2019 Seoul International School Guide
How to Choose the Right International School in Korea
Picking the right international school for your child can be a difficult task, nevermore so than when you’ve just started your adventure into a new country. Living abroad gives you a multitude of benefits, but also some challenges that you will need to face as a parent. Thankfully, in Korea, education is a top priority for the vast majority of parents and students. There are a great deal of resources available for the advancement of children’s education, some of which are specifically geared towards expat children. International schools, for one, are immensely popular among expat families.
However, before you can choose the best school for your child, there are all kinds of information that you will have to seek out that you wouldn’t normally have to in your home country, including on: curriculum, tuition, campus and networks, and applying.
One of the great things about international schooling in Korea is the fact that there is a great variety of curriculums offered. This is critical when choosing schools because, as a parent, it is vital to think about which curriculum will best match with the long-term plans you have for your children.
For example, if you are American and you plan on returning with your family to the U.S. at some point, then you might want to find an international school that offers an American curriculum and Advanced Placement (AP) courses. The same goes for the Australian and British curriculums offered as well as Japanese, Chinese, and German. At those schools, your son or daughter would also be able to learn the language, most likely in an immersive setting.
Additionally, you could consider International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes being offered by certified schools as a way for your child to earn qualifications that are internationally accepted by the education community as a whole.
International School Tuition
With great education comes with the occasional great cost. However, you should find international schools to be affordable, especially compared to most Western countries’ private school tuitions, as well as matching the level of excellent educational services being provided.
It depends on the school, but most international schools will have a cost range between $15,000 and $35,000 per year. It can also depend on the grade level, with some schools charging higher fees for the higher grade levels. This could be because of increased college preparation and college counseling as well as added extracurriculars.
Boarding School Tuition
Boarding schools, will also be on the higher end range. However, they will provide additional services like dorm rooms, shuttle and bus services, meals, and camps.
In addition to regular yearly tuition, many schools will have extra fees that cover things like entrance fee, textbooks, registration fee, bus and technology fees, extracurriculars, camps, counseling, and more. Some of those fees are optional. The majority of the mandatory fees will be requested up front by the schools.
Campuses and Networks:
One of the great things about international schools is that once you become a part of the school, both you, as a parent, and your child will have a social network to use extensively while living in Korea. Most international school will have extracurriculars and clubs available for after school and on the weekends, making them excellent opportunities to interact with other expat families living in Korea. Parents and other children at the school will have experience living abroad and will be able to offer advice on how to best transition into a new life in Korea.
Moreover, many of the teachers and staff at the schools will have extensive experience helping their students adjust to living abroad, both in the academic and social sense. They will be there to have meetings with parents and to offer advice on a range of issues.
In boarding schools, this is even truer, with certain staff members’ duties being dedicated to staying in contact with parents, helping transition their students into their new school, and offering all kinds of help on a range of daily and long-term issues.
Because of the popularity of most international schools and depending on when you apply, you may have to be placed on a waitlist. Most schools begin taking applications in September or October, review them for a few months, and then get back to you by February or March. Because most have a first-come, first-serve policy, it is strongly encouraged that you apply as soon early as possible.
However, don’t let that deter you from applying or getting in touch with the school. They will be better able to let you know about your child’s chances of getting in and how long the waitlist is.
You can also get in contact in advance for assistance with the application itself. The application can sometimes be extensive, especially for older students who may need to write a personal essay or statement. You’ll also have to provide ID verification and may need to send it documentation like copies of passports or birth certificates, transcripts, letters of recommendations from teachers, and more. Most schools with have an application fee attached to the process.
A Few Final Tips:
Ultimately, one of the most important things you can do is planning in advance which school you want to enroll your child and getting a jumpstart on the application process.
Getting in contact with previous students is also a great way to get a better scope of the school’s academic programs. Some schools have parents and former (and current) students who have provided the staff with their contact information specifically for that purpose. You can ask to speak with them over Skype if you’re not living in Korea when you begin the application process.
Finally, take a tour of the school if possible. It might be a little difficult since you and your family may not be in-country, but one of the best ways to get a feel for the school is going there in person and taking a tour. You can even have fun with it and use it as an opportunity to explore the city you’re in!
List of International Schools in Seoul
Dulwich College Seoul: Tel 02 3015 8500, 6 Sinbanpo-ro 15-gil, Banpo-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul.
Seoul Foreign School: Tel 02 330 3100, 39 Yeonhui-ro 22-gil, Yeonhui-dong, Seodaemun-gu,Seoul.
Dwight School Seoul: Tel 02 6920 8600, 21 Worldcup buk-ro 62-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul.
Korea Foreign School: Tel 02 571 2917, 7-16 Nambusunhwan-ro 364-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul.
Yongsan International School of Seoul: Tel: 02 797 5104, 285 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul.
Kent Foreign Seoul: Tel 02 2201 7091, 13 Jayangro 35-gil, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul.
Asia Pacific International School: Tel: 02 907 2747, 57 Wolgye-ro 45gil, Nowon-gu, Seoul.
List of International Schools in Gyeonggido
Seoul International School: Tel 031 750 1200, 15 Seongnam-daero 1518, Sujeong-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea.
Korea International School: Tel 031 789 0509, 27 Daewangpangyo-ro, 385gil, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggido, Korea.
Gyoenggi Suwon International School: Tel 031 695 2800, 451 YeongTong-ro, Suwon-si, Gyeonggido, Korea.
Nice article! Do you offer school consultation?