Approx. Time Difference
Add 16 hours
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.
While UCEAP endeavors to keep the information updated and accurate, all program information should be considered in conjunction with program-specific operational correspondence which may contain the most up to date information. There may be times where UCEAP will need to change this information and it will often be updated online. Student is responsible for reviewing all information shared through the program guides and by UCEAP staff in California and abroad, and partners abroad. UCEAP reserves the right to make changes to its programs, whenever, in our sole judgment local conditions so warrant, in response to local circumstances that could substantially change some parts of the program, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of our program participants.
Click a heading below to see section content.
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 Staff 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).
Student Finance Accountant
UCEAP Systemwide Office
6950 Hollister Avenue, Suite 200
Goleta, CA 93117-5823
Phone: (805) 893-4762; Fax: (805) 893-2583
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.
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. Michael Kim, Liaison Professor
UCEAP Korea, Seoul Study Center
Room 102, Student Union Annex Building, Yonsei University,
50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, 03722, Korea
Ms. Joey Choi, Study Center Coordinator
Phone (calling from the U.S.): (011-82-2) 2123-4713
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
Approximate Time Difference
Add 17 hours
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 and science courses.
This program offers coursework taught in English and Korean, as well as Korean language study. The programs also features community service and internship opportunities for academic credit. See the sections below for additional information.
- Full-time course of study; minimum of 21 UC quarter units each term; maximum of 27 UC quarter units each term. Most UCEAP students take 22.5 UC quarter units (usually four or five courses).
- A Korean language course each term (unless you are fluent)
- Korean language placement exam at the start 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).
- You may take a maximum of 40% of your units on the Pass/No Pass grading option; typically one KLI course or two regular courses. This is done in MyEAP only.
Sample MyEAP Study Lists
UC quarter units are calculated by multiplying Yonsei University units by 1.5. (3 Yonsei units equal 4.5 UC quarter units). Most courses are 3 Yonsei University units. 14 Yonsei University units equal 21 UC quarter units.
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.
UCEAP students take a variety of courses at the Sinchon campus of Yonsei University. International Campus courses are not open to exchange (UCEAP) students.
Many UCEAP students take the semi-intensive Korean language course (9 quarter/6 semester UC units) plus three Yonsei University courses (13.5 quarter/9 semester UC units) to meet the UCEAP minimum unit requirement.
Registration and the Yonsei Portal Service
You will preregister for your courses through the Yonsei Portal Service. There are three phases to course registration. These will be reviewed in your predeparture webinar and you will receive instructions by email regarding Yonsei University preregistration procedures one to two months before departure.
There is an add/drop period after arrival; however, many courses fill up and space will not be available in certain courses or departments for adding after arrival. It is best to register for more courses than needed and drop courses after arrival.
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 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 Yonsei University 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.). This is not the UCEAP subject area code.
- 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, as needed.
Hints on reading your results:
- Semester: year and term it was taught. 20171 is spring of 2017. 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. This field is helpful in determining lower or upper-division credit. 1 and 2 are beginning courses and are usually lower division; 3 and 4 are for advanced students and are usually upper division. The courses with a 0 are for all students and can be upper or lower depending on the content. Many of the 0 courses are lower-division for UCEAP.
- Course Code: Indicates the department and a course number. The course numbers don't necessarily correlate with a year or level for UCEAP. Click on the purple button next to the course code for course details.
- 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. The c code indicates the course is at the International Campus which are not open to exchange (UCEAP) students. Check the codes in the reference column to ensure the course is open to exchange students.
The amount of information about each course varies in the portal. Full syllabi are provided only during the first week of class to students enrolled.
It is the student's responsibility to ensure that they have the requisite knowledge to succeed in a course. Yonsei University departments do not always check if exchange (UCEAP) students meet prerequisites before allowing them to enroll in courses. Some departments require a student to meet with the instructor during the add/drop period to enroll in a course with prerequisites.
Courses Taught in English
An increasing number of courses taught in English are offered by the Yonsei University departments, including business, economics, computer science, engineering, history, communications, Korean art history, 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, if any, courses in the biological or physical sciences taught in English.
