What every incoming KGSP should take note before coming to Korea.

This is a letter filled with stories of regrets and/or disappointments which would hopefully serve as an advice to our 후배들.

Dear incoming KGSP student,

Congratulations! You must be very excited for your (first) trip to Korea. I was very excited too before and boy, sure time flies fast – it’s almost a year since I arrived here for the Korean Intensive Language Program.

If you don’t know a single Hangul (Korean writing system), don’t worry – you have 80% chance to pass the required TOPIK level 3 exam during the one year training. However, passing the TOPIK 3 exam isn’t equivalent with good Korean speaking skills, but it is enough for you to understand what is happening around you (i.e. how to order a food in a restaurant, send a letter to your friends’ back home, or purchase something online and return it if there was any mistake with your order).

Here in Jeonju University, we used Yonsei’s Korean Language Book. The first few levels have English translations on it, but on the higher levels (level 3 – above) they won’t provide translations for the vocabulary or grammar explanations. Most of my friends here doesn’t know what to do with their Korean books now (level 1-level 4) so if you want to get used books for free or at a cheaper price, because the entire set of books are really expensive, just write down a comment below.

Anyway, our language program ended weeks ago. Some of my friends went back to their hometown but most of us chose to stay here and prepare and process documents for course registration and visa application.

You see, unlike you, there wasn’t anyone who warned us about dealing certain issues re: gradschool accommodation, D2 visa application, nor what kind of classes should we expect in grad school.

For the past few weeks, I have been hearing lots of complaints and worried stories from my friends. You might think that it’s too early for you to think about these things because you still have a year to prepare for it; but seriously, you need to prepare some of these before you leave your country.

Memo to self :)

Memo to self 🙂

1. Official documents are preferred in the Korean language plus a stamp from your embassy (not in Korea) or an apostilleThese documents can be  your certificate of graduation, your transcript of records, etc. Most of my friends who came from non-English speaking countries (i.e. Dominican Republic, Italy, Bulgaria, Argentina, Myanmar) had a hard time because of these. They only had a few weeks left to process all these and these things takes a lot of time, fyi.

2. Take note of your universities’ dormitory application. Some schools are kind enough to do everything for you [standing ovation for Kangwon National University 😉 ] ;however, most universities do not give special treatment to graduate students even if you’re a government scholar. This year, almost all of my friends who will transfer to Seoul National University didn’t get a room in the dormitory so they’re having difficulties finding accommodation now.

Well, getting a place in Korea is relatively easy. All you have to do is go to a 부동산 (read: Budongsan) and they’ll help you get one legally. The bad thing here is that, if in case you’d like to get a 원룸 (read: wor-rum) for yourself. You have to prepare at least 2 million won for the deposit 보증금 (read: Bo-jeung-geum) and will have to pay for the place for around 300~400 thousand won per month. Electricity and gas bills are excluded. So, we’re talking about millions of won here and well, you should start saving on your first month here to avoid that. Or just apply for the dormitory early.

Another option is to get a room in NIIED dormitory. They said it’s cheap. I haven’t been there but i think it’s a good choice if your uni is within the said location. My friend wasn’t able to get any from these three options so she had to apply for a homestay which will cost her as much as 500 thousand won a month!

3. The language program is not solely for TOPIK (well 99% maybe). You see, i stopped studying Korean after passing TOPIK level three during my first 6 months in Jeonju. I started in level two and passed it on the middle of my level three term. If only I knew back then that all my classes in grad school will be in Korean I should’ve given more effort instead of lazying around. Take note that these Korean skill that you will master for a year should be enough for you to understand visa application process, dorm registration, course registration, making a contract for a one room, reading course syllabus and actually, surviving “real korea”.

A mere annyeonghaseyo will not help you survive during your preparation for grad school. So, just enjoy and learn the language. It really feels good once you’ve accomplished everything on your own 🙂

4. Leave your insecurities and bring some happy aura from your country. Some of my friends say they really don’t know how to dance in their country or they’re the shy types, but hey no one here knows about that from you. Being in Korea, on your own, means giving you an opportunity to improve yourself and dwell harmoniously with people around the world! I’m so thankful to have gain lots of friends where I can talk about almost anything here in Korea. And oh, yes, some of my friends ended up as couples here ♥ Ain’t that sweet and romantic? 😉

5. Embrace Korea. Its people, history, language, and culture. Be the polite 외국인 foreigner. Korea is such a lovely place to begin with. There may be some cultural differences but later on you will understand why they don’t say sorry when they run over you at the subway, etc.

So far, these are the things I can think of ♥ I’ll see some of you guys next week. I hope my letter will be of good help to everyone.

Melanie ♥

PS. I’m done with my course registration and visa application, and so far I didn’t have any problems with it. All thanks to Kangwon National University International Office Staff for doing almost everything for us – even the dormitory application. I can’t wait to move 😉


124 thoughts on “What every incoming KGSP should take note before coming to Korea.

