Learn Korean in Seoul: Cultural Gems for Study Abroad

Seoul, the vibrant capital of South Korea, is not only a bustling metropolis but also a fantastic destination for students looking to immerse themselves in Korean language and culture. As one of the leading study abroad destinations in Asia, Seoul offers a plethora of opportunities to learn Korean while exploring the city’s rich history, modern attractions, and diverse cultural experiences. In this article, we will take you on a journey through the best cultural attractions and experiences in Seoul, making your study abroad experience truly unforgettable.

Gyeongbokgung Palace – Immerse Yourself in Korean History

Start your cultural exploration in Seoul by visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace, the largest and most iconic palace in South Korea. Built in the 14th century, this magnificent royal palace is a testament to the country’s rich history. Marvel at the intricate architecture, beautiful gardens, and the famous Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, where important ceremonies and banquets were held. Make sure to catch the changing of the guard ceremony, a traditional ritual that showcases the grandeur of Korean royal culture.

Gyeongbokgung Palace - Photo courtesy of Omnia Abroad

Gyeongbokgung Palace – Photo courtesy of Omnia Abroad

Insadong – Traditional Crafts and Street Food

For a taste of traditional Korean culture, head to Insadong, a vibrant neighborhood known for its traditional crafts, antique shops, and delicious street food. Take a leisurely stroll along the narrow alleys lined with art galleries and tea houses, where you can immerse yourself in the world of Korean calligraphy, pottery, and traditional Hanbok clothing. Don’t forget to try some mouthwatering street snacks like tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) and hotteok (sweet pancakes filled with cinnamon and nuts).

Namsan Tower – Panoramic Views of Seoul

For breathtaking panoramic views of Seoul, visit Namsan Tower, also known as N Seoul Tower. Take a cable car ride up to the observatory deck and enjoy the stunning cityscape spread out before you. The tower is especially romantic at night when the city lights up. You can also leave a love lock on the fence surrounding the tower to symbolize your memorable time in Seoul.

Han River – Relaxation and Recreation

The Han River is the lifeline of Seoul, offering a serene escape from the bustling city. Take a leisurely walk or rent a bicycle along the Han River Park and enjoy the scenic views. If you’re feeling adventurous, try water sports like kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding. On weekends, the riverbank comes alive with picnickers, street performers, and food trucks, creating a vibrant atmosphere perfect for socializing and soaking up the local culture.

Student photo -Courtesy of Ewha Womans University

Student photo -Courtesy of Ewha Womans University

Korean Traditional Markets – Shop and Savor

To experience the vibrant local culture and sample authentic Korean street food, visit one of Seoul’s traditional markets. Namdaemun Market, the oldest and largest traditional market in Korea, is a treasure trove of goods ranging from clothing and accessories to fresh produce and traditional Korean ingredients. Explore the maze of alleyways and let your senses guide you to mouthwatering delicacies like bindaetteok (mung bean pancakes), gimbap (rice rolls), and hotteok (sweet pancakes). It’s a great way to interact with local vendors and practice your Korean language skills.

Korean Pop Culture – Hallyu Wave

Seoul is at the forefront of the global Korean Wave, known as “Hallyu.” Dive into the world of K-pop, K-dramas, and Korean entertainment by exploring trendy neighborhoods like Gangnam and Hongdae. Visit entertainment agencies and join fan events to get a glimpse of the Korean entertainment industry. Don’t miss the chance to catch a live K-pop performance at one of Seoul’s famous music shows, such as M Countdown or Inkigayo. Experience the energy and passion of K-pop idols as they showcase their talent on stage.

Bukchon Hanok Village – Traditional Korean Houses

Step back in time and wander through the picturesque streets of Bukchon Hanok Village. This charming neighborhood is filled with well-preserved traditional Korean houses, known as hanoks. Take a stroll along the narrow alleyways lined with hanbok rental shops, cafes, and art galleries. You can even experience staying in a hanok guesthouse to fully immerse yourself in the traditional Korean lifestyle.

Korean Cuisine – Foodie Paradise

No visit to Seoul would be complete without indulging in the diverse and mouthwatering Korean cuisine. From sizzling barbecue and spicy kimchi to comforting bowls of bibimbap and savory pancakes, Seoul offers a wide range of culinary delights to satisfy every palate. Explore local food markets, such as Gwangjang Market or Tongin Market, where you can sample an array of street food and traditional Korean dishes. Take a cooking class to learn how to prepare iconic Korean dishes and bring the flavors of Korea back home with you.

Cultural Festivals – Celebrating Korean Traditions

Seoul hosts numerous cultural festivals throughout the year, providing an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in Korean traditions and celebrations. From the colorful lanterns of the Lotus Lantern Festival to the vibrant performances of the B-Boy International Championship, these festivals showcase the diversity and vibrancy of Korean culture. Join in the festivities, interact with locals, and create lasting memories.

Student photo - Courtesy of Ewha Womans University

Student photo – Courtesy of Ewha Womans University

Language Exchange and Cultural Clubs

To enhance your language learning experience and meet new people, consider joining language exchange and cultural clubs in Seoul. These clubs provide a platform for international students to practice Korean with native speakers while engaging in cultural activities. Participate in language exchange meetups, traditional tea ceremonies, or K-pop dance workshops. It’s a fantastic way to make friends, immerse yourself in Korean culture, and improve your language skills.

To make the most of your study abroad experience in Seoul, consider programs offered by Omnia Abroad and Ewha Womans University. Omnia Abroad’s study abroad program puts language learning first, and is ideal for those who want to focus on developing their Korean. Students study Korean for up to 20 hours per week and can also take electives in Korean with local students. Students also have ample opportunity to utilize their language skills outside of the community through excursions, special seminars, and meet-ups with locals. As Korea’s oldest international CO-ED summer program, Ewha ISC brings together an incredibly diverse group of students to experience the best of Korea through academic study and cultural immersion. With unrivaled academic excellence and an international student body, Ewha is the place to experience authentic Korean university life.

Embark on your Korean language journey in Seoul and discover the rich culture, history, and modernity that the city has to offer. With its fascinating attractions, delicious cuisine, and welcoming locals, studying abroad in Seoul will be an unforgettable experience that will broaden your horizons and leave you with lifelong memories.

Learn more about studying abroad in Seoul and explore the vibrant city that seamlessly blends tradition and innovation, providing a captivating backdrop for your Korean language learning adventure.