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Yonsei University

- Fall
- Spring
- Year

This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, extension of UCEAP participation, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, finances and much more.
Remember to also visit the Participants section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.
Click a heading below to see section content.
Your UCEAP Network

Local UCEAP Support

Campus EAP Office

The Campus EAP Office coordinates recruitment, student selection, orientations, and academic advising; and serves as your primary contact during the application process.

UCEAP Systemwide Office

The UCEAP Systemwide Office establishes and operates programs and coordinates UCEAP administration for all UC campuses from its headquarters in Goleta, California. You will work closely with the following Systemwide Office staff:
Program Advisors provide academic and operational program information to you and your campus as well as administrative support for all aspects of your participation.
Program Specialists manage the logistics of the program. They coordinate document requirements, visa application instructions, health and safety precautions, acceptance and placement by host institutions, arrival and onsite orientation, and housing arrangements.
Academic Specialists advise on academic policies, review courses taken abroad for UC credit, and document your registration, grades, petitions and academic records.
Student Finance Accountants assist primarily with UCEAP statements, program fee collection, and financial aid disbursements (in conjunction with your campus Financial Aid Office).

Contact Information

Program Advisor
David Palm
Phone: (805) 893-2831; E-mail:
Program Specialist
Amy Frohlich
Phone: (805) 893-2831; E-mail:
Academic Specialist
Eva Bilandzia
Phone: (805) 893-2598; E-mail:
Student Finance Accountant
Karen Hyslop
Phone: (805) 893-4812; E-mail:
UCEAP Systemwide Office
6950 Hollister Avenue, Suite 200
Goleta, CA 93117-5823
Phone: (805) 893-4762; Fax: (805) 893-2583

UCEAP Online

Bookmark your Participants program page. This resource lists requirements and policies you need to know before you go abroad, including your Predeparture Checklist, UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Program Calendar, UCEAP Student Budgets, and payment instructions.
Connect with us! Join our Facebook network via the UCEAP Korea page.

Study Center Abroad

A local faculty member, who serves as the UCEAP Liaison Officer, administers UCEAP programs at Yonsei University along with a Study Center Coordinator. They advise students on academic matters, provide information on cultural events, assist with program logistics, and provide support with personal matters.
Prof. Hyungji Park, Liaison Officer
UCEAP Korea, Seoul Study Center
Global Lounge, Yonsei University,
50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, 120-749, Korea
Ms. Joey Choi, Study Center Coordinator
Phone (calling from the U.S.): (011-82-2) 2123-4715
Emergency cell phone: (011-82-10) 4202-4715

Phone Number Codes

U.S. international code . . . . . . . . . . . . .011
(dial this to call outside the U.S.)
Korea country code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
Seoul city code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

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Academic Information
Program Overview
The academic year at Yonsei University begins in late February or early March with the spring semester. Spring is therefore the first semester at Yonsei University.  Fall term begins in late August or early September and is the second semester.  The first section of some sequential courses will be offered only in spring.  This is especially true for courses taught in English. 
See the course information section below for additional information.
These programs offer coursework taught in English and Korean, as well as Korean language study. The programs also feature community service and internship opportunities for academic credit.
  • Attendance at both Yonsei University and UCEAP mandatory orientations
  • Full-time course of study; minimum of 21 UC quarter units each term. Most UCEAP students take 22.5 UC quarter units (usually four or five courses).  You may take a maximum of 27 UC quarter units.
  • A Korean language course each term (unless you are fluent)
  • Korean language placement test on the first date of the program (no makeup exams are offered)
  • Completion of the MyEAP Study List and confirmation by the Study Center (any changes made in your Yonsei University course registration must also be made on your MyEAP Study List) 


UC quarter units are calculated by multiplying Yonsei University units by 1.5. (3.0 Yonsei units equal 4.5 UC quarter units). Most courses are 3.0 Yonsei University units.
Academic Culture
Korean academic culture is grounded in Confucian educational tradition. Respect for teachers and university rules, including attending all orientation sessions, classes, and other announced functions, is essential. Students are expected to be appreciative, polite, and moderate—not demanding or argumentative—in questioning the opinions of professors or fellow students. Be prepared to modify your own expectations and conform to Korean norms.
For a successful and rewarding academic experience, be proactive and fully engaged in guiding your own education. Before departure, outline educational objectives to help guide your course selection, readings, and other activities. Do not rely solely on classes and professors to define or structure the educational goals that you expect to achieve. Classes are only the beginning of academic inquiry, not the entire academic experience. Systematic observation, reading, and writing in subject areas of interest can help turn even an ordinary class into a base for serious academic work and significant learning.
The size of Yonsei University classes varies with the popularity of the subject. Classes offered in English are relatively small and are taught mostly in the lecture format. Language classes average 12 students.
Many instructors provide syllabi and focus on delivering lectures, but some also encourage discussion and the use of the Internet for class work. The classroom atmosphere can be interactive, but remember to be polite and respectful of the instructor and your fellow students. Teamwork among students is an important aspect of some courses and group presentations are frequently required, particularly in business courses. Engage in your academic activities, join discussions, and form study groups.
Faculty members in Korea rarely keep regular office hours, but you may contact a professor by e-mail to set up a meeting. The e-mail address is normally noted on the course syllabus. If you can’t find the contact information, staff at the UCEAP Seoul Study Center will help you find the appropriate way to contact professors.
Many Yonsei faculty members are Western educated and, while respecting traditional Korean customs, incorporate the exchange of ideas in the classroom. Some professors may be traditional in their classroom approach, so be sensitive to the style of each instructor.
Instructors in courses taught in English do not always speak in the familiar American style and some may have accents that are difficult to understand, especially at first. Accepting this as a challenge rather than a frustration will enhance the experience of studying with these instructors, many of whom are highly recognized scholars in their fields, prominent professionals, government policy makers, and consultants in prestigious firms.
Course Information
UCEAP students take a wide variety of courses.  Many take the semi-intensive Korean language course (9.0 UC quarter units) plus three Yonsei University courses (13.5 UC quarter units) to meet the unit requirement. 

Yonsei Portal Service

You will preregister for your courses through the Yonsei Portal Service. You will receive instructions by e-mail regarding Yonsei University preregistration procedures one or two months before departure.
The Yonsei Course Catalog and Syllabus search under the Yonsei Portal Service lists several versions of each course for the current and previous terms. The catalog provides course titles, units, descriptions, syllabi, and other useful information. The catalog can be difficult to search as is has thousands of courses with several versions or sections of each course.
Hints to narrow your search:
  • Search by major and department: select undergraduate programs, select a college, select specific area, select term.
  • Search by course code: find the department code in the MyEAP course catalog in the "P Course Number" field and enter that under the course code search (BIO for biology, SOC for sociology, POL for political science, etc.)
  • Search by course title: enter a keyword or title of a course (microbiology, microeconomics, fluid dynamics, etc.).  This is useful to see if a course listed in the MyEAP course catalog has been offered recently.
  • Check the box for courses taught in English
Hints on reading your results:
  • Semester: year and term it was taught. 20131 is spring of 2013. The last digit indicates term (1 spring, 2 fall). Check to see how regularly the course has been offered. This field is not shown when searching by major and department.
  • Year: target students.  3 and 4 are for advanced students and are usually upper division. 0, 1, and 2 are usually lower division.
  • Credit: multiply by 1.5 to calculate UC quarter units.
  • Time: courses typically meet for three hours per week over the 15 weeks with a week for finals. There are 10 time periods of 50 minutes each starting each hour from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Time period 1 is from 9:00am to 9:50am and time period 10 is from 5:00pm to 5:50pm.
  • Ref.: 2 indicates courses taught in English. 

