Q&A; Yonsei Korean Language Institute

2013 Fall Term Graduation Ceremony
(2013 Fall Term Level 6 Graduation Trip / 2013 Fall Term Level 6 Graduation Debate)

Wow, has it really been a year since my last post? I really thought I’d be able to update with all my experiences whilst in Korea, but I just couldn’t afford the time to. Yonsei KLI’s Regular Program was really intensive! I also got really busy when I came home, hence the quietness.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email asking me about KLI, and since I’ve been getting similar questions, I thought I’d just put them into a list for easy reference. Any future questions will also be added here. Please check if your question has been answered before asking.

 

  1. Did you self-study Korean before attending KLI?
    Yes, on-and-off for a couple of years through various mediums; I also got Level 3 in the 26th TOPIK held in April 2012.
     
  2. Why did you choose KLI?
    After doing some research, it seems like KLI was the first school to provide Korean language classes to foreigners and they have the best record or something, so I just decided to go with it. After all, if I’m going all the way to Korea, I might as well go to the cream of the crop even if it’s the most expensive.
     
    If you didn’t already know, KLI focuses mainly on academic rather than colloquial Korean, so if you’re looking to focus on speaking, Sogang University KLEC would be a better choice since it’s known for that. I’m not sure about the other schools, you’ll have to do your own research.
     
  3. Which level were you placed in?
    Long story short, I started from Level 4.
     
    Placement tests only apply to those who have previous knowledge of Korean.
     
  4. What should I expect for the placement test?
    For the written paper, it has about 6(?) pages of grammar and vocabulary questions. It goes from really basic Level 1 questions (What is the object pictured? A ball, a pen, a cap, etc.) to difficult Level 6 questions (Write your thoughts and explain on a given topic). Feel free to stop when you feel like you can’t answer them any more.
     
    For the oral section, it’s a one-on-one interview. Like the written paper, the teachers ask questions starting from basic and then moving up if they find that you’re able to answer them. You’d get typical basic ‘where are you from’ to intermediate ‘what tourist attractions would you suggest if I were to visit your country’ to advanced ‘what do you think would happen if there was/were no internet/computers’ questions.
     
  5. Does KLI have term breaks?
    One term lasts 10 weeks. There are no breaks whatsoever in between. If you’re lucky, there’ll be one or two public holidays.
     
  6. What’s the Regular programme like?
    As mentioned earlier, there are no breaks in between, so be prepared to be completely immersed in the language for the full 10 weeks. It is intense, and you might not have time to slack, depending on your learning style and speed.
     
    I did not attend the lower levels so I can’t tell you anything about those, but from Level 4 onwards, we had weekly presentations before midterms and final exams. They all add up to the final result, so it would be wise to do well in those.
     
    The four basic areas tested are writing, reading, listening, and speaking. To my knowledge, if you fail in one area, you get to retake it, but if you fail two, you’d have to repeat the entire level. If you still fail after repeating a level twice, you’d not be allow to attend the school anymore. Attendance is also important; missing over 40 hours of class would mean an automatic fail of the level.
     
  7. What is the timetable like, and when are the exams?
    The timetable is only given out on the first day of every term.
     
  8. What is the average age of the students in the programme?
    Majority of my classmates in each level (4~6) were around pre-university ages (~17) with a handful in their 20s.
     
  9. I have sent my application. When will I receive my admission letter?
    From application to admission confirmation, the whole process took slightly over a month for me.
     
  10. What visa did you apply for?
    D-4 student visa. Other visa related questions are all in this post as well as in the comments. Please read before asking!
     
  11. Did you buy any travel or health insurance?
    I only bought a student travel insurance that lasts a year.
     
  12. Did you rent/buy a phone? What about phone plans?
    No, I used my own iPhone 4S. I signed up for an Olleh pre-paid plan with add-on data. They gave me a SIM card suitable for my phone.
     
  13. Do you recommend SK Global?
    I’ve never stayed in SK Global, and I didn’t research much into it, so I can’t give you any advice on that.
     
    I stayed at a 고시텔 about a 15 minute walk away from KLI. I opted to stay in a 고시텔 because it was not only a cheaper option for me, but I also liked that it was closer to the train station and in the midst of Sinchon, where I could feel its atmosphere. I also became good friends with the Koreans who lived in the same building.
     
