Our Colombian friend David Millán studied an exchange year in Seoul, South Korea with a scholarship that covered the round-trip flight and the maintenance costs throughout the year.
In this post he tells us everything we need to know if we want to have the same experience. We will see what are the main characteristics of both the university and the scholarship, eligibility and funding, which is the application process, how was David’s experience, his conclusions and recommendations.
If you love to travel and do it with a purpose I recommend you to check in the blog the following sections where you can find more experiences in which you can participate!
Also, you can find applications for scholarships, internships, job positions, volunteer projects, contests, entrepreneurial support and virtual courses in the Scholarship Finder!
- Type of program: exchange year
- Location: Seoul, South Korea
- University: Sungkyunkwan University
- Scholarship: Programa de Becados Extranjeros Invitados por el Gobierno Coreano (KGSP)
- For the university:
- Scores greater than 3.7 out of 5.
- Comply with a minimum level of English (B1 according to the European Common Framework)
- Proof of sufficient funds for maintenance
- For the scholarship:
- Nationality: belong to a country with diplomatic relations with Korea.
- Translate to Korean and apostille the following documents: certificate of qualifications, result of the English test, motivation letter and references
my exchange was 1 year but government scholarships cover the full duration of undergraduate and graduate programs
- Application Fee: non
I had to pay the semesters of my university in Colombia (La Javeriana). The scholarship covered air tickets and maintenance costs throughout the exchange year.
2. Application Process
a. For the university in South Korea
- Contact the international affairs office at the home university and communicate interest in the exchange in South Korea.
- Fill out the form and choose a university in South Korea.
- Send documents:
- Ratings greater than 3.7 out of 5.
- Comply with a minimum level of English (B1 according to the European. Common Framework)
- Support of sufficient funds for maintenance.
b. For the scholarship
The invitation to apply for the scholarship was offered by the Korean university once I was accepted in the exchange.
To win the scholarship I had to officially translate to Korean and apostille the following documents:
- Certificate of qualifications
- English test results
- Motivation letter
3. My Experience
I had fallen in love with a South Korean girl the previous year when I traveled to London to improve my English. After several months of maintaining a long distance relationship, I decided that the best option would be to do an exchange year in her country to get back together without falling behind in my studies.
It required effort because to be elegible to make the exchange I had to fulfill all the previously mentioned requirements. So I studied judiciously to fulfill them.
In the end my average score was above 4 and I did the First Certificate of English, an international English test that assessed my level of proficiency in that language.
I was very lucky because during those moments we were going through a difficult economic situation in my house. The bank statements of my parents did not support that I could maintain myself in Korea as an exchange student but I still presented them along with the other documents required.
For my good fortune the university in Korea not only accepted me in their study program but also chose me to apply for the scholarship.
The Korean government chose me and 7 other students out of more than 200 exchange students to apply for a scholarship that would cover our air tickets and maintenance costs throughout the exchange year.
Of those 8 people who had chosen, they would only give the scholarship to those who complied with the required information and send it along with their official translation and apostille.
In the end I got the scholarship. I reunited with my girlfriend and also traveled to China, the Philippines and other cities in Korea with the savings I made in Colombia, thinking initially that I would have to pay for my own expenses.
The exchange was in Seoul, Korea. An incredible city for several reasons:
- It has many mountains.
- It is high technologically advanced.
- Food is delicious.
- It is very active: several festivals and events in general.
- The culture is fascinating
c. General Opinion
- Participating on a study exchange helps you improve your English and learn a new language.
- The scholarship helped me to focus on learning, enjoying my time in Korea and developing great friendships.
- This was an experience that helped me grow personally, academically and professionally, and that opened new doors to greater opportunities around the world.
- Having won this scholarship was a milestone to later win three more scholarships and get a job with a large multinational.
- If you’re not very good with spicy food, it can be difficult at the beginning to get used to Korean food but it’s just a matter of time. In the end I wanted to put Kimchi to all my meals.
- Try to bring some money and make a budget so you can travel on weekends or holidays. In this way you will not have to later worry about generating income to give yourself this kind of treats.
- The summer course was an spectacular experience and I recommend it 100%. As an exchange student who leaves the spring semester and finishes in the fall you don’t have to pay for it and you can also validate some subjects for your university.
- When you arrive in Korea, go to the embassy of your country and register your personal information so that you receive invitations to cultural events of your country in Korea. In the events you can meet very interesting people and expand your contacts network.
About the scholarships:
- Keep in mind that scholarships are opportunities that many Latin Americans have thanks to cooperation agreements between our countries and others more developed.
- To win an scholarship it is not only about having good grades, but also knowing how to sell yourself and truly commit to grow ourselves.
- This is a process that takes time and dedication. But once you win the first scholarship, it becomes easier to earn more.
Are you interested in finding opportunities to go abroad? In the Scholarships Finder you can find a wide list of scholarships, work opportunities, volunteer projects, contests, entrepreneurial support, and virtual courses!
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