Courses Taught in English and Korean

An increasing number of courses taught in English are offered by the Yonsei University departments, including business, economics, history, communications, Korean art history, law, literature, philosophy, political science, and sociology. Particularly strong courses are available in Asian studies and Korean language and literature, as well as unique courses related to North Korea. There are very few courses in the sciences taught in English.
If the language placement test shows you have adequate proficiency in Korean, you may be able to enroll in Yonsei University courses taught in Korean with the approval of the instructor and the UCEAP Liaison Officer. A high level of proficiency in reading, writing, and comprehension of university-level Korean is necessary to succeed in these courses.
Some courses are taught in a combination of Korean and English.  For example, lectures may be in Korean with textbooks in English. Some courses may have sections in English or Korean.  Make sure you register for the appropriate section.

Underwood International College

The curriculum in the Underwood International College (UIC) is taught in English and is designed for admitted degree-seeking international students.  UCEAP students are exchange students and may only register for these courses with the permission of the UIC professor. You can make a request to the UIC professor in person on the first day of class to register. The Study Center can provide you with a form to take to the professor. Permission is not possible for UIC exclusive courses (numbers 8–11) and graduate-level seminar courses. 
Many of the UIC courses are lower division as they are common curriculum courses designed to introduce international students to aspects of Korea, such as history or politics.  Some of the courses are upper division as they go into more specific topics.

Korean Language Study

Language study is required each semester. You will be placed at the appropriate language level based on the mandatory written and oral placement tests you will take after arrival. Depending on the level, classes emphasize oral-aural skills, systematic grammatical pattern acquisition, basic writing skills, listening comprehension, composition, and cross-cultural communication.
Semi-intensive Korean language courses are offered through the Korean Language Institute (KLI) at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. These courses are 9 UC quarter units each and meet for two hours per day (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.), Monday through Friday.
KLI is not open to exchange (UCEAP) students for the summer or winter quarters, or morning intensive courses.
Materials include Korean language textbooks and collections of readings, listening comprehension materials, newspapers, literary works, and audiovisual materials. Upper-level students learn advanced grammar patterns and expressions, work on expanding vocabulary and increasing reading speed, watch films, and practice advanced listening comprehension with real news broadcasts.
If you do not wish to take the semi-intensive course, you may take a less intensive Korean language course, such as Korean Language and Culture, Korean Writing, or Korean Grammar (4.5 units each). These are offered through other schools or departments at Yonsei University. Korean Language and Culture (IEE3220) is very popular and is consistently offered. You may also take these courses in addition to the semi-intensive language course to further your Korean language development.
If you have documented fluency in Korean language or you receive a high enough score (advanced levels) on the language placement test, you will not be required to take Korean language.

Graduate School of International Studies

As a leading professional graduate school, Yonsei Graduate School of International Studies(GSIS) offers an intensive curriculum designed to train international scholars and other specialists. GSIS consists of five programs of courses taught in English: 1) Korean Studies, 2) Area Studies, 3) International Cooperation, 4) International Management, and 5) International Trade and Finance.
Undergraduate students who have senior standing, a minimum GPA of 3.0, and adequate background in a field relevant to the course may be able to take one graduate-level course at GSIS. Permission from the instructor must be obtained at the beginning of the course and both Yonsei University and the Study Center must approve participation in the course. Undergraduate students are limited to one graduate course per term.
Seoul is a vibrant city and can be a serious distraction for students. Make sure to prioritize between academic responsibilities and extracurricular social activities.
Your work will be assessed primarily by exams, but many courses also include attendance, term papers, projects, and class presentations.
Attendance serves as an indication of your commitment to the course, the professor, and fellow students, and usually is an important factor in assigning the final course grade. The exact percentage that attendance counts varies depending on the instructor, but may average about 20 percent. If you miss more than one-third of your class meetings for regular courses, you will likely fail the course. If you are absent for more than 20 percent of your language course meetings, you will not receive a passing grade. Some professors count two tardies as one absence.
Participation in class discussion is often part of the grade (averaging 15 to 20 percent), and if class presentations are required they may count for 20 to 30 percent. In regular Yonsei University courses taught in Korean, competition with Korean students is greater than it is with international students in courses taught in English.
Korean language courses require serious concentration and diligent study. Grading in the language courses usually is more rigorous than what you may have experienced at your UC campus.
Fall grades are usually available from mid-February to mid-March; spring grades from mid-July to mid-August. Early grades are not possible.
For general information about grades, see the Academic Information chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Special Opportunities

Independent Study and Internships

Independent study, including internships and research, may be available in certain fields. Information on UCEAP-arranged academic internships will be provided during the UCEAP on-site orientation.
If you would like to participate, research internship opportunities before arriving in Korea and prepare a proposal shortly after arrival. Websites such as Job Korea, Incruit, and Find Job are good informational sources.
In previous years, UCEAP students have interned at various organizations listed here.
If you wish to apply for an internship, you will take a preliminary test after the orientation to determine if your Korean language ability is suitable for working in Korea. Korean language proficiency is important because the internship providers prefer students who are able to speak and write in Korean. If you pass, your résumé will be sent to designated internship supervisors in several companies and interviews will be arranged. Selection depends on the internship supervisor of the company—not the Study Center. 
If you are accepted for an internship position, you must submit a Special Study Project form to the Study Center within two weeks. Other requirements also apply that you must agree to when accepting the internship position.
See the Academic Chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad for more information on independent study and internships.


You may also seek a volunteer or non-academic internship. The Study Center’s volunteer club, UCEAP Angels, welcomes UCEAP students who are willing to volunteer on a regular basis. In this club, you may volunteer with Severance Children’s Hospital School, with major police stations’ culture classes for North Korean refugees, as an English teacher, or in other activities that may be arranged. More information will be available during the UCEAP on-site orientation.

Korean Speaking Club

The Study Center hosts a Korean Speaking Club exclusively for UCEAP students interested in practicing Korean. You will improve your Korean by learning and using practical expressions with Study Center staff. The club meets weekly. Details are provided during the on-site orientation.


If you are interested in improving your Korean but can’t join the Speaking Club, take advantage of tutorial sessions arranged by the Study Center. You will be introduced to a Korean language teacher who will help you improve your Korean. The teachers are graduate students of Yonsei University majoring in teaching Korean for foreigners. Tutorials are held weekly. Details will be provided during orientation.
Extending UCEAP Participation
Extending your UCEAP participation in Korea is possible. UCEAP encourages you to extend participation to the next term. Approval of extension is based on academic performance, the support of your UC campus department, and available space at Yonsei University.
Before departure, submit an approved Departmental and College Preliminary Approval to Extend (DPA) form to your Campus EAP Office. Submitting the approved DPA does not obligate you to extend or guarantee extension, but the DPA will expedite the process if you decide to extend.
To extend from the Yonsei International Summer School to the fall or year programs, you must have a 3.0 GPA, must have a DPA on file with UCEAP, and must declare your intention to extend during the first two weeks of the summer program. Yonsei will not consider extensions filed after that period.
Once your extension has been approved, notification will be sent to your UC campus registrar, Financial Aid Office, and Campus EAP Office. For information about the steps you need to take with regard to finances, see the Extension of Participation chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Extension for more than two semesters is not possible. You may participate in multiple summer programs.
Cultural Awareness
Get acquainted with your new host city, country, and culture before you leave the U.S. Travel guides and travel-related websites, such as Lonely Planet and UrbanLowdown, are excellent resources.
"Be prepared to talk about all aspects of American life. You will be asked about sports, politics, cities...just about everything. My positive attitude and determination to learn Korean helped me acculturate in Korean society." --UCEAP Returnee
"People show more respect for their elders and authority figures. It's important that you are respectful and dress modestly." --UCEAP Returnee
Useful Websites
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation

The programs officially begin with two mandatory orientations in Korea by Yonsei and UCEAP that cover:
  • Introduction to Korean culture and information about the university
  • The academic program and how to complete and submit your MyEAP Study List
  • Internships and volunteer opportunities
  • UCEAP field trips, cultural activities, daily living, tips from previous students
  • Housing
  • Health and Safety
  • Emergency Preparedness
Attendance at all orientation sessions is mandatory and you are responsible for following up with all procedures and deadlines.
Travel Planning
​Additional information about passports, visas, and other required documents is provided in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and in the UCEAP Predeparture Checklist.
Travel to Your Host Country
You are responsible for making your own transportation arrangements to and from Korea (even if you are on financial aid) and for arriving on the Official UCEAP Start Date. This includes reserving and purchasing airline tickets (purchase a changeable ticket). Standby tickets are not acceptable.
You will arrive at Incheon International Airport, which is 90 minutes from Seoul, and take the limousine bus from the airport to Yonsei. From the bus stop, it is a 10-minute walk to the dorm. Detailed arrival instructions and maps are provided before departure in the Predeparture Checklist. Prepare to pay with Korean won for your transportation from the airport.
Early check-in is not permitted. If you arrive in Seoul prior to the arrival date, make hotel reservations or arrangements with your family and friends.
Program dates and arrival information are posted on the UCEAP website. Failure to appear by the Official Start Date is cause for dismissal from the program (per Student Agreement, Section 10). When traveling, always carry your passport, visa, ticket, prescription medications, and money. Never put valuables in your checked luggage.
The program dates can change due to unforeseen circumstances. You are responsible for making modifications to your travel itinerary to accommodate such changes. UCEAP is not responsible for any non-recoverable transportation charges you may incur for travel arrangements. To stay informed of program changes, update MyEAP with any changes to your contact information (mailing address, e-mail, and phone number).

Financial Aid Students

Your financial aid package is based partly on the UCEAP Student Budget for the program. The estimated round-trip airfare amount is based on the cost of a changeable student fare to your host country. If your independent travel costs are greater than the airfare estimate in the UCEAP Student Budget, notify your financial aid counselors. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid Office can guarantee that the additional cost will be funded by financial aid.
The UCEAP student budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
Travel Documents

U.S. Travel Registration

Register online with the U.S. Department of State as soon as your flight plans are known. Registration is free and it allows the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to assist you and provide information in case of difficulty or an emergency while abroad.


Make photocopies of all important documents, including passport photo pages, vaccination certificates, travelers check receipts, airline tickets, student ID, birth certificate, credit cards (front and back), etc., then leave a set of copies at home with a parent or guardian and pack a set in various pieces of luggage. Spending a few moments copying documents now can save time and energy if something is lost or stolen.

Student Visa

Students with a valid Korean passport are not required to obtain a visa.
Summer program participants do not need a visa to enter Korea. U.S. citizens in possession of a valid U.S. passport can visit Korea without a visa for a duration of up to 90 days or less for study.
For the fall, year, and spring programs, you must obtain a Student (D-2) Visa prior to entering Korea. A Korean student visa is an endorsement placed in your passport by the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea. The visa grants you permission to enter and reside in Korea for the purpose of study.

Non-U.S. Citizens

If you are not a citizen of the U.S., special travel restrictions or requirements may apply to you. Contact the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea for visa information and entry regulations.

Male Korean Citizens

If you are a male Korean citizen between the ages of 18 and 35, you may be eligible for the draft and required military service. Prior to departing the U.S., you must research this further with the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea and Military Manpower Administration. Report your exchange student status when you enter Korea. You will be eligible for military service even if you have dual citizenship. Make sure you understand your status prior to arrival.

AB540 Students

AB540 students should consult an immigration attorney to evaluate the risks of potentially being unable to re-enter the United States and any impact that participation in UCEAP might have on any deferred action applications.
Packing Tips
The UCEAP Student Budget does not include funds to purchase clothing abroad.
Just about everything is available for purchase in Korea.


  • One formal outfit (for class presentations, formal lectures, interviews, and the UCEAP farewell banquet)
  • Personal care and hygiene products (especially preferred brands)
  • Vitamins and medications (see the Staying Healthy chapter of this guide)
  • Travel guide with a detailed map of Seoul
  • Slippers
  • Laptop
  • Thick windproof jacket, scarf and mittens for winter days
  • Toilet paper for first few days in dorms


  • Rain boots and an umbrella (highly recommended)
  • Athletic gear (including a swimsuit)
  • Costco card (there are several throughout Seoul)
  • Gifts for foreign hosts and new friends (suggestions: Frisbees, T-shirts, UC pens or decals, California pistachios or almonds, California scenic calendars, See’s Candies)
  • Preferred cold medicine
  • Lan cable for internet in dorms

Climate and Dress

The climate in Korea is temperate, with four distinct seasons. Summers are hot with high levels of humidity. However, Koreans dress fashionably and value their sense of decorum. Despite hot and humid conditions in the summer, provocative clothing is inappropriate in public. Plan for periods of heavy rain and monsoons.
It normally snows in the winter and the average temperature is about 23°F. Winter clothing can be purchased for reasonable prices in Seoul.
 "If you wear large-sized clothing, they will not have your size." --UCEAP Returnee
"Women's fashion in Korea is very trendy.  Bring some dresses and nice clothing." --UCEAP Returnee
Insurance for Personal Posessions
The UCEAP Insurance Plan includes limited personal property coverage. Review the plan carefully before departure. Determine if it provides adequate coverage for your possessions. Talk to your parents, they may already have insurance coverage for personal possessions. Find out if their insurance will cover your items while in transit and while abroad, and also inquire about deductibles.
You may decide to purchase additional coverage, especially for high-value electronics (e.g., computer, tablets, camera, etc.). If you decide to do so, purchase supplemental coverage before departure because most theft occurs in the airport or while moving into housing. The host university does not protect student belongings—even in university accommodations.
You are responsible for your own personal property. You can safeguard your belongings from damage or theft by locking your room and securing money, travelers checks, jewelry, passport, and other possessions.
Use logical precautions to safeguard valuables. Avoid wearing expensive clothing or jewelry and going to questionable parts of the city, especially at night or when alone. Minimize your vulnerability by staying in control of your drinking and your behavior. Do not invite casual acquaintances or strangers home.
Return Transportation
If you do not make round-trip arrangements, be sure to book a return flight with plenty of lead time once abroad. Flights to the U.S. fill up fast and economy-fare seats are booked early.
Most airline tickets are good for one year only. When buying round-trip tickets, purchase a ticket that allows changes to the return date.
The estimated airfare amount in the UCEAP Student Budget is based on the cost of a changeable round-trip student ticket.
Financial Information
Understanding Your Finances
It is important that you carefully read all of the information available in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and discuss it with the person who will assist you with your finances while you are abroad.
Understanding your finances before, during, and after your program is crucial to having a successful time abroad. The following list outlines just a few of the many things you will need to know before departure.

Detailed information on the following topics can be found in the Money Matters chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad:
  • Contact information for finance questions
  • How to estimate the cost of your program
  • Budget instructions and information
  • How to and who can make payments to UCEAP
  • UCEAP student account information
  • Banking before and after arrival
  • Fees and penalties
  • Loan information
  • How financial aid works while abroad (how do I get my financial aid from my home campus and how are my fees paid?)
  • Various forms (e.g., direct deposit, etc.)
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Your MyEAP Student Account is similar to your UC campus financial account. It will be available as soon as you are selected for your program in MyEAP. You can make payments through this account using e-checks or credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover). The fees that you owe UCEAP will be applied to your account after your program pre-departure withdrawal date, which is listed in MyEAP. For the amount due to UCEAP prior to fees being posted on your account, refer to the UCEAP Student Budget Payment Voucher located on the second page of your UCEAP Student Budget. Program fees are subject to change.
Carefully review your UCEAP Student Budget.
Your UCEAP Student Budget lists the fees you will pay to UCEAP and an estimate of the personal expenses you will need to plan for. It does not include the cost of recreational travel or personal entertainment. Review your UCEAP Student Budget frequently. The Payment vouchers are on the second page of the UCEAP Student Budget.