    • Hi! Thanks for reading my blog! By the way these are used books. You will still need to buy a new workbook because the teachers often make it as your homework 🙂 when will you arrive here in korea?

      • Hi! I will arrive in Korea on 26 August. I will study Hangeul at Chungnam National University. I will write you my address once I settle down in the dorm. 😀

      • Now, i didn’t expect that reply. Haha. I thought you were someone going to Jeonju. If I’ll send it to you it will cost a lot because theyre heavy x.x so, i’m so sorry about that ~~~ have a safe trip coming to Korea tho! 😉

  1. Hello!
    I enjoyed reading this even though I quite expected some of things… I’ll apply for this scholarship next year, and there so many things I’ve heard from a friend who’s there in Jeonju, but at the same time I guess everyone has different POV and other advices that might be helpful for me. It’s really nice that you’re letting other people know about it.

    • Hi Melissa! You must be sheyla’s friend, no? 😉 I’m grateful that you liked it 🙂 The scholarship program usually starts on January until March, so it’s better if you prepare the necessary documents now ♥ And yes, all experiences will always differ from one person to another, i just hope that everyone who will be part of this scholarship will have good memories ♥ Good luck for next year! ^^

      • Thanks Melanie. Yeah, I’m Sheyla’s friend. Actually, I’m already studying because I don’t think I would even make it to level 1 right now hahaha. By the way, I was quite surprise when Shey told me that you guys will have classes in Korean for the masters program. I wish you good luck 😀

  2. Hello again!! Gosh, I really love your posts… so useful, funny, informative and inspiring at the same time!! I would also like to “apply” for a set of used books, whether free or cheap is fine to me. I will arrive to Jeonju on the 28th -my goshhh time FLIES! Another question… do we have to bring blankets to the dormitory? I know most Koreans don’t really use blankets but given that it’s a dormitory for international students, I thought they may have some, at least to purchase :S Am I totally wrong? Hope to hear from you soon! Oh and… I took the liberty to send you a Facebook friend request :S hope it doesn’t bother you!

    Best regards! 😀


    • Hi nelly 🙂 thanks!♥ Jeonju Star tower isn’t solely for foreigners. During my stay I opted for a Korean roommate rather than a kgsp fellow – somehow, they actually helped me with my Korean 🙂 However, it’s not always the case with others but still it’s a good chance to practice – rant about your day to her in korean, or watch dramas together ♥

      About the dormitory stuff, they’ll provide a bed sheet, a blanket, and a pillow. During winter, they also provide comforters. So there’s no need to buy and stuff it in your luggage 😉

      I think i’ll still be here on the 28th! Drop me a message by then, i’d be glad to personally hand over the books 🙂

      • Awesome! and thanks a lot again, my luggage is already HUGE, I was getting used to the idea of buying blankets in Korea. I’d love to receive the books directly from you! And so that you won’t be too surprised, I will probably be speaking a horrible english, because I haven’t practiced for a while 😦

        See you soon! 😀

  3. Hello about the korean undergraduate scholarship, am insterested. Pls culd u direct me or shud i say guide me on how to go about that am a novice in that aspect.tnx looking forward to ur reply

  4. Hi! I’m a Filipino and I want to take my Master’s Degree in KOrea. And I want to apply for KGSP. What are the things that they consider when choosing a KGSP scholar? Any tip? Thanks in Advance, BTW, I also send a message to you on your facebook acct.

  5. Thanks for your post! I will apply for the schoolarship on the next call I am already preparing the documents… About what you said regading the translations, Should I translate everything to Korean or English will be enough? By the way im from Argentina, I was about to translate the documents into English but now Im not so sure abt what I should do…

    Another thing… do you know which are the Universities they send you for the first year? I read there are 7 options so I guess Jeongju Univ. is one of them… This is not important so dont worry if you dont know, Im just curious… Bye Bye Martina

  6. Hii dear :D, I really like your post! it’s useful and fun to read. If I may ask, do you think for me who really zero about korean language, have the same chance with them who can speak in korean to get KGSP? I intend to apply for next year kgsp.. thanks 😉

    • Hello veronica 🙂 Here’s a short story. 80% from my batch in Jeonju University didn’t know the Korean language when we arrived in Korea. Although most of them failed the first TOPIK test, during the second one, many of them were able to move to the university. Now, I think almost everyone are going to be in the graduate program this March. So yeah. No fret on that 🙂 But of course, it is still better if you know a little 🙂

  7. Hi! Can you tell me what are the locations for the Korean language institutions? I know that there are 12 language schools which are partnered with the KGSP, but I have yet to find where they are located. I am just curious where I might be spending my first year in South Korea.

