Best Foreign And International Schools In Seoul & Korea
When moving to a new country for work, selecting the right international school in Seoul or the rest of Korea is a major decision. There is a wide range of international or foreign schools in Seoul, most of those offer a multicultural environment, with students from all over the world. Read on to learn more about foreign and international schools in Seoul and the rest of Korea.
Visiting the different schools is most often the best way to make the final decision, based on the needs of your children and seeing the other kids in the school environment.
- International Schools In Seoul
- International Schools In Korea
- Frequently Asked Questions
International Schools In Seoul
Like every international school in the world, international schools come with a big price tag. The tuition can go up to $20 000 – $35 000 per year, excluding trips and other activities, but foreign and international schools have many benefits to them. The children get exposed to different cultures, gain more career opportunities and can be involved in all sorts of extracurricular activities like orchestra, debate teams, math leagues, robotics and much more. Below are listed (in no particular order) some of the most popular and best international schools in Seoul. This is not a complete list and should just be used as a guideline to picking a school.
- Difference between international and foreign schools in Korea: international schools have no limit when it comes to having ethnically Korean students. Foreign schools need to keep the amount of Korean students to a minimum. The interpretation of this depends from school to school in Korea.
- Admission: each school has different admission criteria but will mostly ask for passport, transcripts, birth certificate, test scores and an application fee.
1. Korea International School
Korea International School opened its doors back in 2000 and has been one of the leading international schools in Seoul. It is one of the top Seoul international schools. The school hosts Pre-K to Grade 12 students and has been following the North American curriculum. They have 2 campuses, in Seoul and in Pangyo, which lies just outside Seoul. The school aims to have their students attend the best and most selective universities in Korea and the rest of the world.
Facilities of the school include an indoor gym, outdoor sport fields, workshops and labs, computer rooms, a library, music room and performance space, swimming pool. Tuition fees are similar to the other schools and lie between $25 000 – $35 000. Korea International School also has a sister school on Jeju Island.
2. Dulwich College Seoul
Dulwich College Seoul is a British International School in Seoul. The school was established back in 2010 and is for kids between the age of 3 and 18. The school is linked to London’s Dulwich College, which is a major and prestigious school in England, founded in 1619. Other Dulwich College International Schools are located in Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Zhuhai, Singapore and Yangon.
Sport facilities at Dulwich College Seoul include outdoor playgrounds, an indoor gym, a low ropes course, and an indoor swimming pool. Other facilities include a performance area, auditorium, music rooms, library, science labs, dance and drama studios, a food technology room, art & design workshop and kiln room.
During the year, kids have the opportunity to join different trips around the country and to other Asian countries such as ski trips, camps and more. These trips give kids the opportunity to experience different cultures outside the classroom.
3. Dwight School Seoul
Dwight School is another international foreign school in Seoul. The school is located in Digital Media City and was founded in New York in 1872. The school offers an International Baccalaureate curriculum and hosts kids from 3 years old to 18 years old. Tuition fees range between $20 000 – $30 000 a year, depending on the child’s age.
Dwight is the only school in Seoul that was selected by the Seoul Municipal Government to open an IB World School. The school has an active Parent’s Association which has a impact on the school live and the community. Excellent facilities at Dwight include a maker space, indoor and outdoor sports facilities, music rooms, performance space, a library and much more.
3.1 Review By Parent: Wendy Flor
My sons have been going to Dwight School Seoul (DSS) since my Firstborn started First Grade. He is on 6th Grade now. When my second son turned First Grade, he too got into Dwight. It’s a total of 6 years for my family here in Dwight.
My husband and I decided to enroll our son back in 2013 after visiting other international schools as we felt the school was a warm place for our son. Second, we got to know the International Baccalaureate Program and Dwight had been offering full continuum IB Program. I learned that the other school we visited was also offering the IB Program but when I checked it carefully, it was just then offering the Diploma Program, not the full IB continuum. As I got into Dwight, I got to know that some of the IB practitioners at school were invited to train the other teachers in another international school.
