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Expat Parents' Guide to Schooling in South Korea: Tuition Costs and Enrollment


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Relocating to a new country is always a challenge, especially when it comes to ensuring your children receive a quality education. As an expat parent in South Korea, you have several options for your child's schooling, including foreign schools, public schools, and international kindergartens. This guide will help you navigate these choices and find the best fit for your family.


Why Send Your Kids to a Foreign or International School?

Foreign schools offer an educational environment that aligns closely with what your child would experience in your home country. These schools typically follow international curricula such as the International Baccalaureate (IB), American, British, or other national systems. This consistency can make the transition smoother for your child and ensure they are well-prepared for higher education, whether in Korea or abroad. Additionally, foreign schools provide a multicultural environment with children from all over the world (including Korean nationals). This can help your child develop both a global perspective and strong language skills.


Potential Drawbacks of Foreign and International Schools in Korea


However, there are some downsides to consider when sending your kids to a foreign or international school. These schools can be quite expensive, with annual tuition fees often ranging from ₩20 million to ₩50 million, which can be a significant financial burden. Students may also miss out on learning about Korean history and culture in-depth, which is usually covered in local schools.


Why a Public School Option is Also a Good Choice


Sending your child to a public school in Korea can be an enriching experience, offering a unique opportunity to immerse them in Korean culture and language. Public schools in Korea are known for their high academic standards and rigorous curriculum. While foreign children might face challenges adjusting due to language barriers, many schools offer support programs to help with this transition (HANULTARI is a good place to start!). Public schools are also more affordable, with tuition-free education at the elementary level, excluding lunch costs.


Entrance Qualifications for Foreign/International Schools


International schools in Korea cater primarily to children of foreign residents, nationals who have returned after living abroad, and naturalized Koreans who may face challenges adapting to the Korean public school system. To enroll in an international school, at least one of the following criteria must be met:

  • Nationals who have lived overseas for more than three years

  • Children with one or both foreign parents

Some schools may require an entrance test and a student and parent interview as part of the admission process.


International Schools in South Korea by Region


Seoul

All Districts

School Name

Ages

Curriculum

Yearly Tuition (Approx. KRW)

Yearly Tuition (Approx. USD)

3-18

American

3-18

IB, British

5-18

American, Christian

5-18

American, Christian

4-18

American, Christian

3-18

British

5-18

International

2-18

IB, British, Christian

4-18

IB

3-18

American

5-18

French

3-18

American, Christian

4-14

International

N/A

N/A

4-18

American

3-18

IB

12-18

American

N/A

N/A

2-18

German, International

3-18

American

N/A

N/A

6-18

Christian, Canadian

N/A

N/A

3-18

French

6-18

Canadian

N/A

N/A

3-18

American, Christian

13-18

American

N/A

N/A

6-18

IB, British

6-18

American, Christian

N/A

N/A

3-11

Chinese

N/A

N/A

Gyeongsangnam-do

Gyeonggi-do

Jeju-do

Daejeon

Gwangju

Jeollabuk-do

Gyeongsangbuk-do

Busan

Daegu


Choosing the right educational path for your child in South Korea requires considering curriculum, cultural integration, and costs. Korea offers diverse options from foreign schools to public schools and international kindergartens. Always remember to reach out to schools directly to get the most accurate and up-to-date information on enrollment procedures and requirements.


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