reality parks
  • Build your own cartoon character at the Seoul Animation Center
  • Pay tribute to pro-gamer celebrities at the Esports Hall of Fame
  • Meet “casters” (game commentators) and visit Esport team houses
  • Test your reflexes and have some fun at table-top gaming nights
  • Step back in time at royal palaces and shrines
  • Take dance and cooking classes with Korean peers

Excursions Include

  • Spend a relaxing day on Nami Island, an eco-friendly development and popular film site with walking and biking trails.

Download a sample itinerary ›
Please note this list of activities is based on past programs and subject to change at CIEE's discretion to both adapt to local circumstances, covid-related measures and restrictions and participant feedback. Our goal when revising itineraries is always to enhance your experience. Every activity is designed to provide you with a deep immersion in your topic, local culture and sights. Get ready for maximum fun!

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