  • Download and print your UCEAP Student Budget and Payment Vouchers.
  • Note the deadlines on the Payment Vouchers.
  • Give the UCEAP Student Budget and Payment Vouchers to the person responsible for paying your UCEAP bills. Sign this person up for Third Party Authorization on MyEAP so they can make payments online.
For further information see the Money Matters chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and the Money Matters tab of your Participants Portal. If you will be receiving financial aid, see also the UCEAP Financial Assistance web page.
Handling Money Abroad
Before leaving the U.S., change some money into Korean won at the airport. Besides providing an opportunity to become familiar with the currency, the funds will be useful for snacks, transportation, and unexpected purchases upon arrival.


Several major U.S. banks maintain branches in Seoul. Check with your home bank to see what services may be provided. Various services are also available from other international banks in downtown Seoul. Inform your bank that you will be using your ATM card internationally to avoid a hold on your account.
Most students open an account at Woori Bank on campus, as it is one of the major banks in Korea. It is in the basement of the Student Union Building. Its ATMs are widely available both on campus and throughout the city. There is no monthly charge for maintaining a bank account, and no fee or deposit required to open one. To open an account, you need a valid passport. You can go directly to the bank and open an account any time during office hours (9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.). Telegraphic transfers can be made from a home bank account in the U.S. to a Woori account for a fee. Personal checks cannot be cashed at the Woori Bank, although travelers checks and international checks are accepted. An advantage of using Woori Bank is that you can use your Yonsei student ID card as a debit card.
If you are planning to use a credit or debit card, check with your home bank to see if your card will be compatible with machines in Korea. If you plan on withdrawing money from your U.S. account, you will need to use a global ATM; there are two on campus and many can be easily found off campus in subway stations and convenience stores. Check with your bank to determine the fees involved with international services.
Another option would be a Charles Schwab account because you can withdraw for free and they will reimburse you for any fees incurred -- however Charles Schwab accounts may require you to have a minimum in your account.


Checks are not commonly used in Korea. It can take up to two months for personal checks to clear the bank and you will be charged a separate transaction fee, even after a local bank account has been established.
Travelers checks can be exchanged easily at money exchange offices, banks, and some tourist information centers. Avoid exchanging money at hotels and tourist shops; although convenient, their rates are often less favorable. Your passport is required to exchange money.

Credit Cards

Major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, and American Express are widely accepted in many restaurants and department stores in Seoul, but not in small shops. It may be possible to withdraw cash using a credit card through the global ATMs located throughout the city. Before departure, check with your credit card companies to see what services are available and the fees involved with international services.
Communications Abroad
Internet Access
UCEAP students suggest taking a laptop.
Yonsei University has computer labs in most buildings. The computer lab in the dormitory is open from 6:00 a.m. to midnight. Each room in the dormitory has Internet access through a LAN network.
Internet cafés such as PC Bang are inexpensive and widely available throughout Korea.
All UCEAP students purchase a cell phone upon arrival. Cell phone service branch offices are found everywhere in Seoul, even on the Yonsei campus. After receiving an immigration card, you can obtain a cell phone.
For the summer program, you can find cell phone companies that offer a prepaid rental phone. Cell phone rental services are also available at the Incheon International Airport. If you are not sure where to rent a phone, attend First Step to Korea (one of Yonsei’s orientation programs for exchange students) for advice on how and where to rent a phone on campus.
EAP alumni report getting in touch with friends and family in the US using a variety of resources:
  • International calling cards
  • magicJack
  • MSN or online messenger
  • Facebook
The Before Babel Brigade is a volunteer organization for non-Korean speakers who need help communicating. Call 1588-5644 and press 1 for an English-speaking volunteer. 
Mail & Shipments
Housing & Meals
Where Will I Live?
You can choose where you will live. There are two on-campus choices at Yonsei University. International House (called I-House) and SK Global House are owned by Yonsei University but are managed by a private company. On-campus housing is provided on a first-come/first-served basis by application and prepayment before arrival (even for financial aid students).
If you decide to live off campus, Yonsei University and the UCEAP Study Center cannot assist you with housing arrangements. It is your responsibility to research all options and understand the leasing terms. Popular off-campus choices for UCEAP students include living with relatives, DMC Ville, and Casaville.  YISS also lists resources on their website.

I-House and SK Global House (on campus)

I-House and SK Global House are located in the northeast corner of campus, next to the Yonsei East Gate, and provide housing for over 800 students. There are floors for both graduate and undergraduate students and separate wings for women and men. During the summer the I-House is used for international students only. During the fall and spring terms Korean and international students live in I-House, providing a truly global atmosphere.
Rooms have a Western-style bed, closet, bookcase, desk set, air-conditioner, heated floor, and small refrigerator (single room only). The dorms have two‑prong power outlets (220 volt). To use 110 volt equipment, you need to buy a converter (available for purchase in the convenience store near the dorms). Every room is equipped with LAN connections for Internet use; however, LAN cables are not provided (also available for purchase at the student union or in the convenience store near the dorms). The dorms are considered safe as they utilize an ID card key system for enhanced security. There are security guards and surveillance cameras to provide further security and ensure that I-House regulations are upheld.
Amenities include a food court, 24 hour convenience store, coffee shop, flower shop, nail salon and copy shop. Coin laundry is also available. Basic linens are provided, but you will need to pack or purchase towels. More information on room rates, types (including photographs), and facilities can be found on the on-campus housing’s website.
Early check-in is not permitted. If you arrive prior to the official move-in date, make hotel reservations or arrangements with family and friends. Yonsei has a list of recommended temporary accommodations close to campus on their website.
The demand for summer housing is high. Rooms are reserved on a first-come/ first-served basis. Complete an online housing application as soon as you receive your admission number from Yonsei.
You are responsible for directly paying the housing fee by wire transfer. Housing fees for the first term are due prior to arrival in Korea. We recommend that you request wire transfers in person at your bank. Even financial aid recipients will need to secure housing before their first disbursement.
You will be required to sign a housing contract to complete the housing application. Any student who violates regulations may be dismissed from the housing assignment without a refund, may be dismissed from Yonsei University, and as a result would be withdrawn from the UCEAP Korea program. Examples of housing regulations include prohibited use or possession of alcohol or illegal drugs, smoking, and visitation between the men’s and the women’s floors (which is regarded as a very serious matter in Korean culture). For security reasons, guests (including family members) are not allowed in the dormitories.
Quick breakdown of the difference between I-House and SK Global House:
SK Global House
Double Rooms
Single and double rooms
Limited number of facilities, but have access to SK Global House facilities
More facilities
Communal shower/bathroom on each floor
Shower/bathroom in each room
Communal lounge with gas cooker, sink, and refrigerator on each floor Communal kitchen area in basement
Key card system to access facilities Key card system to access facilities
Close proximity to classes
Close proximity to classes
Renovated in 2010 Opened in 2010
Capacity 232 students Capacity 585 students (4 spaces for students with disabilities)


If you arrange your own off-campus housing, you may want to consider boarding homes or hasooks. There are several close to campus. Hasooks offer single occupancy rooms with shared bathrooms and common areas. While the amenities of hasooks can vary, most include Internet access, television service, and utilities.  If you are interested in this type of housing, arrive early to research the options. Since it is hard to find hasooks on the Internet, you are expected to visit them in person and negotiate with owners in Korean.


