Best international schools in South Korea – that will be the topic of today’s article.
Before introducing this article, if you are interested in our core services which are expat financial, insurance and mortgages, you can contact me here.
The best time to consider your financial situation is when you are moving to a new country.
The Republic of Korea (unofficially – South Korea) is located in the eastern part of Asia, washed by the Yellow, Japanese and East China Seas, has a strong economy focused on the production of high-tech products. The main cultural, financial, scientific, political center and capital of the country is Seoul, which is in the TOP-5 of the richest cities in the world, ahead of such European cities as London and Paris.
The population of South Korea is 51.3 million people. Moreover, more than 99% identify themselves as ethnic Koreans. In addition, several tens of thousands of Chinese live here. Other major diasporas include the Vietnamese, Thais, and Filipinos.
Pros and cons of living in South Korea
South Korea is one of the most developed and successful countries in Asia. Thanks to the economic achievements of the state, Korean citizens can boast of a high standard of living and general well-being. Of course, life in South Korea also has its drawbacks. Let’s highlight the positive and negative aspects of living in Korean territory.
The pros of living in South Korea
- South Korea is a beautiful country with a comfortable climate and a low crime rate.
- Investing and doing business in South Korea is very profitable, which is confirmed by the 5th place in the well-known rating of the Doing Business agency.
- The country hosts a lot of bright festivals and large-scale sports events, where you can have an interesting and fun time.
- Korea’s infrastructure is nearly perfect, with free Wi-Fi and many other cutting-edge technologies available everywhere.
- As a rule, the locals are friendly to foreigners and speak good English.
The cons of living in South Korea
- Living in South Korea is quite expensive.
- It is very difficult to find comfortable housing within the city limits.
- Korean is hard to learn.
- Working in South Korea, including the schedule and corporate culture, is not suitable for all foreigners.
- Despite significant progress in establishing peaceful relations with neighboring North Korea, the risk of escalating tensions still exists.
Tax rates in South Korea in 2021
Corporate income tax:
- Turnover up to 200 million won – 10%.
- Turnover from 200 million to 20 billion won – 20 million, plus 20% of the amount over 200 million won.
- Turnover from 20 billion to 30 billion won – 3.98 billion, plus 22% of over 20 billion won.
- Turnover over 30 billion won – 65.58 billion, plus 25% of over 30 billion.
Dividends (interest, royalties) – 22%
Real estate tax – from 0.24 to 0.6%
- Annual income up to 12 million won – 6%.
- Annual income of 12 million to 46 million won – 720 thousand won, plus 15% of the amount over 12 million.
- Annual income of 46 million to 88 million won – 5.82 million won, plus 24% of over 46 million won.
- Annual income between 88 million won and 150 million won – 15.9 million won, plus 35% of over 88 million won.
- Annual income of 150 million to 300 million won – 37.6 million won, plus 38% of over 150 million won.
- Annual income of 300 million to 500 million won – 94.6 million won, plus 40% of over 300 million won.
- Annual income over 500 million won – 170.6 million won, plus 42% of over 500 million won.
Work and salary in South Korea
For employment in Seoul and other major cities in South Korea, a foreigner must first obtain a work visa. Depending on the specialization of the applicant and the vacancy, the country’s immigration system has 9 types of visas that allow you to work or do business. The most in-demand professions in South Korea are related to the automotive, IT, shipbuilding, finance and electronics industries.
The national minimum wage in South Korea in 2021 is 8,720 won per hour, which is the equivalent of 6.5 euros. For full-time employment, a Korean worker must earn at least 1,822,480 won (approximately € 1,345) monthly. According to the Korea Economic Research Institute and Statistics of the local Ministry of Employment and Labor, the average salary in South Korea is 48,040,020 won per year (about 35,095 euros).
Medicine in South Korea
South Korea has built one of the most efficient, quality, and versatile healthcare systems in the world. Funding comes from the mandatory National Health Insurance Scheme, which covers about 97% of the population. Basic services are provided free of charge to both Koreans and foreigners permanently residing in South Korea. Patients can choose between the Western model of medicine or the traditional Eastern methods of treatment.
In conclusion, we note that the average life expectancy at birth in South Korea in 2021 is 82.5 years, while women live about 85.8 years, and men 79.3.
Higher education in South Korea
South Korea’s economic success was achieved largely thanks to qualified specialists who received a good education in local universities. Currently, there are more than 370 higher educational institutions – universities and colleges in the country. The main language of instruction is Korean, but many programs are taught in English, in particular master’s.
In the prestigious international ranking QS World University Rankings 2021, 30 South Korean universities are represented, while the TOP-100 includes 5 higher educational institutions. The best are Seoul National University, Korea Institute of Advanced Technology, and Pohang University of Science and Technology. The average cost of education in South Korea is about 4-9.5 thousand dollars per year.
