CIEE Arts + Sciences Program in Seoul, South Korea

Video and Photos

This photo was taken after hiking up Mount Hallasan in Jeju.
This photo was taken after hiking up Mount Hallasan in Jeju.
Picture of me at the final CIEE dinner
Picture of me at the final CIEE dinner
Street Concert in Sincho - Lee Hi
Rainbow Bridge!
Buddha's Birthday at a temple in Busan.
Dressing up in a traditional Korean dress (hanbok) in front of Gyeongbokgoong.
CIEE Spring Excursion to Jeung-do. Mudflat fun.


Whether you’re interested in studying business, language, or culture, there’s something for you in Korea.

The capital city of Seoul is South Korea’s cultural and educational heart, as well as its political and economic epicenter. And with an international buddy program, university clubs, and a variety of cultural excursions, CIEE study abroad in South Korea gives you access to this wonderful culture and ensures an immersive international experience like none other.

Study abroad in Seoul and you will:

- Take courses, taught in English or Korean, in international business, humanities, social sciences, and the arts; have access to intensive Korean language courses for all learning levels

- Receive ongoing support, guidance, and care provided by a long-time American resident in Korea and a local university graduate

This program is AACSB and EQUIS accredited.


CIEE Scholarships
CIEE Offers More Than $8 Million in Scholarships Every Year!

We know cost is one of the biggest barriers to studying abroad. At CIEE, we dedicate real resources to help break down the cost barriers so every student who wants to study abroad, can do so.

$500 - $2,500

Questions & Answers


based on 13 reviews
  • Academics 7.2
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9.7
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 13 of 13
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Yes, I recommend this program

A Semester in Seoul

I admit I had set the bar really high for my semester in Seoul, but I was not disappointed. It was just as beautiful and exciting as I expected. I didn't realize that Seoul itself had different provinces and that surprised me but made me more excited. When I got to the Collage Campus, I got lost because it was big and a little confusing, however, when I got used to it it was exciting just walking to class and see the changing season. My classes weren't all that hard and even if I had trouble the teachers were really understanding and helpful. I think the only thing that got me was the big language barrier, but I had both friends who could translate and the people would understand and switch to English. I loved my semester here and I would definitely recommend it for anyone who wants to study abroad!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Do not be afraid to ask someone for help. The first day I was here I and a couple friends got lost and we were embarrassed so we didn't ask for help, however, someone did come up to us and asked if we were lost. We said yes, and they helped us find where we wanted to go. Everyone here is really helpful and kind and patient, so do not be afraid to ask for help.
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Yes, I recommend this program

The Seoul Experience

I came to study abroad in Seoul for Spring of 2019. I had such an amazing experience making new friends and exploring my surroundings with them. I visited many different themed cafes while in Seoul and new foods that I would never have tried back home. I feel that my favorite cafe are the ones I was able to experience with my friends for the first time. Also, a lot of the cafes are cute for trying new drinks and desserts but also for photos!! The staff in my program are all extremely friendly that when I was unable to attend an event I let them know and they would make sure that I was okay. They would also plan many fun activities and experiences to help you adjust to your time in Seoul. They also gave us many opportunities to volunteer and it was fun getting to hang out with both children and teens! It felt like I had a second family here in Seoul that whenever I got homesick I was happy to have them!!

What was your funniest moment?
Planning to go to IKEA for fun with my friend but we ended up getting lost on the way to IKEA! It was crazy but we found someone who knew English and they let us know how to make our way to IKEA. We got on one of the small yellow bus and the best part of the ride was the fact that it was playing wheels on the bus throughout the whole ride! My friend and I never had so much fun! When we finally got to IKEA we were laughing and having a lot of fun!! End of the day we did a lot of walking and we got to eat IKEA food.
Yes, I recommend this program

CIEE makes Seoul so much more!

CIEE gave me a support system that many people here did not have. Yonsei does not have good support for international students, so CIEE was a huge help to me whenever I needed help with something (like going to the doctor), and they were always willing to help. It is pricey, but it is worth it in the number of excursions that they organize for you. I was able to go to Busan and stay in a nice hotel with CIEE, all included in the cost. This was especially great because we went during the Busan International Film Festival, and I was able to see a movie there! They also pair you with a Korean student, called a Seoulmate, and they take you on activities as well. My study abroad experience would not have been the same if I had not gone with CIEE. I recommend it to anyone looking to go to Seoul.