    • Hi Jacob! Unfortunately, NIEED doesn’t inform us either which schools will be assigned as language institutions. During our time there were only 4 schools. These are Jeonju University, SKKU, Keimyoung University, and Inha University. Perhaps you can assume for these schools to be on the list. That’s all I can tell you. Good luck 🙂

  8. Hi , thanks for this letter
    I just want two know more about the acomodation. I have sead the guideline that the program gives you a certain amount of money every month right? or they provide acomodation + that amount of money?i have so much questions and i would be very grateful if you reply

    • Hi nina! the scholarship gives you 900,000won as living expenses. from this amount, you will have to deduct your accommodation payment, food, etc. Good luck 🙂

  9. Hi Melanie,
    If you don’t mind, how were you notified that you passed the 1st screening? Did you get an email from KNU or you had to wait for the result of the second screening done by NIEED? My friend and I applied to different universities and we both did not get any reply. I tried to follow-up but did not get a reply either.
    Thanks in advance,

    • Hi Jemma, I applied via university at KNU, and I didn’t get any notifications re: 1st screening. Wait for the 2nd selection result from NIEED 🙂 Good luck!

  10. Hi Melanie,
    Thanks for your post..It is really useful :)..I was wondering if kgsp scholars are allowed to avail of the( language center) universities’ sports/other recreational facilities or are they only restricted to the language course ?

    • Yes you may. But it might vary from school to school. Also, during your language course, you are required to take cultural classes such as calligraphy, taekwondo, etc. If you are referring to facilities like the gym, some dormitories have gym on the basement and it is for free. Some schools also have a separate fitness gym but you have to pay monthly 🙂

  11. hi Melanie ! thanks for all info its been very useful really! ! , )) . I have been notified today that I have passed the last selection (health check) and I’m having my language course in jeonju . I would like to know if you have to register or something to get a dorm in the university . I am aware that if I pass the language year I will have to apply for it in the uni. where you do your master course (i will attend yonsei) but nobody said anything about the university where you do the language year .
    Also, like the person before me asked what kind of activities do you have in jeonju univ. like sports or idk ..

    thank u thanku for your posts! ur great! :))

    • Hi Victoria! Jeonju university wil send you an e-mail about dorm application. Basically, they will just ask whether you want a foreign student for a roommate or a Korean. During my time, they have been sending us many updates before we arrived in Korea. You can also send them an e-mail of you have questions. I’m not sure if this is an official FB page of Jeonju University’s International office, but I do know who manages this page.

      During my time, I had taekwondo and calligraphy classes. We also had a few trips around town. It was their first time to handle many students so it wasn’t that spectacular (HAHA). Maybe now they’re better at handling foreigners. Good luck and I hope to seeing you soon here in Korea 🙂

  12. Hello Melanie,

    Thanks for all the information! Have been searching high and low for KGSP’s relevant information! There isn’t much information about KGSP other than those official ones. Your blog is like a gem to clueless people like me! Haha

    I would be heading to Jeonju Uni this coming August for my language programme as well!

    Regarding the first point about official documents, roughly how many copies of official documents should we prepare? D2 visa is settled in our home country….and updating it to D4 is done in the immigration office in Korea, right?

    Also, may I know whether Jeonju Uni is still using Yonsei’s textbooks? I know you’ve been away from Jeonju University for quite some time…but is there any way of finding out? Cause my friends used to study in Yonsei so I was thinking of getting those texbooks from them 😀

    Thanks a bunch! ♡


    • Hi Nyla! Thank you so much for your enthusiastic comment! Haha. Nope.

      During your language course, you will have D4 visa (training visa). After you are done with your language course, you need to change it to D2 visa (student visa). Changing visa status to D2 is done here in Korea. What I was trying to explain in this blog post is that you need to prepare all the documents that you need from your country so that you won’t have a tough time acquiring it when you are here in korea when the time comes that it is needed. About the number of copies, probably three to be safe. One for you. One for your language institute/university. One for the immigration. But it’s too much. As long as you have a copy of it, it’s sufficient, I guess.

      About the books, maybe you can stalk other KGSP scholars in Jeonju and ask if you could have them…for free ㅋㅋㅋ

  13. Hi Melanie! Thanks for posting such useful info!
    I have won a scholarship from KGSP and i’m leaving to Korea next August (2 months left). I want to know more about the papers I need to take with me ( I’m from Dominican Republic) since you wrote they could potentially become an issue. Is it just the Graduation Certificate, Grades and all that? (like the ones we originally sent for applying to the program) Do they have to be originals? ( I have my complete application in PDF).
    And also, I was checking the room and board expenses of my language university (Chonnam University in Gwanju) and they are very expensive! Almost 950,000 won for room and only one meal a day. Im worried =(.