Between, afterwards we will mainly talk about education in South Korea, more precisely about the best international schools that expats can trust and send their kids there for a good education.
International schools in South Korea
As with many other countries in Asia, South Korea’s education system is known for its strengths. Students regularly perform above average in all areas, especially math and science. You will be delighted to know that international schools in Seoul meet or exceed these standards.
South Korea offers expats a well-developed international education system for their children. An international school in South Korea is a good option for expats who want to keep their children in the international education system while living and working abroad.
As a rule, international schools have a high quality of teaching and the price is, accordingly, more expensive than in a Korean school. International private primary school tuition costs around 5,000 euros per year, with an increase to around 6,500 euros for a secondary school, and in addition, the entry fee is around 1,000 euros.
International schools are located in all major cities in South Korea, but the most famous and reputable ones are located in the capital of the country, Seoul. The upmarket Gangnam area – yes, the same Gangnam that PSY sings about – has a group of top schools. The rest are scattered throughout Gyeonggi, its surroundings, and the city itself.
Seoul’s international schools are dominated by American, British, and international curricullum. Naturally, this means that English is the language of instruction almost everywhere. If your child attended a school that does not teach English, they may be required to take an English proficiency test as part of the application process.
There are also several schools offering European curricula with relevant languages (eg French curriculum taught in French). Learning Korean is optional, but in all cases it is offered as an additional language. Mandarin is also often offered.
Applications for admission to international schools in Seoul are accepted on a first come, first served basis. Your child must meet the criteria set at the government level, but don’t worry! There is nothing crazy about this and it is standard in many parts of the world. Some schools also have their own additional criteria, but again, this is not a cause for concern.
And you don’t need us to tell you this, but the sooner you apply to your chosen international school, the better.
A day at an international school in Seoul starts at 8 am and lasts until about 3-4 pm. When lessons are over, your child has extensive extracurricular activities. The sport is especially popular in Seoul; many international schools have excellent outdoor sports facilities.
However, you can expect all the usual bells and whistles other than all-weather fields. Admittedly, the high price you will pay to educate your child at an international school in Seoul will include daily freshly-prepared hot meals. In some cases, you can even take a private bus to and from the surrounding areas of the city for your child.
Native English teachers are standard as they are much smaller than average. Even the international schools with the largest class size will have less than 20 students.
At the opposite end of the scale, the smallest international schools will continue to have small classes and very diverse enrollment. You will find at least 10-20 students from different countries. In larger schools, the number of nationalities will be double or more.
International schools in Seoul are often guided by a Christian spirit. This can include mandatory uniforms and somewhat stringent codes of conduct. However, if this isn’t yours, don’t worry. Seoul has a large selection of schools and you are sure to find a school that is perfect for you and your child.
Below you will find the overviews of some best international schools in Seoul. However, there are 17 more schools in the city. You can find the best international school for your child by personalizing the results.
Requirements for candidates
For admission to one of the international schools in South Korea, international students usually need to provide the following:
- Completed application form (provided by the international school)
- Proof of eligibility for admission to a foreign school in Korea
- Copies of relevant forms from schools attended in the past two years. (If the forms are in any language other than English, a translated version is required.)
- Reference letter from a recent teacher
- Photocopy of the main page of the passport
- Most recent test scores (usually English, math and science) for 2nd to 9th grade students only
- Two full pages of original written work (in English) from recent school assignments, verified by the signature of a school official.
- The last two math assignments or test scores
- Medical forms
- Entry and registration fees
Some international schools also require entrance tests for prospective students in grades 1-9. The entrance test includes interviews, reading, writing and math tests.
Most international schools accept applications during the year, but the system operates on a first come, first served basis (among other criteria). The best option is to apply as early as possible, before the start of the school year. British, European and American systems have different timetables, be sure to check the relevant timelines before applying.
Choosing an international school
Choosing an international school for your children is never an easy decision. When deciding to send your children to an international institution in another country, there are several important factors to consider: your child’s level of English, educational level, educational system in your original country, educational level, school location and length of stay. These factors can vary from one foreigner to another and influence the choice of an international school.
Below is a list of some of the top international schools in South Korea:
Korean International School (KIS)
The Korea International School offers students on Hong Kong Island an alternative to the IB program, offering UK A-level education.
While the Korea International School (KIS) was founded in 1960 with just six students to meet the needs of the Korean community in Hong Kong, today it offers both Korean and international flow to the international student community. The international section is significantly larger: 400 students compared to 110.
The International Section of KIS offers British-style training for the English speaking community in Hong Kong. Tuition is based on the UK Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) at admission and later on the Cambridge International Primary Program for students in grades 1-13; Students take IGCSE exams in grade 10 and A Level exams in grade 13. The school has a decent academic record; in 2017, 74% of all IGCSE grades were A * – C and over 50% of A Level grades were A * – C. Most of the students here go on to university in the UK, followed by Hong Kong or the United States.