Goshiwons are tiny rooms only furnished with a small bed and desk. Although they are limited in space, they are generally less expensive than hasooks. You can easily find goshiwons in the Shinchon area, and they are recommended for temporary housing during the break.
The housing fees do not include a meal plan. For more details, refer to the Student Budget on the UCEAP website.
Meal plans are not provided at Yonsei University. There are several cafeterias around the campus and many kinds of restaurants are near campus. On-campus cafeterias located in the International House, New Millennium Hall, and the Korean Language Institute building are most frequented by international students. They provide both Korean and Western-style food (e.g., bibimbap, soondubu, curry rice, and hamburgers), as well as Korean traditional cakes, toast, ramen, gimbap, and udong. Coffee and cake are available at the International House, Severance Hospital, and Miwoo Hall.
Other low-cost places to eat are located in the surrounding Shinchon area. There are two department stores with grocery sections in the basement connected to the Shinchon subway exit. The Shinchon neighborhood also has many restaurants, including both Western-style and Korean food. Several restaurants provide 24-hour delivery service to the dorms. There are also food vendors along the streets.
Daily Life Abroad
Local Transportation
The UCEAP student budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.


The subway is the most efficient way to get around the city. Seoul has an impressive subway system that is clean, reasonably priced, and extends out into the suburbs. There are nine color-coded lines that run at regular intervals throughout the city. Signs are clearly marked and announcements are made at all stops in both Korean and English. The fare will vary depending on the distance to the final destination.
Rechargeable transportation cards, good for use on subways and buses, can be purchased at most newsstands. Students participating in the academic year, fall, or spring semester programs can also use their Yonsei ID cards as a rechargeable subway card.


The urban areas of Seoul are serviced by four types of buses, each with different fares and routes. These include village buses, circular city buses, general buses, and seat buses.
For travel outside of Seoul, express buses are available at many of the bus terminals located near the outer perimeter of the city.


Cabs are available everywhere in Seoul. Fares are reasonable, although a long-distance ride can be quite expensive.
There are three types of taxis: 1) General taxis, 2) Deluxe taxis, and 3) Call taxis. Deluxe taxis provide a higher quality of service, but at a higher price (except between midnight and 4 a.m. when General taxis add a 20 percent surcharge). Deluxe taxis are black and have a yellow sign on the roof that displays the words “Deluxe Taxi.” Call taxis are vans that are equipped with foreign language interpretation phones and credit card processing terminals.  Tipping is not required for any taxi service.


Train travel in Korea is reliable, fast, comfortable, and moderately priced. You can purchase tickets at most travel agencies, the Seoul Railway Station, or the Korea Tourist Bureau. Trains have several classes for traveling, so you must know exactly where and in what class you wish to travel when you purchase tickets. More information, including schedules and fares, is posted on the Korail website. For frequent travelers, the Korean Railroad offers the Korean Railroad Pass, which can be used for unlimited train travel. Also, there is a discounted pass for international travelers.
Extracurricular Activities
Participating in extracurricular cultural and social activities while on UCEAP is an excellent way to meet people, improve your language skills, and integrate into the community. Join clubs, sports, musical, theater, or arts groups; volunteer at local organizations, attend lectures and receptions held in academic and community circles, and get the most out of your time abroad!
The Global Lounge contains various resources for international students. It serves as a hub where students gather and interact, and as a focal point for cultural activities, language exchange, and clubs for international students. It has televisions, computer terminals with Internet access, and study areas.  

Cultural Activities

The Study Center has information about cultural activities and recommends you get a listing of current events from the Korea Ministry of Tourism. Also, check the Royal Asiatic Society-Korea Branch (RASKB) for activities in English as well as resources for learning about Korean history and culture. They also provide lectures and tours to other cities in Korea and Asia that may be difficult to arrange on your own.


Korea celebrates a number of events and festivals throughout the year. Go to for information.
In addition, Yonsei hosts the spring festival and Akaraka concert. The spring festival celebrates Yonsei’s foundation day with performances, games, concerts, and more. The Yon-Ko fete during the fall festival, which started in 1945, is a famous tradition between Yonsei University and Korea University in which the two rival universities compete in six sports for two days. After the games there are festivities around each campus and surrounding neighborhoods.

Yonsei Student Clubs

There are more than 200 student and college-affiliated clubs centered on common interests such as athletics, academics, volunteer activities, and music. Joining a student club is a great way to interact with local students. There are club fairs in the beginning of each semester and you can sign up for the clubs on site.


National newspapers in English, The Korea Herald and The Korea Times, are available at many newsstands. Bookstores typically have limited sections with popular books and magazines in English. Yonsei’s library and Global Lounge offer a variety of publications in English. 


English-speaking religious services are available in Seoul. As a Christian-affiliated university, Yonsei offers chapel services, Bible studies, and religious retreats.

Performing Arts

There are many venues in Seoul for theater performances, live music, and cinema. You can enjoy plays, dance performances, and music ranging from classical to modern pop culture. For information on events, visit:


There is a wide array of goods for sale in Korea. Many students like to shop at the local markets such as namdaemun, dongdaemun, Myongdong, Itawon, and the EWHA Womans University area.

Sports and Outdoor Activities

You can participate in numerous sports and outdoor activities, including hiking, martial arts, swimming, and tennis. There are sport fields and a recreation center on campus as well as inexpensive private gyms in the Shinchon area. Also, you can hike Yonsei Mountain behind the New Millennium Hall.

Language Study

The Study Center arranges activities to assist with Korean language acquisition, including a Korean Speaking Club and a Language Buddy Program. The Language Buddy Program will pair you with a current Yonsei University student who will be coming to UC as a future reciprocity student.


​The Study Center’s volunteer club, UCEAP Angels, welcomes UCEAP students who are willing to volunteer on a regular basis. In this club, you may volunteer with Severance Children’s Hospital School, with major police stations’ culture classes for North Korean refugees, as an English teacher, or in other activities that may be arranged. More information will be available during the UCEAP on-site orientation.
Students with Disabilities
While in the Republic of Korea, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation different from what is found in the United States. ROK law mandates access to transportation, communication and public buildings for persons with disabilities, and the Korean government continues efforts to improve accessibility and accommodation for persons with disabilities.
Metro (subway) cars and buses in Seoul offer priority seating for the disabled. Most metro stations have escalators and elevators. Metro platforms include Braille inscriptions (in Korean) for the information and safety of individuals with visual disabilities. You are encouraged to contact individual bus companies and subway associations for more information. Cross walks typically have audio signals. These facilities can be found in certain places across the city, but they do not exist everywhere.  Older buildings and streets are generally less accessible to individuals with disabilities. 
It is important to notify UCEAP Systemwide early if you have a disability.
For more information, refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Students with Disabilities chapter.
Travel Sign-out Form
When you leave your host city for more than 24 hours, you must complete the online sign out through your MyEAP account. Click on Travel Signout and complete all required fields. During an emergency (abroad or in the U.S.), it is important for UCEAP officials to know where to reach you promptly.
The UCEAP student budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.