    • Hi Betsy, I have a friend who is also from Dominican Republic. Maybe you can stalk her. Just inform her that I referred you to her 🙂

      About the expenses, they either give you a discount as a kgsp student or you will have to pay maybe around 200~250,000won a month for it. You can inquire from the international office of Chonnam National University directly 🙂

    • Hello, thanks for the comment. I haven’t been to Jeonju for almost a year already. Maybe when you arrive in Jeonju, there will be old students who will be leaving, try stalking them in Facebook and ask them if they can lend you one ㅋㅋㅋ Here’s the facebook page of one of the staff at Jeonju University. Try checking his friends. ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

      • Guys it’s me Krishna from nepla having D2 visa….I would like to change my visa status from D2 to D4…is it possible?

      • It depends on your situation. If your future activities in Korea falls under the D4 visa (i.e. training, Korean language only, etc) then probably there’s a chance for you to change your visa 🙂

  14. Hello ^-^
    Thank you so much for your helpful insights, I loved the article!! Thank you!

    I want to know more about buying the used books? And more about the dormitory problem do we have to apply for dorms in the University we are going to study Master in from now? And I will be studying Accounting does it mean I’m going to study it all in Korean?


    • Hi Marwa,

      Thank you for your comment 🙂 Maybe when you arrive in your language institution, there will be old students who will be leaving, try stalking them in Facebook and ask them if they can lend you one ㅋㅋㅋ It depends in which University will you take Accounting. If you are an undergraduate, it’s probably a yes. But if you’re a graduate student, your books might be in English but the discussion will be in Korean. However, if your course is almost similar to MBA, it will probably be done in English.

  15. Thanks a lot for the information. I’d like to ask you, when should we submit our graduation certificate with an apostille? After arriving, or after the language course? Our country makes different apostilles for a diploma, and a transcript of records. Should I do both of them, or only diploma is enough? Thank you for running this website

    • Hi Anatoly, if your language course asked you to present your diploma, then it is best to bring it with you when coming here in Korea. During your language course, you will have D4 visa (training visa). After you are done with your language course, you need to change it to D2 visa (student visa). Changing visa status to D2 is done here in Korea. What I was trying to explain in this blog post is that you need to prepare all the documents that you need from your country so that you won’t have a tough time acquiring it when you are here in korea when the time comes that it is needed.

      I think it is best to have everything with an apostille. Just to be safe 🙂

  16. hi dear~~
    thanks for this information^^
    may I know the total cost for the whole set of textbooks and wht other fees that will pay by us once we start our language training at JJ Univ?
    thank you~~

    • Here’s my estimate, probably 40~60thousand. If they still have other classes such as calligraphy/taekwondo, they might ask for an additional fee. Usually 10~20k.

    • Hi Nazurah, i am not exactly sure how much it is. it depends on your korean level. my estimate is around 40 thousand won or 40 dollars. You’re welcome 🙂

  17. Hi. Love your blog, so informative.

    I am still waiting for the official notice for the 2015 guidelines for KGSP undergrad program. I am only wondering, since I got the chance to have a conversation with other KGsp grantees (pinoys) and it seems most of them came from Ateneo, UP etc., is it necessary that you came from a reputed school / high school institution to be a grantee of the scholarship?
    I mean, if I graduated from a countryside institution with an average of 88% GPA, is it possible for me to get the scholarship?
    Hope you can help me ^^

    • It’s not necessary 🙂 I know other students who are not from the schools you mentioned, yet they are here as kgsp students. There are also students from those schools you mentioned who didn’t make it. So, go ahead and don’t be discouraged 🙂

  18. Hi..Cool blog! I was wondering if you could submit your Korean language course diplomas as your latest scholastic achievement for a D2 visa when you change from D4 ? I believe that was the case for some people but not sure which year. Is that possible or does it have to be your undergraduate/graduate diplomas ? Hope my question made sense. Thanks very much!

    • Hi Victor! Thanks for visiting my site!

      Korean Language Course Diploma? There is no such thing. After your language course, you only get a certificate. The one that you have to submit when applying for a D2 visa is your recent diploma (undergrad if you’re incoming grad student OR master’s diploma if you’re incoming PhD student). Also, don’t forget to have it marked with an apostille and/or translated if it is not written in English. Have a nice day! 🙂

  19. Hello Melanie,

    Thanks for the useful information. I wanted to know whether KGSP grantees are allowed to do part time work while studying. This would surely earn some extra pocket money.

    • Hi Nancy, During the language course, kgsp students are not allowed to take part time jobs. However, once you’re in your university, you may get a part time job 🙂

  20. Hi, I’d like to ask if fresh grads are allowed to apply? If ever how can we pass the TOR and the certificate of graduation if we are to graduate this April? THANK YOU!

    • Hi, I was a fresh graduate when I applied for the KGSP. During my time, i informed the NIIED about my case and we were told to bring our TOR when we are in Korea already. I think the certificate of graduation can be requested earlier than april 🙂 Please contact Niied for more clarifications.

