Sunday, October 18, 2015

How to Apply for the Geumgang University Korean Language Program



My post about Geumgang University earlier this year continues to be the most popular article that I’ve written for my blog to date, which has prompted numerous emails from people asking for more details about this scholarship program that I was fortunate enough to have been a part of during the Spring 2015 semester. Unfortunately, there is a lack of information about this program to be found online, much to the detriment to both the university, and to future students interested in pursuing their studies.

To help remedy some of these troubles, I intend to have this blog post answer as many questions that people may have about attending this scholarship program. This post is not meant to substitute the information found already online on the Geumgang University website, but simply to supplement it.  

What is Geumgang University’s Korean Language Program?

Founded in 2002, Geumgang University is a South Korean Buddhist university run by the Cheontae Buddhist sect located in Guinsa, which aims to provide a comprehensive education for some of the brightest students in the country, free of cost. With a focus on International Trade & Public Administration, Buddhist Studies and Social Welfare, and Liberal Arts, the university also extends its scholarship program to foreign nationals through their Korean Language Program. While the university is small (about 600 students are attending this school at the time of this writing), the administration is considering plans to expand the campus and the classes offered.

Who qualifies?

The Korean Language Program, offered by the Geumgang Language Center, is open to those foreign students, including ethnic Koreans, who are interested in the Korean language and culture. Applicants must be fluent speakers of English, Japanese, or Chinese, and they should:

(1) be currently enrolled in university studies,
(2) be on leave from university studies, OR
(3) have graduated from university.

This means that if you have attended university at any time, whether it was for one semester, or if you already have your degree, you qualify for the scholarship.

Course breakdown

The Korean Language major is broken up into three parts: a beginner, intermediate, and advanced class. Each class is held Tuesday through Friday, from 8:30AM to 12:30PM. All classes use Korean as the language of communication, even the beginning classes, and students are highly encouraged to partake in extracurricular activities at the university. In addition to normal classes, there are occasional field trips to local events. In the past, we’ve gone to make bibimbap in Jeonju, visit the West Sea, and go on an overnight temple stay at Guinsa. Students from all courses are also required to give a midterm presentation on a topic, along with a final exam that is a near-equivalent to the TOPIK exam.

Spring session starts from March 1st and lasts for 15 weeks, while fall session begins on September 1st and lasts for 15 weeks.

A breakdown of the courses follows below:

This class is perfect for complete beginners that can’t read Korean, to having the ability to communicate familiar topics at a conversational level. Uses the Sogang 1A/1B textbook series, and teaches how to read/write Korean.

Students who enter this class should have strong foundations, and the ability to create complex sentences with and/but/because/so/etc, and beyond. Uses the Sogang 3B/4A textbook series, and requires essay writing and research presentations within class.

This class focuses on complex grammar and idioms, and starts to prepare students for the ability to digest information using professional level Korean. The class uses the Sogang 5A/5B textbook series, while students give daily presentations and research projects.

How do you apply?

Application Process:
(1) Application period
For Spring semester, from November to December
For Fall semester, from May to June
(2) Submit documents by email to
(3) Alternatively, you may send mail to "Geumgang Language Center of Geumgang University, 522 Sangweol-ro, Sangweol-myeon, Nonsan-si, Chungnam, 320-931, South Korea."

Up-to-date documents can be found by going to

About the video: describe a bit about yourself, who you are, and why you would be an excellent candidate into the program is needed to enter the program. You can check out my application video here.

Interview process:
(a) The committee will evaluate the applicants based on the documents submitted and phone-interview (if necessary).
(b) Notification of acceptance and the sending the certificate of admission will happen at the beginning of July and January.

How much does it cost?

While the university does offer free tuition for all of its students, please note that it does not cover the cost of fees such as room and board.
Expenses and Scholarships (for one semester) 

  • Tuition : 1,500,000 KRW (free, to be completely covered by the university)
  • Cultural classes tuition : 60,000 KRW(15,000 KRW * 4times)
  • Books : 70,000 KRW
  • Meals : 3,500 KRW/Each Meal (Students are required to pay around 475,000 KRW as part of a meal plan at the beginning of the semester, which covers only lunch and dinner Monday-Thursday. You must pay extra for breakfast and all meals during Friday-Sunday.)
  • Dormitory fee : 525,000 KRW
  • Dormitory membership fee : 25,000 KRW
  • Insurance fee : Approximately 200,000 KRW (6 months)
  • Alien registration fee : 60,000 KRW (Immigration office)
  • Airfare and transportation : Can vary greatly depending on the country you travel from.

Altogether, students are expected to pay, at minimum, 1,415,000 KRW (or $1,250 USD) in order to study at the university. This does not include the cost of transportation, please account for that.