What would you improve about this program?
The housing selection is not the best, but this is not the fault of CIEE. Yonsei international programs support is non-existent and they are honestly the worst. Don't count on them helping you.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Will Be Returning

This is a very good program. This is my first time studying abroad and I already know that I will return to Korea to reach English because of this program. The staff was the most important part of my study abroad experience as they were available to me 24/7. They helped me even with issues I had that were unrelated to the program. 100% would recommend to friends and will be returning to Korea soon.

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Yes, I recommend this program

The Adventure of a Lifetime!

CIEE Study Abroad Review
I highly, highly, highly recommend the CIEE study abroad program! This program gave me the adventure that I yearned for for years! The program also immersed me into Korean culture on the first days of arriving in Seoul, South Korea. As an Academic Year Participant from 2017 to 2018, I have experienced traditional Hanok villages in Jeonju and Namwon, relaxed at a four-star hotel overlooking the hustle-and-bustle of Busan locals while being located ten minutes from Haeundae Beach, gone to the first island I have ever visited at Jeungdo, and so much more. My favorite of these excursions overall was taking the convenient KTX train to Jeungdo Island.
Two years before coming to Korea, the majority of what I watched were repeated episodes of my favorite variety show, “2 Days and 1 Night”. This variety show consists of members whom educate the viewer about the tourist attractions and history of South Korea and the natural beauty that this country is renowned for. This show was one of the many reasons why I came to Korea. Where I am from, there is very little entertaining activities to do. If I wanted to travel, it would require days of planning and also very long distances to cross. “2 Days and 1 Night” had me longing for adventurous locations to experience. Jeungdo Island was actually advertised on the show. The CIEE program gave me this opportunity in an effortless and stressless manner. I was able to experience much of what the members had, such as, walking through the ocean waters bare-foot, scraping salt and eating salt ice cream, hunting for seashells, slipping and sliding on the mud flats while the ocean crabs watched me fall, and tasting the organic, fresh, and healthy foods of the island. I never ate so many unique seaweed, which was surprisingly delicious!
Instead of wishing to experience these activities through a laptop screen from videos on Youtube, CIEE gave me this rare opportunity to take part in the activities in person that my favorite “2 Days and 1 Night” members introduced me to. It will be very difficult to leave South Korea because of its many conveniences and popular attractions, but I know that one day I will return again to continue the adventures that come with living here in Korea. CIEE gave me a sneak-peek of what is yet to come and I thank each person and the caring and organized staff who took part in giving me this rare opportunity. Thank you so much CIEE!!!
For future participants, I advise to take the leap and study abroad! The process getting there many be intimidating, but all that you learn, whether good or bad, is definitely worth it. Going abroad will teach you more about yourself as well as the people and culture of your host country. Please do not miss this adventurous and life changing opportunity!

What would you improve about this program?
It would be great for studying aborad to be advirtised better worldwide. I almost missed this opportunity because of hwo little I was informed about the possibility where I am from.
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Yes, I recommend this program


CIEE was a great study abroad program. It had different events to get the us engaged in the Korean culture. They took us on different excursions to see other parts of South Korea other than Seoul. And gave us tours of places like the DMZ. Through CIEE we got to meet other South Korean students as well and got to see how being a student in South Korea is different than in the US. The university that CIEE connected us with was also very nice. It was nice to be in one of the highlights of Seoul!

Overall, the program was great and I would receommend this program for anyone that wants to study abroad! It makes things much easier and much more convenient!

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Yes, I recommend this program

CIEE at Yonsei University

CIEE was the reason it was so easy to adjust to going abroad. There is an orientation that starts over a week before classes begin and it gives you the opportunity to explore with their guidance of the staff, learn about the culture before you settle in, and get comfortable with your new surroundings. Throughout the semester, there are continuously activities being planned that help you to get know your community and there are even excursions that provide a refreshing look at the country outside of the city. Whenever issues or questions arise, I always trusted the staff to assist with their full attention, so I never felt unsafe or lost since their support was always readily available. I had an amazing time going abroad and it was all the more enriching and fulfilling because of CIEE.