      • Thank you for responding! One last question, did you pass your requirements straight to the university or via the embassy? The email addresses are all down at this period, no one is responding. Me and my friend are gonna try for Kangwon. Thank you very much!!!!

      • As what i’ve written in my old posts, my case is different. I submitted my application to my home university and they recommended me to Kangwon National Uni. However, in your case, if you want to apply via university, you should submit the requirement to the university you want. When did you apply? Last week, the people at KNu was on a business trip. You may try calling them.

      • Hi! We haven’t submitted anything yet coz we are waiting for announcements, plus we do not know the steps. However, Graduate Scholarships for 2015 are posted on the website, but only 2 applicants from our country would be lucky enough to pass. That’s why we’d like to apply via the Univ. Thank you for replying! BTW, I’m also from the Philippines, PLM 🙂

  21. hello melanie!!
    i’m so happy that i found your blog. ^^
    i’m from malaysia and i read before that if my country is not english speaking country its better to translate all my docs to korea right ?
    and secondly i’m slightly worried if i couldn’t make it bc my cgpa(i still have one semester left)lt is above 80% but im afraid that i can’t make it to 3.5 and above. is there any chance for me?
    last, if you happen to know fellow kgsp holder can you give me link of their blog orz , so i can stalk loljk

    • Hi bella! If your grades are 80% and above, you are qualified to apply for kgsp. However, as the KGSP is getting more competitive each year, very high scores are preferred. But there is no harm in trying, right? So far, you may check fb groups of various kgsp applicants.

  22. I am currently applied to the language program at Kangwon. Are those the books you are talking about? I have the first one, but nothing else. Please let me know

  23. Dear Mellanie,

    Hope this finds you well,
    I am Yohannes Ayalew From Ethiopia and I am Currently studying in My country, I am Graduating the coming July, 2015 and I applied to Jeju National University with a letter of Expected Graduation Certifcate from My registrar. I actually have 3.76 CGPA till this term and I hope i can boost it to 3.8 to my graduation. What do you think about my chance from your Experience?
    What does NIIED Looks for selection? ( 2nd Round )

    Considering The Fact that You are busy, can you provide me a comment?

    Best Wishes,
    Yohannes Ayalew
    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

    • Hi Yohannes! Thanks for visiting my site~ There are a lot of factors reviewed to be considered as a KGSP scholar and GPA is only one among many. As a scholar, I am not informed about the selection process. However, having an absolutely high grade may actually give you a good chance but it is not a guarantee. They will also look into your course, your nationality (as per quota), and how well you do in your interview. Don’t lose hope and good luck!

  24. hello Melanie
    So glad to find your blog.Keep up the good work.
    I applied for KGSP 2015,was shortlisted by the scholarship board in my home country and have been invited for interview on 7th April 2015 by Korean centre at their embassy in my home country.What should I be expecting from the interviewers.I am applying for PhD in Control Engineering and Automation.
    Is the stipend they provide really enough because its seems rent is very high in Korea and this money is to cover rent and living expenses.
    Lastly I have a family,in fact that’s my major concern as the scholarship did not state any plans to support scholars with family.PhD is 4 yrs and I cant be away for this long without my family(2 boys and 2 girls ages,7,6,5,21/2).
    I intend that they join me after my language course and probably when i am settled in my placed university for the proper PhD studies.How possible is that especially if my spouse will be working to support financially.Do they have English schools for Children?Do you think that with proper planning that i can cope?Will my kids adapt especially when the only language they speak is English.
    I really want to study abroad for my PhD.I will appreciate any advice from you.

    • Hi Chy, thanks for visiting my blog! I’ll try to answer your questions one by one. You asked:

      1. .What should I be expecting from the interviewers? Questions are often to determine perhaps your ability to communicate and express yourself. They might ask about you, your plans in Korea, or your reasons why you choose the school and etc. However, this is not always the case.

      2. Do they have English schools for Children? This will depend on your location. It may be easier for you to find a private school for children when you’re in the city such as Seoul. I do have friends (not KGSP) who brought their family here in Korea. As they are kids, they can easily learn the Korean language! 😉 Once they’ve immersed in the new environment, I supposed it is easy for them to join classes here in Korea.

      It is true that the scholarshio doesn’t support families in this case. It is your responsibility to take care of them and to find other ways to support them. As you will be in the engineering department (sciences), most professors require their students to be in the laboratory everyday (even weekends!) This will make it hard for you to find extra part-time job.

      Most English Academies (hagwon) here in Korea are continuously on the look for Native English speakers. If you are somewhere from the USA or any Western country then it won’t be hard for to get a job on an academy. Salary on the academy is just enough – I suppose. But since your family is quite big, I think it will need a lot of planning as education in Korea is very expensive T.T


      • Hi Melanie,
        Do you know what happens if by sny chance you don’t pass Topik level 3 even after the extension period? Is it true they deport you back to your country and besides canceling your scholarship do you think they make you pay back all the expenses?