Underwood International College (UIC)
The curriculum in the Underwood International College
(UIC) is taught in English and is for degree-seeking international students. Exchange (UCEAP) students 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 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 taught on the Sinchon campus 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. Degree-seeking international students take their advanced classes at the International Campus which is not open to exchange/visiting students.
Office of International Affairs (IEE) courses
The Office of International Affairs offers special courses taught in English for exchange (UCEAP) and other visiting students. These courses have an IEE code. Many of these courses are assigned lower-division credit by UCEAP as they are designed to introduce exchange/visiting students to various aspects of Korea.
Be careful when enrolling in UIC and IEE courses if you plan on using the courses to fulfill major requirements at UC. The course number does not indicate the level of the course. For example, IEE3131, Politics and Society of North Korea, is a lower-division course as it introduces a wide range of topics on North Korea.
To find the assigned division, check the MyEAP Course Catalog. If the course has been previously taken, it will be listed.
Courses Taught in Korean
If you are fluent in Korean (native speaker) or 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.
Korean Language Study
Korean 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. Beginning and intermediate courses are lower division and advanced courses are upper division. These courses are 9 UC quarter units each and meet for two hours per day (4 to 6 pm), 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 UC quarter units each). These are offered through other schools or departments at Yonsei University. Korean Language and Culture 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, participation, term papers, group and individual 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 averages 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.
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
, 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, 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.
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
, are excellent resources. You will also need to understand the local culture and history and keep up with current events. These sources should help you prepare before departure.
"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
Improve Your Language Skills
This program does not require previous Korean language study; however, past participants recommend learning a few phrases prior to departure. The following are good methods to prepare:
- Read Korean newspapers and magazines.
- Watch Korean movies with English subtitles.
- Keep up with Korean current events by reading articles in newspapers, magazines, and journals.
- Read a book or two in Korean, preferably one fiction and one nonfiction.
- Seek out people fluent in Korean for conversations and vocabulary practice.
- Keep a journal of Korean phrases, expressions, whole sentences, and structures that you would like to add to your vocabulary and practice them aloud.
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
You are responsible for making your own transportation arrangements to and from Korea (even if you receive 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.
Program dates and arrival information are posted on the UCEAP website. Failure to appear on the Official Start Date is cause for dismissal from the program (Student Agreement, Student Conduct section). When traveling, always carry your passport, visa, ticket, prescription medications, and money. Never put valuables in your checked luggage.
The Official Arrival and Start Date 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 unrecoverable 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).
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
- Health and Safety
- Emergency Preparedness
Attendance at all orientation sessions is mandatory and you are responsible for following up with all procedures and deadlines.
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
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
UCEAP strongly recommends purchasing changeable round trip tickets, which will allow you to make changes to your return flight for a fee. UCEAP discourages purchasing one way tickets, as your Program Budget is based on a changeable round trip student fare, which is generally less expensive. Carefully research airfare rules prior to purchasing a flight. Standby and courier fares are not appropriate. Plan for this expense. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid office will reserve or pay for your ticket. If you are on financial aid, you will need to purchase a plane ticket before you receive a financial aid disbursement.
Most airline tickets are good for one year only. When buying round-trip tickets, purchase tickets that allow changes to the return date. 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.
You must arrive on the Official Start Date of the program. Incheon International Airport is 90 minutes from Seoul, and most students 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 Pre-Departure 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, Arrival Information). 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 calculated using your specific UCEAP Program Budget. The estimated round-trip airfare amount is based on the cost of a changeable student ticket to your host country. If your independent travel costs are greater than the airfare estimate in the UCEAP Program 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.
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.
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.
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.
Undocumented Students and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Students
Consult with an immigration attorney free of charge on your campus to determine if study abroad is right for you.
If you are currently enrolled as a student at UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Barbara, or UC Santa Cruz, contact the UC Undocumented Legal Services Center at https://law.ucdavis.edu/uc-undocumented/
The UCEAP Program 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
- 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
Consider having additional protection for your property. In spite of your best efforts, it is still possible to experience loss, theft, or accidents that will damage your belongings while traveling. Talk to your parents and analyze their family homeowners’ insurance to determine whether the items brought or bought while abroad are covered by their policy.