Travel within Korea

It is relatively easy to plan your travel from Seoul to other locales in Korea. There are many excellent travel books available.
Past UCEAP participants have found the following to be particularly useful: Lonely Planet Korea, Lonely Planet Seoul, and Guidebook for the International Traveler by the Ministry of Tourism.
The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) can be reached in the U.S. and Canada by calling (800) 868-7567 and has a useful website in English The KTO also operates a phone information service in the Republic of Korea, which traveling or resident U.S. citizens in Korea can reach by calling 1330 (02-1330 from cell phones) anywhere in the country. The phone service has English speakers and is available 24 hours every day throughout the year. The Seoul Global Center (SGC) also assists foreigners with an English-speaking help line at (02) 1688-0120. The SGC is open from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Monday to Friday. Please read the U.S. Department of State Background Notes on South Korea for additional information.
LGBTIQ Students
Consensual homosexual activity is not criminalized or specifically mentioned in Korea’s Constitution or civil penal code.  However, same-sex activity between military service members is punishable under the Military’s Penal Code.  Same-sex marriages or relationships are not legally recognized.  Korean citizens can legally change their gender identity.
Korea remains a conservative country in regards to LGBT issues. However, the LGBT community and awareness of LGBT issues are becoming more visible, particularly in Seoul.  Korea has an increasing number of LGBT-oriented clubs, festivals and non-governmental organizations that advocate for LGBT issues.  The ROK National Human Rights Commission Act prohibits discrimination against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation.  However, there are no laws specifying punishment for persons found to have discriminated against LGBT persons and societal discrimination exists against LGBT persons and persons with HIV/AIDS.

Risk mitigation strategies

  • Exercise caution during LGBT Pride events and festivals. 
  • Be cautious when engaging others in conversations about sexuality or LGBT issues.
  • Avoid public displays of attention.
  • If caught in a potentiallty violent situation, immediately seek shelter.
For more information,
Field Trips
The Study Center offers a field trip each term. Check the UCEAP Seoul Study Center website regularly for news and updates. The activities arranged by the Study Center are free and exclusively for UCEAP students. These field trips offer great opportunities to explore Korea and meet other UCEAP students. You have to sign up in advance for the UCEAP field trip during the designated sign-up period. It is important to check your e-mail and the UCEAP Seoul Study Center website often so you do not miss the chance to explore amazing life in Korea.
In addition to the study center field trip, Yonsei International Summer School coordinates a three-day field trip around South Korea prior to the summer program. It is designed to acquaint students with historic, scenic, and modern Korea. The field trip is optional and the cost is not included in your UCEAP fees. Reservations must be made in advance. More information is provided on the Yonsei website.
UCEAP Insurance
Before you travel:
Print and carry your insurance card at all times.
While abroad you are automatically covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy.  It is not the same as your campus or private insurance and it is not ACA compliant for domestic coverage.  The premium cost is paid by the University of California for UC students.  In addition to the previous link, you can read Benefits at a Glance. Familiarize yourself with the coverage and eligibility criteria
There is no deductible or co-insurance but the insurance works on a reimbursement basis. Do not assume that if you seek medical care abroad for a covered illness or injury that the local hospital will bill your insurance.  Generally, hospitals around the world, including the US, do not bill insurance companies.  It is the patient's responsibility to inquire with the hospital, at the time of service, and make arrangements to pay any outstanding bills. Payment for medical services abroad is ultimately your responsibility.  You can submit a claim for a refund of covered expenses to the UCEAP insurance carrier.
Coverage begins 14 days before the official start date of your UCEAP program term. Coverage ends 31 days after the official end of the UCEAP program term.
Staying Healthy
Local Medical Facilities
A high level of medical care comparable to that in other industrialized countries is available in Seoul. Adequate medical care is available in other areas.  However, not all doctors and staff in major urban areas are proficient in English.
A referral list of English-speaking health care providers is available from the U.S. embassy. You can use the Yonsei University Student Medical Center located on the second floor of the Student Union Building for primary medical treatment. More information is available on the Yonsei University Health System website.
During regular business hours, English-speaking doctors are available at the Severance International Health Care Center, which is part of the Yonsei University Student Medical Center system. You will be seen on an outpatient basis and referred to the appropriate department of the hospital if necessary. For emergencies outside of regular business hours, go to the emergency room at Severance Hospital.
The Seoul Global Center for Foreigners operates a 24-hour Medical Referral Service (MRS). Medically trained, English-speaking staff provides information and recommendations on medical facilities and services.
Korea has a very good hospital emergency response system similar to that of the U.S. However, Korean hospitals generally do not accept medical insurance, and normally expect advance payment for services in the form of cash or credit cards from foreigners. In an emergency situation, a hospital may possibly perform triage, but will generally refuse surgery without payment.
Korean ambulances do not carry sophisticated medical equipment and the ambulance personnel do not have the same level of emergency medical training as in the United States. However, ambulances operated by the fire department (dial 119) will respond very quickly and take patients to the nearest hospital.
Physical Health
With the change in diet, climate, and sanitation standards, you may experience an upset stomach or diarrhea until you adjust to the new environment. Food and beverage precautions are essential to reduce chance of illness. A factor that can lead to illness is the stress of adapting to a new lifestyle. Any kind of change is stressful—even if it is positive—and individuals tend to get sick more often.
Water in Korea is unsafe. It is subject to municipal, industrial, and agricultural pollutants. Municipal water treatment systems are inadequate and obsolete. Authorities assert that about 70 percent of the underground water in Seoul is unsuitable for drinking and 8 percent of it is unusable. Use water that has been boiled or purified or drink bottled water from a reputable provider.
  • Do not consume tap water, fountain drinks, or ice cubes. Drink only boiled water or beverages in sealed containers.
  • Avoid undercooked food and dairy products, unless you know they have been pasteurized..
Be prepared for sinus illnesses and allergies, which may be worse than in the U.S. due to heavy pollution in Seoul. As a UCEAP participant you have adequate insurance coverage.  For more information read the Insurance chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Read the Health chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Health web page for health risks present in the country where you will be studying. Know what to do if you get sick.
Good basic personal hygiene and hand washing are critical to help prevent the spread of illness and disease. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before eating.
Prescription Medications

Before Departure

If you will travel with prescription medications ensure that your medication is legal and/or available in Korea. For controlled substances, see below from the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.
While most medications are available and less expensive in Korea, pharmacies will not acknowledge U.S. prescriptions or the prescription bottle. Plan to take an adequate supply of your prescription medications for the duration of your time abroad if your treating physician can prescribe the full amount and the medication is legal. To transport prescription medications into Korea, you will need the following:
  • A copy of the prescription and a letter from your physician with your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regime.
  • A receipt of purchase of the medication.
  • Documentation that verifies the amount of time you will be staying in Korea (for example, a host university acceptance letter).
Pack your prescription medications in your carry-on luggage and store them in their original, labeled containers. Also, remember to bring a prescription for your glasses or contact lenses in case you need to get another pair while you are abroad. Medications that are prescribed by a licensed physician are covered by the UCEAP insurance; preventive care is not covered.