My family is glad with the way our sons are enjoying school, learning with equal balance of challenge and fun. Both boys have identified their leadership qualities as the school provides avenues where they can develop their leadership and social skills. They are actively joining sports activities and are doing well in their academics.
We would have loved it even more if the school has a swimming pool, but space is a limitation to have one. Other than that, the school is continuously adding and improving its facilities and I can see that. I am satisfied. My sons especially like its Makerspace where they can design and create things. Makerspace is a haven for the creative and the innovative.
I am part of the Executive Board of the Parents Association and have been volunteering on different capacities since 6 years ago. We have been encouraging the involvement of more parents. Hopefully more will in the coming years. Read full review here.
4. Yongsan International School Of Seoul
The Yongsan International School of Seoul located in Itaewon, accredited by WASC and ACSI houses kids from 3 to 18 years old. The school follows the U.S. educational model. Kids who graduated from YISS have been accepted to universities like MIT, Columbia, Stanford, Cornell, University College London and much more. The tuition fee of YISS lies a bit lower than Dulwich and Dwight.
After school activities offered at YISS include art journals club, baking club, basketball, Chinese club, MMA, ping pong, sketching, debate club, water polo and much more. The excellent facilities at YISS include indoor and outdoor sport fields, aqua centers, music rooms, performance hall, multiple labs and libraries.
5. British Education Korea
The British Education Korea has 4 sites in Seoul and houses kids from 18 months up to the age of 14 years old. The British international school in Korea isregistered as hagwons and is a British, co-educational Pre-Prep education. The school follows a curriculum based on the National Curriculum in England. The school opened in 2013 and has kids from diverse cultural backgrounds.
6. Seoul Foreign School
Seoul Foreign School was established in 1913 during the Japanese Occupation by Christian missionaries in Korea. The school houses pre-kindergarten to grade 12 students. SFS offers 2 different British style curricula, the International Baccalaureate Continuum of Programmes and the English National Curriculum.
This Korean foreign school has top facilities like the library, indoor and outdoor sports facilities, performance hall and music rooms, bouldering climbing wall, art class rooms and workshops.
7. French School of Seoul
Lycee Francais is a French international school in Seoul in the Seorae Village. The Lycee houses kindergarten to high school students. It was founded in 1974 and this school is a bit cheaper that the other international schools in Seoul.
8. Other International Schools In Seoul
Apart from all the schools listed above, there are more international and foreign schools in Seoul.
- Asia Pacific International School
- The British International Kindergarten
- ECLC Kindergarten Seoul
- Global Christian Foreign School
- Korea Foreign School
- Korea Kent Foreign School
International Schools In Korea
Seoul is not the only city with international schools, there are an abundance of schools on the rest of the peninsula. Like in Jeju, Busan, Incheon and other major cities. Listed below are some of the most popular schools in the rest of Korea.
1. Busan Foreign School (Busan)
Busan Foreign School, fully certified by WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), serves international families from Pre K-3 to 12th grade. They are a small school and strive to maintain a small school feel. Most class sizes range from 15-20 students, and the early childhood program has even smaller class sizes to ensure quality learning.
Over 95% of the teaching staff are either US or Canadian certified teachers, and all staff and administrators are trained in the most current research of best educational practices. The Common Core curriculum and other U.S. based national standards guide all classroom instruction. Busan Foreign School was accepted in 2016 to the AP Capstone Program, becoming the third school in Korea administering this Diploma.
Busan Foreign School strives to offer a balanced program of academics, athletics, and arts. The school believes that both academic and nonacademic life are equally important and help to shape their students into model citizens of the world. BFS competes in the Southern Korea Athletic Conference (SKAC) with several other schools in the region in both sports and non-athletic annual events such as Speech and Debate, Science Fairs, and an Arts Festival.
