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Seoul: Education and International Schools

Your expat life in Seoul will have both a traditional and a modern flavor to it! No wonder: people living in Seoul take great pride in their centuries-old city. Our article guides you through the metropolis, with info on housing, schools, and more!
Many high school classes in Korea are divided by gender.

The Changing Education System

South Korea’s education system includes six years of primary education, followed by three years of middle school and three years of high school. Back in 1996, only 5% of all high schools were co-educational. Even in a metropolis such as Seoul it is still common to find classes divided by gender, although this has changed significantly in recent years. In typical Korean schools, teaching focuses heavily on health, independence, creativity, and moral values. Teachers enjoy a lot of respect and authority.

Seoul’s high schools are divided into academic and vocational high schools. Most students choose to attend academic schools leading them on the path to higher education. Seoul’s high school students face a challenging school day which is thoroughly planned out. Beginning around 08:00 and ending around 22:00 or even midnight, a typical school day involves studying before and after school. Luckily, elementary and middle school schedules are not as rigorous.

What Are the Options for Expat Children?

Seoul offers three different schooling options for your children: local Korean schools, homeschooling, and international schools. Although the last one is the most popular option among expatriates, we would still like to take the chance to briefly introduce all three options.

  • Local Korean schools make a lot of sense if you stay in Seoul for several years. That way, your children may find it easier to adapt to Korean society. At the same time, though, it may be hard for children to adjust if they are not proficient in Korean yet. There are many public and private schools in Seoul. While public elementary schools are free of charge, private and public middle and high schools charge tuition.
  • Homeschooling is becoming increasingly popular among expat parents living in Seoul. With the help of internet resources, which are widely available, they use this method to help their children keep up with the curriculum of their home country.
  • International and foreign schools are spread throughout the city of Seoul. Fees usually amount to around 12,000–30,000 USD. Most foreign schools are located in Gyeonggi-do, Incheon Metropolitan City, and Seoul City, especially in Yongsan-gu. To apply on behalf of your child, make sure to add transcripts and report cards as well as standardized test scores and letters of recommendation to the application documents.

International and Foreign Schools

There are a number of foreign and international schools in and around Seoul which are fit to deal with the challenges expat children face:

For more information on international schools in and around Seoul, please refer to the website of the city government of Seoul.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

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