UCEAP Travel Insurance policy offers limited personal property coverage. UCEAP strongly recommends that you examine the details of the UCEAP Travel Insurance benefits and purchase additional property insurance coverage, especially to protect high cost items such as laptop computers, Smartphones, tablets, and other valuables. Review the policy carefully before departure and determine if it provides adequate coverage for your possessions before you experience a loss.
If you decide to purchase supplemental personal property coverage, do so before departure and make sure that the coverage extends while traveling 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. Use logical precautions to safeguard valuables from damage or theft by locking your room and securing currency, jewelry, passport, and other possessions. 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.
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
- Who Can and How to make payments to UCEAP
- UCEAP student account information(what fees do I pay to UCEAP and what fees do I pay out of pocket?)
- 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 Program Budget and Payment Schedule located on the second page of your UCEAP Program Budget
. Program fees are subject to change.
Your UCEAP Program 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 Program Budget frequently. The Payment Schedule is on the second page of the UCEAP Program Budget.
- Download and print your UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule.
- Note the deadlines on the Payment Schedule.
- Give the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule 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.
Refund of Credit balances and Financial Aid Disbursements:
If you are signed up for Direct Deposit on your UC campus, it is not linked to your MyEAP account. You must sign up for eRefund with UCEAP to receive direct deposits from your MyEAP account. For more information, see the UCEAP eRefund Instructions
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.
Students can 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 they will reimburse you for any ATM fees incurred.
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 at money exchange offices, banks, and some tourist information centers. Your passport is required to exchange money.
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.
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
- MSN or online messenger
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.
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 or off-campus housing such as DMC Ville
. Homestays are not common in Korea.
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|
||Single and double rooms|
|Limited number of facilities, but have access to SK Global House 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.
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
There is no student discount on public transportation as college students are considered adults.
However, there is a public transportation card called T-Money that offers a discount. The discount applies to anyone who uses a non-cash method of payment (T-Money, credit card, U-Pass, etc). You can find more information here
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.
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.
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.
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 with local organizations, attend lectures and receptions held in academic and community circles, and get the most out of your time abroad!
Yonsei's 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.
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 Korea.net
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.
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.
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, EAP 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:
Leaving your host city for more than 24 hours?
You are required to 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 how to reach you so we can help you.
The UCEAP program 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. Read the U.S. Department of State Background Notes
on South Korea for additional information.
You may engage in part-time work for non-academic credit of no more than 20 hours a week during your second semester of study. You must have a D-2 or D-4 visa, be a year student, and be employed only during your second semester at Yonsei. You must also have the approval of the Seoul UC Study Center and a permit from the Immigration Office. It is not permissible to miss a class, field trip, or other academic activity because of a job. Remember that language courses, club activities, and dormitory activities are time-consuming and demanding.
Internships for academic credit are covered in the Academic Information section of this guide.
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,
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
Know Before you Go
While abroad you are automatically covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy
. 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.
The UCEAP travel insurance does not include coverage for preventative care, checkups, and vaccinations.
Read details in Benefits at a Glance
. Familiarize yourself with the coverage, exclusions, and eligibility criteria. Your travel insurance policy number is ADDN 04834823. It is underwritten by Chubb Insurance Company.
There is no deductible or co-insurance but the travel insurance works on a reimbursement basis.
You can submit a claim for a refund consideration of covered expenses. For more information about the medical claim proces
or about non-medical claims
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 (unless there is a special arrangement with a local hospital in your UCEAP country). It is your 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.
For more information refer to your Pre-Departure Checklist, Insurance tab, or the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Insurance chapter
For Questions about Coverage, Benefits and Claims Status
ACI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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.
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 travel insurance coverage.
If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits and coverage information contact ACI at email@example.com
. For information about the claims process, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Insurance chapter
Know Before you Go
Inform yourself before you travel. Just as language and currency vary around the world, so does medical care. Know what to do if you get sick.