    Of course, one might prefer to not have to walk 30 minutes a day going to and from school, or might prefer to sleep in till the very last minute before lessons, or might hate how small the rooms are (bigger = more expensive). For whatever reasons, staying at a 고시원/고시텔 might not be right for everyone. In my case, however, it turned out to be a thankfully good experience overall. I basically just got used to my tiny room. I’ve also always liked walking and with Korea’s awesome weather (not including summer T_T), I could walk anywhere!
     
    Do your research and you’d be able to find the place best suited to your needs. Do prepare yourself for very small (normally one-person) rooms. It might also be good if you have a friend there who can help to check the place out for you beforehand. If you’re looking at 고시원/고시텔 websites, the photos are usually of the more expensive rooms. Always clarify before making any confirmations.
     
  14. What were your monthly living expenses like?
    I won’t give figures, but the most obvious thing anyone should take note of is that it greatly depends on your lifestyle. I spent most of my time there just studying and chilling in my room so I could save money, and since I lived near school, there was barely any need for me to take the public transport. I don’t think I spent as much as other people did on an average. If you manage your money well, you can go a long way.
     
  15. Is it easy to make Korean friends?
    I think this is a very subjective question, and depends on individuals.
     
    For me, I don’t think I’ve ever really had any problems making friends. I’m shy around strangers, but once I’m comfortable, I get along pretty well with most people. I was on the internet a lot growing up, and I made several friends from overseas, so when I first got to KLI, I was glad to have even more friends from all over the world. It was also interesting since I got to hang out with them in real life instead of just on the internet.
     
    However, I also had this thought… I came all the way to Korea to learn the language because it puts me in an all native Korean-speaking environment. If I were to constantly hang out with my international friends, it would be just the same as staying in Singapore and practicing Korean with my Korean-speaking Singaporean friends! I didn’t want to be wasting hard earned money and precious time, because unlike most of the other students who were there so they could attend a Korean university, I was there to make Korean my future career. This is serious business! (Lol.)
     
    Like I mentioned before, depending on where you choose to stay, you could also make friends with the Koreans who live in your building.

    As I started out learning Korean with TTMIK, I made friends with 현우쌤 (the one who started it all~ lol) online. We first met when 미경언니 and him had a stopover in Singapore after their honeymoon. I then went on holiday to Korea after that, visited the TTMIK office and had dinner with them and a few teachers. …I digress.
     
    Anyway, amongst a gazillion other things, he also founded LanguageCast. I finally went with a friend last year, and I’ll say it’s a good place to start if you want to make Korean friends, but it can get rather noisy since there’s usually a huge crowd. However, do be careful. As it’s not a closed event, there are a few who go there with the purpose of picking up girls.
     
    The bottom line is, language exchange opportunities are everywhere if you’re willing to look. There are language exchange cafes, language exchange groups, etc. Yonsei KLI even has a language exchange program. As long as you put in the effort, I’m sure making Korean friends wouldn’t be a problem.

 

If you have any other questions that aren’t answered above or in the replies below, feel free to leave a comment.

 

Other Useful Posts

  • SaysChing – She has a more comprehensive KLI guide.

 

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32 Replies to “Q&A; Yonsei Korean Language Institute”

  1. Hi ^_^ n thanks for sharing your experience. I have submitted the application form to the short summer program this year…and I hope to be admitted…I paid the application fee, last week(6 days ago)…and my bank said that they are waiting for Woori Bank confirmation…I have a doubt…Do I have to wait for the confirmation to sent my required documents (diploma n passport copy…)?….thanks in advance ^_^.

    Like

  2. Hi may I know how long it takes for Woori Bank to confirm the transfer of application fee? I’ve wired the money more than one week ago and my bank has confirmed that the money has been wired over. I’ve also sent the required documents over via email.

    Like

      1. How does the admission email look like? Is it the one that goes “Hello. I have confirmed your documents successfully” and then goes on to list down how much school fees you need to wire over and the account number?

        Or is it something else? Your procession of documents by Yonsei seemed pretty quick to me. T_T

        Like

  3. Hello~
    was googling on Yonsei stuff and found your blog. Hope you don’t mind me asking.. but where did you stay during your time in korea? I’m intending to study there too but I can’t find any nearby yet decent enough places to stay.. >.<

    Many thanks in advance!