Prescription Medication from the U.S. Embassy in Korea

Information on Controlled Substances
Certain prescription drugs are considered controlled substances and subject to the regulations established by the Korean Food and Drug Administration and the Korean Customs Service.  The procedures outlined below for importing/shipping medications or hand-carrying medications into the Republic of Korea are subject to change without notice.  We recommend that you plan in advance and confirm the procedures with the relevant Korean authorities before bringing any drugs into the Republic of Korea.
Carrying prescription drugs into the Republic of Korea
For narcotic medications, visitors must submit a written application to the Narcotics Control Division of the Korean Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) before traveling.  Please contact the KFDA for application procedure and up-to-date information at 82-43-719-2813 or by e-mail at
For medications that do not contain narcotics or amphetamines, up to six bottles of medication (or equivalent to a three-month supply) will be permitted into Korea, provided they are for personal use only.  Visitors must bring the original prescriptions, a letter from your doctor specifying the medical condition, and a statement from your doctor on the medicines you are importing.
The Korean Customs Service at Incheon Airport has authority over which medications will be allowed to be carried into the country.  You may wish to consult with your U.S. doctor regarding substitute medicines, or sources of local equivalent medicines in Korea.
For more information, please look into their website
Mental Health
Speak with returnees and gather as much information as possible before you leave for Korea.
Do not be surprised to think, “It’s not what I expected.” Life in Korea is fast-paced with large crowds and noise. For diversion, UCEAP students have discovered that some sort of regular activity—whether with an interest group like a chorus or hiking club, or study of traditional dance, archery, or calligraphy—offers a way to get a break from textbooks. Ask for insight from locals and acknowledge that this is a valuable learning experience.
Culture shock and homesick feelings are normal. It is easy to become worn down from physical and mental stress due to the vastly different environment. Most students expect to quickly adapt to the new culture—and they need to adjust rapidly if they are to effectively meet the academic demands placed upon them. Culture shock is a normal developmental phase of adjustment to a new cultural environment. It is not a psychological disorder. Most students who experience culture shock function reasonably well under the stress and are able to keep up with the responsibilities of school and everyday life. Strong emotional reactions are normal responses to abnormal situations and are to be expected under the circumstances. They are usually transitory—lasting a couple of weeks—and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope.  To minimize stress levels, eat well, stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, share concerns with the Study Center staff, and be open and accepting of the differences you encounter. It will make your stay more enjoyable as you adapt to the new environment.
The UCEAP insurance will cover your visits to any physician. There is no co-pay or deductible.
Severance Hospital at Yonsei University provides mental health care services. You may go directly to the appropriate division or be referred through the Severance International Health Care Center.
For counseling in English, Seoul's Foreigners Community Service (FOCUS) can refer ou to trained and certified professionals. You can reach them by contacting their medical referral service at: 010-4769-8212 or 010-4750-8212. 
In addition, you can contact the UCEAP assistance provider, Europ Assistance/USA, for help with referals. To contact Europ Assistance: or place an international collect call at 001+ 202-828-5896. You can call using ​Korea Telecome 00-729-11 or ONSE 00-369-11.
Health Risks
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes information to advise international travelers of health risks including infectious diseases. Before departure, review the CDC Travelers’ Health website.

H5N1 Avian Flu

UCEAP continually reviews information from the CDC and World Health Organization, works closely with medical experts on the UC campuses, and monitors local host university and country health resources. It is important to exercise care while abroad and avoid poultry farms, contact with animals in live food markets, any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces or fluids from poultry or other animals, and eat only thoroughly cooked poultry products. Refer to the U.S. Embassy in Seoul for more information on avian influenza.
Food Allergies
Students with severe food allergies should take precautions, as the cuisine may include ingredients that can cause anaphylaxis in those affected. A language barrier increases the risks associated with severe food allergies.
Precautions to take include:
  • Research the local cuisine.
  • Discuss the risks with your doctor.
  • Carry symptom-reducing medications at all times, including epinephrine.
  • Wear a medical alert bracelet or tag with instructions for assistance in both English and the local language. Wearing medical identification at all times can help give you peace of mind that you are prepared should a life-threatening reaction occur.
  • Carry a card written in the local language that will warn food preparers about the allergy and possible reaction.
Staying Safe
Minimize Risk
​With the right information - and by thinking ahead - everyone can play a part in preventing being a victim of crime. There are some strategies you can practice anywhere in the world to minimize your risks. Personal safety starts with awareness. To be alert to potential dangers and risks to your well-being, you need to be aware of what is going on in your immediate environment. The choices you make about your behavior, attire, travel, personal property, relationships, etc., can directly influence your exposure to risk.
​Staying safe in another country is similar to staying safe in a large U.S. city. Understand the potential threats, know which neighborhoods to avoid, and remain vigilant. If you will be traveling, think about how you are getting to your destination and/or any travel inside a country.  Plan your itinerary carefully, let your friends and relatives know where you will be, and research the safest way to travel.  Car accidents are often a high risk in developing countries. Be proactive about your safety. Be prepared.
The University of California Education Abroad Program has established policies and procedures and contracted with emergency service and security providers, to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety. You play an active role in protecting your personal health, safety, and well-being. 
Steps to manage or minimize risk and avoid being a victim of a crime:
  • Stop and think.
  • Remain aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Be conscious of what is unusual or threatening. Trust your "gut feelings"; if you feel threatened, leave the area immediately and find somewhere more secure.
  • Research potential risks you can encounter while traveling. Read the UCEAP in the Guide to Study Abroad and the Program Guide. Also, you can find online information on the country through the U.S. Department of State.
  • Increase your safety and reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime by staying on top of your drinking.
  • Practice the buddy system, which promotes safety.  This system helps ensure that you, and a partner, will look out for each other.  Choose your buddy wisely.  The ideal buddy should feel that the buddy system is very important. If you are having a problem, your buddy can help to alert others and get you to safety.
  • Have a communication plan. Who will you call on site if you are facing an emergency? Do your friends and relatives know how to reach you when you are traveling?
Putting yourself, fellow students, or the reputation of the program at risk is cause for dismissal from UCEAP.
Register online with the U.S. embassy through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.

Emergency Ready Smartphone Application

The Republic of Korea’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has released the English language version of its “Emergency Ready” emergency preparedness app for smartphones.  While designed for Android or Apple smartphones, it also works on tablets, e.g., iPads. 
Both the Korean and English versions of the app are free, and permit users to make emergency 119 calls, to search for nearby emergency shelters based on the GPS coordinates of the device’s location, and to view educational videos related to First Aid, CPR, how to use fire extinguishers, etc. 
For more information, access the U.S. Embassy Travel Announcements and Security.
Crime & Prevention


The crime rate in the Republic of Korea is low. The crimes that occur most frequently (e.g., pick-pocketing, purse snatching, assault, hotel room and residential crime) occur more often in major metropolitan areas, tourist areas, and crowded markets. Please use caution in all crowded entertainment, nightlife, and shopping districts throughout Korea. Reduce the likelihood of becoming a crime victim by exercising the same type of security precautions you would take when visiting any large city in the United States.
Exercise caution when traveling alone at night. This includes using only legitimate taxis, such as black Deluxe cabs, or public transportation. Travel in groups when possible. If you are the victim of a crime while in Korea, immediately report the incident to UCEAP Study Center staff, local police, and the U.S. embassy.

Criminal Penalties

While in Korea, as in any foreign country, you are subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the U.S. Americans are not protected by U.S. laws while in Korea. Penalties for breaking the law abroad can be more severe than those enforced in the U.S. for similar offenses. If you violate the law, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. UCEAP and the U.S. Embassy are not able to intervene on your behalf.

Drugs and Alcohol

Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs in the Republic of Korea are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences, heavy fines, and deportation at the end of their sentence.
U.S. citizens in Korea have been arrested for past use of illegal drugs based on urine tests, hair samples, or other tests. Korean authorities frequently arrest U.S. citizens on drug charges by scanning suspicious packages sent through the mail and by using information provided by other persons charged with drug possession or use.
You will find different practices and attitudes towards drinking and smoking. Alcohol and cigarettes can be purchased by anyone over 19 years of age. There is high consumption of alcohol in the Korean nightlife culture. You do not need to conform to this aspect of Korean culture.
Alcohol will affect your judgement. Even a few drinks can make you take risks you would not otherwise have taken. Alcohol can, and frequently does, cause a person to lose all common sense when it comes to their own safety. Avoid becoming a victim when you do drink.
If you are out with someone new it is wise to consider how to keep yourself safe:
  • Make sure someone knows who you are meeting and where.
  • Have an exit strategy ready (such as a friend calling you).
  • Remember alcohol is the most common date rape drug.
  • Alcohol affects your behaviour and the messages you give out.
Violence and Antisocial Behavior
  • Don’t feel under pressure to drink until you are drunk.
  • Be aware that when drunk you may appear threatening to others – which in turn may impact on how they behave
    towards you.
Become familiar with the UCEAP Substance Abuse Policy.
Civil Unrest

Korean Peninsula Conflict

Decades after the end of the Korean War, the border between North and South Korea remains heavily guarded and the potential for conflict exists constantly. It is against the law for South Koreans to cross the border into North Korea. An international military force consisting mostly by U.S. or South Korean personnel is stationed on the so-called Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
Due to the political significance of South Korea, especially to the U.S., embassies may refrain from initiating all-personnel evacuation plans should a conflict arise on the Korean Peninsula, until the security situation deteriorates substantially. Therefore, it is important to educate yourself about UCEAP emergency plans.
Most incidents between the two countries are low-level military skirmishes, often naval. There have, however, been cases of South Korean fishermen being abducted by North Korean armed forces.