      • Hello Marina!

        First of all, thank you for dropping by my site.
        Second, please bear in mind that the kgsp rules are changing every now and then – which leaves me clueless and unsure.

        I don’t think no one cannot pass topik level 3 after extension. One year has been enough for my friends who had zero knowledge of the language. As a language student, you are not allowed to do part time jobs to allow you to focus on mastering the language.

        However, if indeed you’ll fail the exam – yes, you will have to return to your country. About the money though, I really don’t know the answer to that. Good luck!

  25. Hi
    It is very interesting. Keep up the good work. I am selected by a university and I am waiting for NIIED second selection at the moment. If I will not succeed in that my supervisor has promised to provide me with a scholarship that includes 600 USD living expense per month. Do you think i can survive with this in jeonju? in some schools I heard that if you rent an incampus dormitory for around 250 USD per month, they also serve 3 meals per day. How much true is this? thanks

    • Hi qian, thanks for dropping by. Does that mean you have yet to deduct your accommodation from the 600? If that is the case and say, you’re left with 350, it will be a very difficult situation given that you have to pay for phone bills and maybe other requirements in school (books, i.e.). However if he will offer to pay your housing, that may be enough 🙂

  26. Hello Melanie,

    Nice to meet you.^.^ I’m KGSP student whose currently studying korean language program. On this coming Sept, i’m going to start my master course. However i have lots of worry. >.<

    Few days ago i was being informed by my graduated school that my course will be teach in Korean. I was so shock when i got this news. i quite worry that with just only one year language course training, am i able to understand what the lecturer say in class? From your opinion, from now which section shall i practice more? speaking or writing? Coz i quite worry that i couldn't write my report well in korean. T.T

    Wish you have a nice days! ^.^

    • Hi MJ,

      At least you knew it months before you enter the university. In my case, I only knew about that situation during my enrollment at the university.

      What is your major? I did have difficulties during the first few weeks. Well, it was not really difficult because most of the lectures in class are reviews of your undergraduate degree courses (that is, if it is similar). Also, some of the books we used in class, although in korean, were just translated versions. There is no probling with catching up with class – you can always self study. The most difficult thing perhaps is to join the discussions in class 🙂

      When writing a report, it is best to try hard and perhaps ask a korean friend to check it for you 🙂

      Goodluck! You’ll get the hang of it soon. I have lost my korean language skill, but my comprehension with lectures in Korean is surprisingly developing. LOL. So dont worry too much 🙂

  27. Hello, I read your post and I am really curious about tha NIIED dormitory you mentioned since i didn’t find any info online except for this post. Can you please put me in contact with someone, I really wanna give it a try since my graduate university is incredibly expensive ㅠㅠ

  28. Hey,

    Thanks for sharing your experience! As your name seems pretty german to me ( sorry if you arent german ) maybe we could network and i could ask you some questions? My mailadress is Bergmann_ab@hotmail.de, but we can also communicate through other channels. Helping me would be very kind of you! And i promise i wont ask that much 😀

    Greetings Alex

    • Nope, splurk is just my pen name. If you have questions you may like my facebook page and send me a message there. I will try my best to respond to your messages but I am quite in a difficult stage right now because my dad is in the hospital. So. just try.
      Thanks btw for visiting my site.

  29. Hi, Melanie. I am one of the success candidate of KGSP 2015. I have a few questions to ask.
    1) Can I prepare the documents same as the documents I submitted for application? My documents are in English and photocopy with the stamp from Ministry of foreign affairs. Should I get them translate to Korean? If yes, can the Korean Embassy in my country do it?
    2) Is the living allowance enough to cover all the expenses?
    3) Should I double confirm my admission to the designated university after pass the TOPIK ?

    Thank you for your kind advice.

    • Hello Michelle, congratulations and thank you for visiting my site 🙂

      1. You can find a legitimate Korean Translator (not necessarily from the Korean Embassy) to translate your documents. However, I think you need to present a document certifying that the translator is legitimate. — I am not so sure about everything here.

      2. “enough” is relative. I do not party a lot nor have a luxurious lifestyle – and it is enough for me. If you want to buy more stuff, you may have to find a part-time job (only after the language course duration!).

      3. Nope. They know it already. You’ll just have to contact them and inform them that you have passed the TOPIC and is ready to be admitted to the univerisity.

      Goodluck! 😀

      • Thank you, Melanie .. I got certain direction from your reply.. Thanks again.. All the best to you.

      • Hi, Melanie. Is me again.. As I know, as KGSP grantee, only the tuition will be waived. So, it means we need to pay the other fees as required ourselves.. May I know the rough amount that you need to pay for your university?