    Like

  4. Hi i just started reading your blog and had questions about yonsei kli. if your just in kli regular level 1 or 2 do you get the chance to participate in the clubs ? or is that for the yonsei degree/masters program only ?
    is getting a part time job easy, i mean are there alot of ads. on campus, do the student body or teachers help you out with finding part time work ?
    i guess student and campus life in general, do they have student trip ( are they included in the tuition fees ? )
    is it pretty full on or is there time to explore korea and travel on weekends ? ( i do want to study the language because i will need it in my work but i also want to explore seoul, busan and jeju so i wanted to know if its possible or not :)
    sorry i wrote a long post

    Like

    1. Hi,
      1. I heard that you can, though I didn’t join one myself.
      2. I’m not sure, I didn’t look for any part time jobs.
      3. There are culture related activities for every level. They are included in the tuition fees.
      4. I’ve mentioned in Q6 above that the Regular program is intensive, but it depends on individuals. I had classmates who didn’t travel around and classmates who did.

      Like

  5. Hello! I have some questions to ask since I’m planning to attend Yonsei KlI in the Fall(2015) time. First question, was it easy for you to get accepted into the program? 2. Did you send them a transcript, diploma, or both when you were applying? 3. The whole process actually took a month?! Wow! That’s pretty long! Like you got officially accepted(as in you can go to Korea whenever the class is about to start) after a month of processing? Sorry if I was being too curious just wanted to make sure from a person that actually went there. Haha

    Like

    1. Hi! It’s okay, that’s what this Q&A is for.
      1. I’m not sure how you define easy, but I don’t think they reject people as long as the requirements are met.
      2. Just my diploma.
      3. Yes, a month from application to acceptance. It might vary but that’s how it was for me. I don’t think it’s considered long seeing as there are a lot of applicants.

      Like

  6. Hi again! I have a question to ask that I got curious about. When you had to pay for your tuition fee do you have to pay it all in one or you can do a monthly payment kind of thing?

    Like

  7. Hi!
    Wow! Your blog pretty much covered everything I should know(I hope I din miss out anything!) I was reading one of the first few comments on payment. Do we actually have to make payment first before sending in our required documents?
    Also, may I know what kinda ‘original certificate of admission/graduation’ is needed for visa application? Is this from tertiary education?

    Like

  8. Hi! I was just wondering how old generally were the people in the program? Late teens, early twenties, etc.? Also what’s the nightlife like?

    Thanks!

    Like

    1. There’s a wide age range, but my classmates were mostly in their late teens or early twenties since they’re planning to attend university there.
      There are a lot of places, especially food, that are open till late, so there are always people around.

      Like

  9. Hi thanks for your informative blog. Could u ask if you might know the names of a few goshitels Near KLI? I have already applied for the summer program and really need to find accommodation soon. Thanks

    Like

  10. Hi there! I’m also intending to attend the fall semester. Did you complete the whole 6-level course (from your level 4) or only your Level 4? If you did, after one level, did you have to register for the next level or would school automatically set you up for a higher up level until you complete the whole 6 levels? Oh oh! and i have not received my diploma so can i submit it later? (otherwise i will not make it in time for application). And will KLI arrange for us to take the TOPIK or will we have to take the test ourself? If not then can we transfer our scores in 6-level course into TOPIK?
    Thank you so so much!! I apologise for bombarding with questions like this! Actually I’m really confused as i need to make any seconds count for I’ll soon graduate from college. Your informative blog helps me answer a ton of questions!

    Like

    1. 1. Yes, I graduated from the course.
      2. You would have to register during the registration period. If you are sure you’ll complete the entire thing, you can register for them all at once.
      3. I’m not sure, you’ll have to ask the school.
      4. You have to register for TOPIK by yourself.
      5. TOPIK has nothing to do with schools’ language courses.

      Like

  11. 안녕하세요

    Thanks alot for providing valuable information. I am also planning to attend Yonsei regular program for atleast two semesters and I already have got admission for it. Now I have to submit the tuitions fees only. But before finalizing, I am still trying to reconsider whether to attend Korea university, SNU or Yonsei Korean Language program. I heard that Korea university and SNU has more scholarship opportunities than Yonsei from your 2nd semester. Can you please provide me with the information regarding scholarship in Yonsei Korean Language institute.
    And also I have studied Korean language in my home country for some years and I can communicate with native koreans upto intermediate level comfortably. So learning speaking only is not my priority (That’s why I didn’t considered Sogang University at all). I am looking forward to a program which can equally provide a boost in my written, speaking, listening skills and which have some scholarship opportunities also.

    Thanks :) 감사해요

    Like

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