Read the Health chapter
of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
and your Program Guide for important information to plan for a healthy stay abroad.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Health
web page has important information about health risks present in the country where you will be studying.
- If you need a refill while in Korea, you must see a local doctor to get a similar prescription that a local pharmacy will fill. It will be critical to have a letter from a U.S. doctor during this appointment explaining your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen.
- In some cases, the local physician will need to confirm your diagnosis before issuing a prescription. Note that a doctor's visit to get refills may not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance. If you need to find out if this appointment would be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance, contact ACI at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the UCEAP travel insurance, refer to your UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Insurance tab.
Before Departure - Carrying Prescription Drugs into the Republic of 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.
- Talk to your doctor to see whether he/she can prescribe an adequate supply of your prescription medication to last through the end of the program.
- For narcotic medications, you must submit a written application to the Narcotics Control Division of the Korean Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) before traveling. Contact the KFDA for application procedure and up-to-date information at 82-43-719-2813 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
- Prescription amphetamines are illegal in Korea. Ask your doctor to switch your medication. Otherwise, you will need to get an advance permission from the Korean Food and Drug Administration. Contact for application procedures and updated information at 82-43-719-2813 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. The Korean Customs Service at Incheon Airport has authority over which medications will be allowed to be carried into the country.
- Always carry medications in their original containers.
- Have a letter from the prescribing physician indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen.
Pharmacies are plentiful and first-rate, and most prescribed medications, except psychotropic medications, can be obtained with a local prescription. Medicines often have a different brand name than in the United States.
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.
If you are currently in treatment in the U.S., discuss your UCEAP program details with your doctor so you can work on a plan in case you need to reach out for care. If you are taking a prescription medication, talk with your prescribing physician before departure about getting the supply you need for going abroad. For information about traveling with medications, refer to the Prescription Medications section in this guide.
Your mental health is important to us all. Create a plan with your treating doctor. Managing your mental health while studying abroad – whether or not you have a pre-existing condition – is something every person must think about when going abroad. Being away from usual stress at home can sometimes be a relief when abroad; experiencing new adventures can be a useful distraction. You will also have times when you feel confused, uncomfortable, annoyed, and many of the same emotions that you manage in your daily life at home.
Cultural adjustment and homesickness are normal. They are usually transitory—lasting a couple of weeks—and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope. Most students who experience culture adjustment function reasonably well under the stress and are able to keep up with the responsibilities of school and everyday life.
You may feel homesick or sad. Feeling down, anxious, homesick, depressed or stressed might be your body’s reaction to the new environment and different life away from your usual support network. Don't cope alone. Reach out for help to the local UCEAP program staff and your friends. If you have been feeling unhappy for longer than a few days, or it is staring to affect your enjoyment of
life and/or your studies, then you should see a doctor immediately.
The UCEAP travel insurance policy
covers outpatient visits as any other illness up to $500,000; there is no co-pay or deductible, and you can make an appointment with any doctor. Budget for this expense as you must pay up front and submit a claim to the insurance company for a refund consideration. Doctors, hospitals, and clinics will require you to pay bills at the time of treatment. You must then submit a completed claim form and paid receipts to the UCEAP insurance company. For information about the claims process, access Insurance Claims Process
. If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits contact ACI at email@example.com.
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
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
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:
For more information, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
, Health chapter
, Allergies section.
Air pollution routinely exceeds recommended thresholds in urban areas. Individuals with asthma or chronic cardiorespiratory conditions should consult with a healthcare provider and carry necessary medications. On days when air quality is particularly poor, affected individuals should take personal precautions to reduce respiratory stress.
You play an active role in protecting your personal health, safety, and well-being. Consider an action plan.
With the right information - and by thinking ahead - everyone can play a part in minimizing or preventing personal risks. Take time to assess the risks, plan ahead to reduce them, and think how you would lessen the consequences if things go wrong. Start by outlining activities you plan to engage in through your program and/or during independent travel; label the risk and rate it based on the likelihood of harm and the severity of consequences. Consider measures you can take to reduce the severity and chance. Plan your itinerary carefully, let your friends and relatives know where you will be, and research the safest way to travel.