Read my full story
Yes, I recommend this program

Without a Doubt, Highly Recommend

Studying in Korea was the greatest experience of my life and going with CIEE only made it better. Non-CIEE international students often expressed jealousy that our program allowed us to be close to one another and provided us with an easy network to make friends with which to go on our adventures abroad. The staff is extremely helpful and supportive and they always respond quickly, especially when we need help with stressful situations (such as somehow managing to lose your entire purse while out clubbing). Academically, the coursework wasn't too difficult in comparison to my home university, with the exception of Intensive Korean Language--which is, indeed, "intensive." Thankfully, CIEE has a great optional study group for its students to help with language skills. Yonsei is beautiful (to the extent that many reality shows and tv dramas actually film on our campus!) and the chances to participate in clubs and other student activities are seemingly endless. CIEE, of course, organizes amazing cultural activities and volunteer opportunities which allow you to get the most out of your time abroad. All in all, I would definitely recommend studying in Korea--especially if you have the chance to do so with all of the advantages that CIEE has to offer.

What would you improve about this program?
The only important note I have to offer CIEE is that most of our guest speakers and tour guides concerning Korean culture were white Americans rather than Koreans. Of course I understand that anyone can be an academic expert about any culture through study and that language barriers may have played a hand in this outcome, but it bothered me that a lot of the people educating us about Korean culture were not Korean in terms of ethnicity or nationality.
Yes, I recommend this program

Seoul Searching

I traveled to Korea because I wanted to escape where I was.
When I travel abroad, I reinvent myself. I start with a new wallet. Move onto new bags, new notebooks, new stationery, new clothes, maybe even a new personality.
People always say the journey is very important, and others claim that it may be more important than the destination. I tend to disagree to some extent. If you have a bad destination your journey will never be that valuable.
Seoul was a location I chose with a purpose. It is dear to my heart. The interesting thing is that I teeter back and forth a lot between being out going and staying to myself. However, Seoul was a destination that made me want to go out, and the staff and people at CIEE drew out parts of me that I never thought about.
It's like this. I've always wanted to go to Korea, learn Korean, and travel by myself and answer to no one. This destination meant that I was looking for answers about myself. Arriving in Korea, CIEE provided everything to make that search possible. They provided the necessary structure to make me feel comfortable, while allowing me to move about and do what it is I wanted to do.
The journey that resulted was one where it was only possible because of CIEE. It was nice to go with a program because the program gave you a reason to talk with the people that came with you. It helped you branch out if you needed the extra comfort. CIEE however also allowed you to do what it was you need to do. If you wanted to go off by yourself to make friends outside of the program, you would not have been held back. It was truly a free feeling experience.

I would recommend the program highly. The staff at CIEE Korea truly does nothing besides provide a great experience.

What would you improve about this program?
Credit hours. Keep the requirement to match Yonsei University's own requirements of 9 credit hours. Study abroad should be about being abroad, not studying.
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Yes, I recommend this program

An Adventure in Seoul (and beyond!)

Studying abroad in Seoul was an absolutely incredible experience. The host university (Yonsei) is one of the top schools in Korea and offers a huge selection of classes in English, so finding courses suited for your major shouldn't be difficult. Seoul itself is a dynamic city where you can experience Korea's rich cultural history and at the same time see some of the most cutting edge technology and development in the world. The people there are so friendly and will often go out of their way to help you if you are lost or have any questions, and the food is fantastic! While living there, you will be able to broaden your understanding of not only Korea, but also the rest of the world. Also, the intensive Korean language classes offered through Yonsei will greatly improve your Korean no matter what level you're starting at.

So why choose CIEE's program?
Studying through CIEE's Seoul program will make your experience in Korea so much more memorable. The program includes multiple trips to places outside of Seoul so that you can experience other parts of Korea too. The program coordinators also organize weekly and monthly events like volunteering and field trips within Seoul, taking you places that most other exchange students don't have the chance to go. These are optional, but taking advantage of these opportunities will help you make the most of your time there.

From the start CIEE feels like a family; you will get to know the other students in your program and make friendships that last even after you return home, and the program coordinators are some of the nicest and most genuinely caring people I have ever met. They really do go above and beyond to make your stay in Seoul great, and are always available to help you whenever you need. Also, CIEE helps you with a lot of the technical parts of moving to a new country: getting a visa, alien registration card, housing, medical, etc. I know some students who did exchange outside of CIEE and had to do all this themselves, and these things could be very difficult for them. With CIEE these issues were never a problem. Basically, CIEE streamlines your whole experience and organizes an extensive program that will provide you with the adventure of a lifetime.
I would highly recommend studying abroad in Korea, and if you do, CIEE is definitely the way to go!