  30. Hi, i have been selected as a KGSP Postgraduate Student.

    I would like to inquire that the ‘Visa Invitation Letter’ would be sent by the Language Institution? and how long does it takes to reach once the results are announced.

    • Hello Mahmood! The invitation letter will depend on the university where you passed. If the people in charge are quick to act, then you are lucky. However, if they are not, then you can expect to wait even at the last minute.

  31. Hi, thank you for taking time to write this blog, it’s very informative. Am from Zambia and I have been awarded the KGSP, I will be doing my language training from keimyung university and later kyung hee university, am worried about two things I don’t have any Idea about the language and is the 900k enough to carter for basic necessities? Am supposed to start school in September.

  32. Hi, thanks for sharing your KGSP Experience. I just wanted to inquire that is it sufficient if the Academic Documents are attested / notarized by the Korean Embassy in the country where they have been obtained / earned? and do we need to attest / notarize the latest qualification documents or every credential of our academic career?

    • Hi Mahmood, I am not really sure but I think it is safe to have all your documents notarized. Korean offices are very strict about it, as far as I know.

    • Hi, you can re-upload posts from my blog on your site given that you credit me properly for the photos and articles. Also, please provide links on your site that would lead to my site as well. Your site looks great by the way 🙂

  33. Thanks. I will properly give you credit. Otherwise you can also post by yourself (I sent you a Facebook message too). You will get plenty of more readers for your awesome blog 🙂

  34. Hey Melanie!:)

    First of all thanks for sharing your experience. I loved the part about being shy and don’t know how to dance kk )) i felt like you are talking about me:D Now, i will change my attitude for sure.
    I am going to study in Kangwon National University my Korean Language and i am really excited about that. I don’t know Korean yet(only alphabet) and i am worried about passing Topik 3.
    Could you please give more information about Kangwon Nat. Uni and love in the campus from real perspective?
    I wish you lots of luck in your future career and studies!:)

    • Hi Nurana, you must be in Kangwon already. It is ironic how I write about many Korean places, but failed to take photos and write about my own University. It’s just that, when you are there, you think that you will be there forever. Haha. I hope you’ll make good memories and pass the TOPIK 3. You can do it 🙂 A lot of us did!

  35. HI. I really loved reading your advice. Thanks for sharing. I am scheduled to arrive Incheon for the 2015 KGSP and my documents are in English. Do I still need it to be notarized by the embassy or by my country’s ministry of education? I am also to study International business at Kangwon National University, please do you know what language we will be taught? I hope to meet you when we arrive. Thanks. Grace

    • If your documents are already in english, you need to have it with an apostille.

      Are you studying International Business for MA degree or Undergraduate? If Undergraduate course, you are most likely to take Korean classes. However, if MA degree, then there’s higher chances that your classes will be in English.

      Please inquire from the Korean Embassy in your country for proper advising as I don’t know the new KGSP policies anymore. Good luck!

  36. Hi, I’m from Mexico and recently i discover this scholarship, You´ve a lot of detailed information, i know you need to translate your documents to English or Korean , but could you give some information about how to made this? Do i need to go to my school or should i go with the embassy?? I really apreciate i f you could give me some information. Thanks .

    • Hi Stephanie, you need to look for a certified translator and have him/her sign the document indicating that all written their are accurate and true. From my knowledge, you also have to have this authenticated from the Korean Embassy.

      Please inquire from the Korean Embassy in your country for proper advising as I don’t know the new KGSP policies anymore. Good luck!

  37. That was a very nice piece. Thanks for all these information. But please I dont really understand the issue about the processing of my documents such as the transcripts, certificates etc. That is do I need to have my documents authenticated by the embassy or what? Please help me out

    • Documents (if not written in English) should be translated and signed by the translator. Also, it should be authenticated by the Embassy of Korea in your country.

      Also, I think you need to have it with apostille.

      Please inquire from the Korean Embassy in your country for proper advising as I don’t know the new KGSP policies anymore. Good luck!

  38. Hi, have you seen people quitting the KGSP Scholarship? and if someone wants to quit it after three months, does he has to pay anything?

    • I tried staying in Seoul. Living outside the dormitory can be quite difficult. You are left with studio rooms (expensive deposit fee $3,000~10,000; monthly fee of 400~++ excluding bills); if you are going cheap, you can get the Gosiwon (very very tiny room, it has bed and shower – costs around $400~++ monthly). Going around seoul (transpo) is cheap tho. 900 is okay. Try getting a prepaid phone and an egg for cheap wifi.

      • Thanks for the reply, your classes are taught in korean right? It’s hard to understand (like listening, reading, and writing)? I’m more interested enroll into technology business program than mba but programs mostly taught in korean.