The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) has established policies and procedures and has contracted with emergency assistance and security providers, to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety.
Be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate and unpredictable terrorist attacks, which make it impossible to protect yourself from. Remain vigilant in all public areas in your UCEAP city and country and wherever you travel. Many terrorist groups, seeking publicity for political causes within their own country or region, are not looking for student or higher education targets.
Terrorist attacks using vehicles are very hard to prevent and appear to be on the rise. If you are in a crowded public place, know how you can exit quickly, identify barriers or safe places where you can shelter-in-place, and watch out for any vehicles that appear to be going at very high speed.
Report anything suspicious to local authorities. Read all security-related correspondence and advice from local staff. Schedule direct flights, if possible. Avoid stops in high-risk airports or areas. Minimize time spent in the public area of an airport, which is a less protected area. Keep a mental note of safe havens, such as police stations, hotels, and hospitals. Have a plan for what you will do in the case of an emergency. If you are ever caught in a situation where somebody starts shooting, follow the active shooter guidelines: drop to the floor, get down as low as possible, and hide if possible. Cover yourself behind a solid object. Silence your phone. Do not move until the danger has passed.
Steps to manage or minimize risk and enhance your personal safety
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.
Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment
member of the UCEAP community should be aware that the University
prohibits sexual violence and sexual harassment, retaliation, and other
prohibited behavior (“Prohibited Conduct”) that violates law and/or
University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively
to reports of Prohibited Conduct and will take appropriate action to
prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that
violates this Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. Report to
UCEAP staff and/or partners if you suspect one of these
behaviors has occurred.
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.
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 judgment. 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 behavior 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
Korean Peninsula Conflict
An armistice agreement, monitored by the United Nations, has maintained general peace on the Korean peninsula since 1953. Tensions have occasionally flared up because of provocative acts by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, including ballistic missile tests, nuclear tests, and limited armed incursions into ROK-held territory. Some of these provocations have escalated into geographically limited skirmishes taking place primarily around isolated islands off the northwest coast of the ROK.
The Republic of Korea maintains a high level of readiness to respond to any military threats from the DPRK. Military training exercises are routinely conducted throughout the Republic of Korea during the year and include civil defense drills, which are normally held four times a year. The DPRK often issues strongly-worded and threatening messages in connection with these exercises.
The Republic of Korea (ROK) is a modern democracy with active public political participation, and political demonstrations are common. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational. Avoid demonstrations whenever possible, and exercise caution if you find yourself caught up in one.
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.
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.
There are many considerations when traveling by water.
- Make sure there is a life jacket for your personal use. Ask the crew.
- Remain seated---the vessel can move and sway if water conditions change.
- Take a minute when you board to locate the exits and life jackets.
- Avoid travel during inclement weather.
- If you board a vessel that you feel is overcrowded or unsafe, disembark immediately.
- Is the public address system functioning?
- Do not go on deck in bad weather.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
Korean Civil Emergency Exercises and Advice
The South Korean authorities sometimes hold civil emergency exercises. Sirens are sounded, transport stopped and some people are asked to take shelter indoors, including in designated metro stations or basements. Shelters in Seoul are marked with a special symbol. Participation by foreign nationals in these exercises isn’t obligatory but you should follow any instructions by local authorities during any exercises.
The South Korean government has developed a smartphone application with civil emergency advice, including shelter locations, different types of alarms, medical facilities and emergency services. Search for ‘emergency ready app’ on Android or Apple app stores.
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. 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 UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Fire Safety section for life-saving information.
Fire - Dial 119
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 Advisory 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, UC security provider, 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.
The UCEAP required security evacuation will override any host institution, or local US Embassy evacuation 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 and its security providers, is covered by UCEAP itravel nsurance. UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
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.
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 at (805) 893-4762.
- After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone numbers at (805) 893-4762 or (805) 882-2086.
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.
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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