Yes, I recommend this program

11 Months to Remember

This was my second time studying abroad, but my first time in a large university setting. I'm a Korean language major and was looking forward to improving my language skill, immersing myself in the culture, and experiencing life abroad. CIEE made life at school effortless. Any problems I had whether it was with school or my visa or creating a bank account the staff were always there to help me. Moreover, the staff became almost like family while I was there. I could always go to them with problems or just to talk. I still converse with my staff from time to time. When looking back on my time abroad, I really think it shaped me as a person. Upon my return, many people asked me "how was Korea?"
This question both frustrated me and made me reflect on my time abroad. It frustrated me because it's virtually impossible to sum up 11 months of my life in an essay, let alone a sentence. However, it also made me reflect on how much I did and experience while abroad and it makes me happy and proud that I can't sum my experience up easily.
For anyone who is thinking about studying abroad through CIEE, my advice would be to just do it. Whether it's to Korea or another country, it may seem scary, but the experiences you have while abroad will make that fear seem silly in the long run.

What would you improve about this program?
I understand the need for language classes, however I think it would be nice if students could pick times when to take these classes. Many classes I wanted to take fell at the same time I had language class. Although, I did enjoy my language classes.
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Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Semester of College

After coming back from Korea, I keep getting one question: What did you like the most?

Every time I've heard this question, I find myself giving a different answer. There's no way I can decide on just a single thing out of the many, many experiences I had abroad - I loved every aspect of being abroad, and am dying to go again. From the CIEE excursions that left us trekking through Mudd flats and experiencing rural Korea, to exploring the city night-life in Seoul, to sitting down and eating traditional meals to getting McDonalds at 3am with friends - I had so many varied amazing experiences that picking any single one of them is impossible. My time in Seoul was by far the best time I had had during college, because not only did I get to meet new friends, experience a new culture, and have fun, I actually got to learn a lot. Not just through classes, but through interacting with so many people from various backgrounds and learning how to navigate a country that speaks a different language and lives a different culture, I was able to learn things I would never be able to in my college in the US.

The only downside that this program had - which, for me, wasn't a downside at all - is that the academic program itself is not very rigorous. I personally preferred this, since it gave more time to explore the country itself, though I know some other people would prefer a more rigorous academic environment. The Korean language program, however, was quite good, and my skill in Korean improved a lot.

All in all, I would recommend this program to anyone, regardless if they have a previous interest in Korean culture or not. There's no way you can go wrong with this program.

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Yes, I recommend this program

My Time in Seoul

Seoul and South Korea were absolutely fascinating from beginning to end. Through CIEE Seoul, I was able to live in a homestay with an actual Korean family. I looked forward to this the most because I would immerse myself in the culture and learn more of the language. My host family was so gracious and they took great care of me. I miss them dearly! Due to the commute to my university, homestay life also allowed me to become quite acquainted with the transportation system in Seoul. This proved super handy later on when I wanted to explore during my free time. My university, Yonsei, was one of the most beautiful schools I have ever visited. It was on the foot of a mountain and the campus itself had so much greenery! The social work and Korean language classes I took there were very interesting. I am not going to lie though, sometimes it was a struggle to study because I wanted to be out and about exploring the city! I just had to keep reminding myself that I was still “studying” abroad despite the fun I was having.

CIEE Seoul also provided its students many educational, cultural, and fun activities throughout the semester. Coordinated events included: visiting the DMZ, exploring temples, trying out new food, traveling to other parts of South Korea, organized tours, volunteering opportunities, checking out museums and allowing us to interact with current local students in Seoul. Even though Seoul is a huge modern city, the history of this country is all around it. Even within the city you can find areas that are side by side but completely different to each other. In other words, it is a city where you never get bored because there is always something to do!

All in all, I miss Seoul. I miss getting lost in the subway station. I miss visiting novelty cafes that print your selfie on the drink you ordered. I miss seeing the awesome friends I met there. I miss the food!!! Wow, do I miss the food! If you want to experience history and modernization simultaneously during your study abroad experience, add Seoul to your list of potential destinations. I did not even fathom falling in love with a city and country in such a small period of time. Four months was just not enough and I plan to go back one day if God allows me to. This experience was a true blessing and I thank Him for that.