The languages offered are Chinese and Korean; high school has a BYOD program; and KIS offers a variety of extracurricular activities, sports clubs, environmental initiatives and charitable projects outside of educational institutions.
Amenities on campus at Sai Van Ho (which is close to Delia Canadian School) include a recently renovated library with an extensive collection of Chinese, Spanish and Korean books. Fees range from HK $ 100,900 per year 1 to HK $ 112,300 per year 13.
Yongsan International School of Seoul (YISS)
Conveniently located in the heart of Seoul, YISS is a diverse K-12 community with more than 960 students in over 50 countries. YISS is fully accredited by WASC and the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI).
The Yongsan International School of Seoul (YISS) is a K-12 private school in downtown Seoul offering an American curriculum to the international community. They welcome families and students of all religions and worldviews from over 50 countries, providing a rich multicultural experience based on the values of truth, excellence and diversity.
In this supportive environment, the pursuit of individual student success is supported by a team of highly qualified, passionate Christian teachers and staff who inspire a love of learning and unleash the potential of each student to achieve goals. Located in the heart of Seoul, our state-of-the-art campus fosters learning by creating a safe educational environment conducive to research.
Studying at YISS is an exceptional educational experience that empowers students and prepares them for success in college and beyond, anywhere in the world.
Dulwich College Seoul
This is a new school located in the central Seocho District. 600 students from toddlers to 13-year-olds (24 months to 18 years).
Dulwich College is one of the oldest independent schools in the UK, founded in South London as a boys’ school in 1619. Dulwich International College (DCI) was founded to provide Dulwich education to students around the world and is now one of the fastest growing schools. UK Independent School Networks.
Dulwich College Seoul offers exemplary, British-style international education for 700 international students aged 4 to 18 from over 40 different countries. The curriculum is in line with best practice in the Early Childhood Foundation and the National English Curriculum.
Through our accreditation of the Cambridge International Exam (CIE), they offer the IGCSE program, and its status as an International Baccalaureate School allows students to continue their studies with the IB Diploma program. The college is accredited by the International Schools Council (CIS) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
The campus is located on a specially designed urban campus south of the Han River in the central Socho district. The campus has outdoor playgrounds, an all-weather sports field, a five-a-side football pitch, as well as an indoor gym, and a 25-meter indoor pool.
Services also include a 250-seat auditorium, a black box theater, dance studio, self-contained suites with music rooms, two fully stocked learning resource centers and libraries, science labs, an open rope course, food technology cabinet, art, and design workshops. and a stove room.
Seoul InternationalSchool (SIS)
Accredited by the WesternAssociationofSchoolsofColleges (WASC), the school provides students with a challenging American curriculum and boasts state-of-the-art amenities.
Seoul International School (SIS) is an academic institution that aims to provide a sophisticated curriculum in the United States to meet the primary and secondary education needs of international students living in Seoul, Korea. The school is committed to the arts, humanities, and sciences as the best preparation for higher education, service to humanity, and lifelong learning in their rapidly changing world.
They efforts are aimed at maximizing the intellectual, creative, moral, physical, and emotional abilities of students in collaboration with parents and the world community. SIS strives to offer a wide range of educational programs, both educational and complementary, in a safe, orderly and supportive environment.
Seoul International School develops inquisitive, independent thinkers and cooperative students who acquire the necessary knowledge to be caring and creative participants in the world around them.
Seoul International School, conveniently located south of Seoul, provides a safe and secure learning environment for your child. Significant and constant updates keep us up to date with the ever-changing needs of their curriculum. The current campus is spread over three buildings that include a swimming pool, three gyms, a state-of-the-art auditorium, an atrium, music and music rooms, fully equipped science labs, state-of-the-art classrooms, and more.
Taejon Christian International School (TCIS)
The school is currently a K-12 school with about 600 students. Located next to Korea’s main research area, the school has a state-of-the-art high school building with high-speed wireless Internet access.
One of the first things that stands out at TCIS is the combination of top-notch scientists and the spirit of the Christian community. TCIS is one of the few schools in the world to offer all three IB programs in a Christian context. TCIS was the forerunner of IB’s investment in South Korea, becoming the first school in the country to offer all three programs.
Each year, students are distinguished by their academic excellence, athletic performance, visual and performing arts, and compassion to serve the needs of their fellows. Using educational excellence and preaching love and hope, they work to educate internationally capable students who are competent, compassionate and strong leaders.
For families living outside of Daejeon and Korea, TCIS offers an on-campus residency program. Students thrive here, it is more than just a place to live, they grow in personal character and responsibility. There are many benefits to being a TCIS Boarding Care member. In fact, they had local families who allowed their children to enter a boarding program to reap the benefits and experience of preparing for university life right now, in a safe and manageable way.