      • Courses under social sciences are usually taught in Korean; however, business class and science classes in the graduate program are often taught in English – especially if the professors are those who have studied abroad 🙂 I hope things are going well with you!

  39. HI ..

    I’ve been reading your blog since last year as I was planning to send my KGSP application but didn’t do it. I was born on 1990 and won’t be eligible for KGSP this year anymore. My question is, if I will try entering into a university (Not under KGSP), do they offer scholarship for foreign students? I mean, I would be paying my own expenses, tuition. I am a freelancer and can work online while studying.

    Do you have any idea how much will it cost all in all?

    Will appreciate for any information you could give.
    Thanks 🙂

    • Hello Blez! First of all, I’d like to say sorry for the late reply. Yes, there are available scholarships from the department, professor, the international office, or the uni itself 🙂 Please be advised tho that Korean universities usually prefer students in the natural science field.

      How much will it cost? Tuition will vary according to the university you’ll apply to. Public universities cost around 1k dollars to 2k per semester, while private universities will cost as high 6-8k dollars per semester. As for living allowance, it will also vary where in Korea you’ll be located. If you will be in Seoul, you’d probably need 1k-1.5 to enjoy the city. But this money is more than enough if you’ll be in the other cities or county.

      Good luck!

  40. Hello again! Just wondering if it is actually required to submit a TOPIK result beforehand or is it optional? As you know, TOPIK is held only twice annually in the Philippines. The next schedule will be on April which would be far behind the deadline of application. I am torn whether to pursue my application this feb or not.

    • Hello char, having a topik certificate is a plus but it is not necessary when applying. That is because, the first year of the kgsp program will ask you to study korean and pass Topik level 3 (this is a requirement to enter all uni in Korea). Sorry for the late reply and good luck 🙂

  41. So I found this post and i am so happy! I am planing tho apply for the graduates program for the KGSP and i have some doubts. Does the KGSP include dormitory fees are either way i have to pay fro them? As in I apply for the scholarships but those three years i pay for dorm and they give me the 900 won for living expenses. Im so worried because of this. Please let me know. Thank you!

    • Hello! You will have to pay your dormitory fees,. it is not included in the program. Therefore, every month you will receive 900 and then you will need to deduct a few bucks to pay for the dorm.

  42. Hello!

    I had a topik 4 and just received news that I was accepted in the second selection. I am wondering if there is a placement test for language classes once we arrive for orientation. Can I also enquire if they would strictly instruct you to do your masters programme once you have passed topik 5/6, as I’m afraid half a year of Korean is not sufficient for me to complete my assignments and write academic reports in Korean.

    • Hello curry poker 🙂

      This may be late already but yes, some schools still have placement exams just to check which class is appropriate for your level.

      I think you have the freedom to continue studying Korean (within the 1 year provided) 🙂

      Good luck!

  43. Hi,
    I Just get the KGSP for this year and I would like to thank you for this valuable information , I have 2 problems I need your help with
    1- My study for PhD in Pharmacy is in Korean language , and really that made me disappointed about this scholarship, Is the study in Korean language is difficult or as english
    2- I have 3 kid and wife with me, could you please tell me how costly the life will be there in dollar ($) /month

    • Hello Hussein, are you in Korea already? My apologies for my late reply. Studying the Korean language is easy but then it becomes complicated later. I think Phd are conducted in English since you have to write publications for conferences. Good luck!

  44. Hi, I am just wondering why Kangwon national university is not on the list of universities accepting applications/scholars last 2016 KGSP application? A professor from KNU expresses his support to my application next year but Im afraid that KNU will not be included again on the list. Cheers.

    • Hello Paul, Sometimes universities close/open slots depending on several factors like budget. Perhaps KNU is having some issues. I’m sorry if I can’t provide a specific answer, I am no longer in KNU since 2015.

  45. Hi, I am just wondering why Kangwon national university was not on the list of universities accepting applications/scholars last 2016 KGSP application? A professor from KNU expressed his support to my application next year but Im afraid that KNU will not be included again on the list. Cheers.

    • Hello Paul, Sometimes universities close/open slots depending on several factors like budget. Perhaps KNU is having some issues. I’m sorry if I can’t provide a specific answer, I am no longer in KNU since 2015.

  46. Hello,
    Im Really happy to find this blog is really helpful.My name is minini,I’m from Nigeria and i want to apply for the kgsp with a
    Major in International business but am so nervous because my gpa is 82% out of 100
    Please is there any chances for me to get accepted?
    Please advice on things i need to submit or do to get accepted since i hve a low gpa

    • Hello Minini, thank you for visiting my blog 🙂 Like what I tell everyone, there’s no harm in trying. KGSP is a very competitive scholarship due to the growing popularity of Korea and of course, the good education environment here. Your chance of getting the scholarship is based in several factors – however, if you are in the sciences courses, there is a higher chance to get the scholarship.

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