2. Seoul International School (Gyeonggi-Do)
Seoul International School first opened its doors in 1973 and is the first international school in Korea to be fully licenced and recognized by the ROK Ministry of Education. SIS has a great reputation for producing graduates which woll then continue to attend some of the most prestigious universities and colleges in North America. The school houses pre-kindergarten to grade 12 students and follows the American curriculum.
As the school is a member of the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference it competes in the international AISA games. Therefor the school offers volleyball, tennis, cross-country, cheer leading, swimming, basketball and soccer practices.
The facilities at the school include indoor and outdoor sports facilities, science labs, music rooms, performance space, art room, library and more. The tuition fees for the school lie around $20 000 – 30 000$, depending on the age group. The school is located just outside Seoul in the Gyeonggi-do province.
3. Branksome Hall Asia (Jeju Island)
Branksome Hall Asia is located in Seogwipo, on the beautiful Jeju Island and is a sister campus of the Canadian school Branksome Hall. It opened in 2012 and is a girls school only. It is a state of the art boarding school with facilities like a library, swimming pool, indoor and outdoor sport fields (dance studio, golf court, futsal court, gym and more), music rooms, performance space, film studio and much more. The fees of the school are quite similar to those of other international school, but there is an additional fee for the boarding school.
4. International School of Busan (Busan)
The international school of Busan, established in 1983, provides three IB programs. On top of that it is also accredited by the the Western Association for Schools and Colleges and the Council of International Schools. The tuition fees are slightly lower than the other international schools in Korea and the school provides shuttle buses for children living in Ulsan, Busan and Geoje.
4.1 Review By Parent: Angela Davis
We are from New Zealand and have been living in Ulsan, South Korea for two and a half years. We have two kids aged 14 and 11 years who both attend ISB. We picked ISB because of the friendly and welcoming atmosphere. The Head of School and all teachers have a positive approach to learning and treat each child as an individual, tailoring the teaching to the child’s level across the various subjects. Also important in an international school setting is the after school activities. ISB offers a wide range of activities including sports, music, craft and technology related activities. There is an active Parent Teacher Association that runs events to foster parent involvement in the school community and supports the school where needed. Some of the highlights are a wonderful International Day and a Family Fall Festival held each year.
The school is well equipped with excellent classrooms, a large gymnasium, several playing fields and a modern playground. The school also has an onsite cafeteria. There is plenty of space for kids to spread out and play around the campus. The communication from the school is excellent with weekly school newsletters, emails from the teachers, and they make good use of online communications tools such as Facebook, Seesaw and ManageBac. The school provides a bus from Ulsan to Busan, which takes about an hour. Buses are also provided for children travelling from Geoje and various suburbs around Busan.
Our children have enjoyed the IB curriculum and mixing with a truly international group of children with over 34 nationalities represented at the school. Follow the adventures of Angela Davis here.
Frequently Asked Questions
International schools in Korea are educational institutions that offer an international curriculum and cater to students from different nationalities. They typically follow the International Baccalaureate (IB) program or an American, British, or Canadian curriculum. International schools provide an education that is comparable to schools in other countries, and they may have a diverse student body and teaching staff.
To enroll your child in an international school in Korea, you should contact the school directly to learn about their admission requirements and process. Generally, international schools have a rolling admission process, and applications can be submitted online. Some schools may require an entrance exam or an interview, while others may only need a completed application and supporting documents such as transcripts and recommendation letters. It’s important to check the school’s admission requirements and timeline in advance to ensure a smooth application process.
Attending an international school in Korea can provide many benefits, including exposure to different cultures, languages, and perspectives. International schools often have a diverse student body, which can help students develop a global mindset and an appreciation for diversity. They also provide an education that is recognized globally, which can be beneficial for students who plan to attend university or work abroad in the future. Additionally, international schools may offer extracurricular activities and resources that are not available in local schools, such as language classes, international competitions, and international trips.