Sometimes demonstrations are held in Seoul to protest political or controversial issues. Although the majority of demonstrations are non-violent, the U.S. Department of State recommends that you minimize personal risks by exercising caution and avoiding areas in which demonstrations are being held.
Historically, Yonsei University has been the site of many student-organized protests, a practice that continues on a sporadic basis. If protests occur, you are advised to avoid the demonstration areas and to keep in close contact with the UCEAP Study Center staff.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
Criminal charges and hefty fines may be imposed on anyone involved in a traffic accident. Traffic fatalities per driver are significantly higher than in the U.S. Do not operate a vehicle while abroad, including motorbikes. In all accidents involving an automobile and a pedestrian or motorcycle, the driver of the automobile, regardless of citizenship, is presumed to be at fault. There are many forms of public transportation available in Seoul.

Road Safety

Korea’s roads are generally well paved and traffic signals are functional. Causes of accidents include excessive speed, frequent lane changes without signaling, running red lights, aggressive bus drivers, and weaving motorcyclists.

Pedestrian Safety

  • Motorcyclists sometimes drive on the sidewalks. 
  • Drivers of all types of vehicles do not always yield to pedestrians in marked crosswalks.
  • Use pedestrian underpasses and overpasses where available.

Public Transportation

Most forms of transportation in South Korea are reliable and relatively secure. The greatest threat is petty crime, particularly at night or during rush hours, and traffic accidents, which occasionally occur on intercity and local buses.
Environmental Hazards
The Republic of Korea has only experienced very minor earthquakes with minimal or no damage in recent history. The monsoon season runs from June to August. Damages from flooding vary from year to year, but flooding is a problem primarily in rural areas.
In September 2010, Typhoon Kompasu, the strongest to hit Seoul in 15 years, killed at least three people and injured dozens more. More than 120 flights were cancelled, and power cuts hit major parts of the subway network.
UCEAP Travel Warning
  • The United States does not maintain diplomatic or consular relations with North Korea.
  • North Korea has imposed heavy fines and long prison sentences with hard labor on persons who entered the country without the proper documentation. Even with the proper documentation, visitors may be subject to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment and may not receive appropriate legal protection against inhumane treatment.
  • UCEAP restricts anyone traveling to The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea or the DPRK). 
  • North Korean security personnel may regard as espionage unauthorized or unescorted travel inside North Korea and unauthorized attempts to speak directly with North Korean citizens.  
​The threat of a border conflict between North and South Korea exists. It is against the law for South Koreans to cross the border into North Korea. Most heightened incidents between the two countries are low-level military skirmishes, often naval. An international military force is stationed on the so-called Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), although mostly by U.S. or South Korean personnel.
UCEAP Contingency Planning
If a local situation requires increased caution or a program suspension and evacuation of participants, UCEAP will activate contingency plans. For security reasons, contingency plans are not public and cannot be shared with anyone except UCEAP officials.

Program Suspension Policy

If the U.S. Department of State or CDC issues a Travel Warning after the start date of the program term, UCEAP may suspend the program. If time and local security conditions permit, UCEAP will consult with the UC Study Center Director, U.S. Embassy, U.S. Department of State regional and security analysts, other organizations that offer programs in the same country, and area experts to determine the appropriate timeframe for suspending the program and/or for the evacuation of the students from the host country.

Security Evacuation

The UCEAP required security evacuation will override any host institution, or local US Embassy voluntary departure on U.S. government-arranged flights, that require U.S. citizens to sign a promissory note with the government. The safe evacuation of UCEAP students, managed by UCEAP, is covered by UCEAP insurance (there is no cost to the student). UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
Fire Safety
Follow these general fire safety tips. Most college-related fires in the U.S., are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention. Educate yourself about fire safety standards in your UCEAP country. Fire safety standards differ drastically around the world.
  • Know where emergency exists are located and check whether exits are passable.
  • Know how to call the local fire department.
  • Do not stay in housing above the sixth floor so you are within range of most fire department rescue ladders.
  • Print and take with you the UCEAP brochure, Fire Safety 101 for Students.
  • Purchase and use a smoke detector. Before departure contact the Fire Safety Foundation to purchase Fire Safety Kits and Passport to Safety. Choose from a variety of battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, including models with sealed, 10-year batteries. Once purchased, the alarms and a multilingual installation manual – written in English and the host country’s native language - will be shipped to the address where you are residing.
  • Have an escape plan and practice it.
  • Treat every smoke alarm activation as a likely fire and react quickly and safely to the alarm.
  • Check for fire hazards. Make sure exit routes are not blocked.
  • If you have a disability, alert others of the type of assistance you need to leave the building.
  • Refer to the Fire Safety section of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad for life-saving information.
Fire - Dial 119
Assembly Points and Evacuation Plan
The UCEAP Study Center has designated assembly points at Yonsei University if there is an immediate threat and students need to move to another area for safety or evacuation. Assembly points and an evacuation plan will be reviewed with you during on-site orientation.
In the rare event that an evacuation would be necessary, the UCEAP security and travel assistance providers will work with you and the Study Center. Evacuation events, by their nature, are extremely chaotic and highly stressful. When there is sufficient warning, the evacuation will be staged, hopefully via commercial aircraft (to be determined). When there is no warning of civil disorder and an immediate evacuation becomes necessary, UCEAP students will be evacuated by the safest and most expeditious method available.
Once UCEAP Systemwide makes the decision, hopefully in consultation with the Study Center Director, it is UCEAP’s responsibility to communicate this decision to the Study Center Director, parents, and the students.
Given the hectic, confusing, and oftentimes quick pace of events around an evacuation, it is very difficult to establish continuous communications will all students. Therefore, students, Study Center Director, and UCEAP Systemwide officials have a shared responsibility for distributing time sensitive messages regarding an emergency evacuation.
In An Emergency

What Is an Emergency?

An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. The following are considered emergencies:
  • Any life/death situation
  • A traumatic event requiring immediate assistance
  • An arrest
  • Civil unrest or natural disaster in the host country

In an Emergency

Contact local emergency services first and then contact the following:

If you are in the U.S.

  • During office hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Time): Contact your Program Specialist at the UCEAP Systemwide Office
  • After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone number at (805) 893-4762
If you are abroad
Carry the local emergency contact information at all times:
Police. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .112
Fire and ambulance. . . . . . . . . 119
Medical issues. . . . . . . . . . . . .1339
(If calling from a cell phone, first dial “02” before the number.)
If you do not speak Korean, you may be connected to an English-speaking interpreter. You can also dial 1330 for emergency interpretation services.
If you have a health or safety emergency and do not have access to local or UCEAP representative emergency information, contact the UCEAP assistance provider, Europ Assistance/USA, available 24/7:

U.S. Embassy in Seoul

The American Citizen Services (ACS) unit at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul provides many services and information to U.S. citizens. ACS maintains a list of the most recent security information for American citizens living in Korea. To view previous security information or sign up for notification messages via e-mail, visit their website.
Embassy of the United States, Seoul
32 Sejongno, Jongno-gu
Seoul 110-710, Rep. of Korea
Emergency phone: 011-82-2-397-4114
Severance International Clinic: (0)2-2228-5800
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