To help with costs, the university also provides a “partnership” program, in which students will meet with 3-4 students throughout the week, in order to teach lessons in English/Chinese/Japanese to help supplement their language abilities for class. At the end of the month, a deposit of 150,000-200,000 KRW will be placed into your account. This will offset around 800,000 KRW of the cost of the program.

How is accommodation? 


Accommodation is split between three dormitories; one female and male dorms, and a new dorm that’s separated a bit from the rest of the school. In each room, you will be paired with a Korean student who is studying in one of the other majors. Also located within each dorm are a laundry room, recreation room, study room, and computer room. In the (somewhat) combined dorms, you can also find a billiard room, karaoke room, cafeteria, convenience store, and gym.

Note for all Muslim students: many of the dishes that are prepared contain pork, so if you plan on eating at the cafeteria, note that you will most likely resort to being a vegetarian for your stay at the university, or will need to shop in town.

How is the surrounding area? 

Saying that the university is in the countryside is an understatement. You will be surrounded by mountains, Buddhist hermitages, and rice fields. Nevertheless, there is some outstanding hiking to partake in in and around the university. There is a school bus that will take you to Daejeon (the fifth-largest city in Korea) during the weekends, and a local public bus (Bus 54 and 59) that can get you to Nonsan (a very countryside town) throughout the week. 

How do you get to the university?

Because of its remoteness, the path to get to the university is incredibly difficult to navigate to if it’s your first time to Korea, or have no understanding or ability to read the Korean language. There are two paths of entry: one at the Daejeon Express Bus Terminal, and the other with the local bus system in Nonsan. For students arriving in Incheon, the best way to get to the university is by taking a bus directly to Daejeon, and then taking the university bus to get to the school for the first time.

If you are accepted into the program, the university should be able to provide exact directions for the bus from Daejeon. If you can't make it during that time, you can check out the bus schedule that I'm including, that goes straight from Incheon Airport to Nonsan (you'll still need to take the local bus 54 or 59 to get to the university, which you can take by crossing the street in front of the bus station.)

The second green bar on the picture states the time the bus leaves from Incheon Airport, while the second red bar is the arrival time to Nonsan.

Concluding Thoughts

Overall, I was extremely happy with my stay at the university and the courses provided, though I felt that the program would have been better if there were four levels, since the jump from beginner to intermediate was pretty high. What you get out of the program depends on how hard you study, as with any course. If you have any other questions, please feel free to leave a comment below, as your question most likely is something that others have asked in the past. 

Also, please don’t hesitate to contact the university if you have any questions at the information below. Cheers!


(1)    Geumgang University English Language Website,
(2)    Geumgang University Main Website,
(3)    Geumgang University (Wikipedia),
(4)  Geumgang University Tumblr Page,  


  1. Thanks for this awesome information , its really helpfull.

    1. Anytime, Chusnul! Hopefully you get to apply sometime soon :)

  2. Hi,

    Can I ask, one semester 15 weeks includes all beginner, intermediate and advance?

    Hope to hear from you soon!

    Thank you.

    1. So sorry for the late reply! I hope this message still finds its way to you.

      One semester includes only one level, so it would be 15 weeks for only the beginner level, 15 weeks for intermediate, and 15 weeks for the advanced class. So in total, if you were able to renew, it would take 1 1/2 years to study through this program.

      Hope you're well!

  3. Hi, I just want to know, is it possible to get another scholarship if we want to continue from beginner to intermediate level? And what the student can do in between of the level because if I am not mistaken, there will be 2 months free between Spring and Fall semester. Thank you.

    1. Sorry for not catching your comment earlier! And you are correct, you can continue the scholarship up to two years, so you could realistically go from the beginner to the advanced level during that time.

      Most people will either get a cheap room at a boarding house for two months, travel Asia, or go back home during that time. But others will try to enroll in a summer or winter Korean class at a different university to keep up with their studies.

  4. Hello eric,my name is sasa.
    Sorry to bother you, can i ask a few things about the application? the requirements for the scholarship they're asking for a 3x4 pictures..6 pics if I'm not wrong. If I'm submitting my application through emails, do i have to submitt 6 separate 3x4 picture files or i only need attatch 1 3x4 picture?
    And i really really want to get accepted in this program. But i don't really speak korean although i know a few basic phrases..and I've been to korea before..will that increase my chance in getting accepted?

    Please reply..thank you for taking the time to reply me^^

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Hello,
    Does the cafeteria serve any vegetarian meals?

    1. Not much, and that's one of the major complaints with a lot of the Muslim students that struggled with eating there. Sometimes the choices will be limited.

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