Thinking of studying in Korea or living here long-term? Not a fan of the hurried nature of city life? Then you’ll probably love Namyangju, a small city just 45 mins from Seoul and home of Kyungbok University. Have the chance to enjoy the zest of the Korean capital, with the calm, laid-back atmosphere of a smaller city. Here is a glimpse of student life in Namyangju city.
Namyangju is Korea’s international hub of organic farming. Over 10,000 tonnes of Korean ‘meok-gol’ pears are produced annually, exported both domestically and across the globe. One of the reasons Namyangju is such an ample spot for growing fruit and veg is the abundance of fertile grassland and mineral-rich mountains. What’s more, the clean air will entice you to stay here a long time.
Here is some general information about Namyangju:
- Province: Gyeonggi
- Population: ~ 600,000
- Area: ~500km²
- Distance from Seoul: ~15km
- Sister City: Salerno, Italy
For more info, including tourist maps, check out the official Namyangju website (available in English, Japanese, Chinese and Mongolian.)
Student Life in Namyangju: Kyungbok University
I moved to Namyangju just one month ago as a new student of Kyungbok University. Namyangju felt like a second home within such a short time. I enrolled in a 6-month Korean Language program, consisting of 9am – 1pm classes on weekdays. After class, I typically eat lunch at the cafeteria with friends, and then study during the afternoon. However, I do have plenty of time to explore Namyangju as well.
Korean Language Program
I highly recommend this course to anyone wanting to learn Korean or experience living abroad for a short, yet significant, period of time. The teachers are incredibly kind and patient, encouraging us to speak Korean despite our mistakes. In order to achieve a high grade, you should complete your homework each day, arrive to class on time and always be polite to others. Moreover, following this etiquette will help you understand Korean culture better.
If you’d like to study longer than 6-months, there are additional Korean language programs you can enroll in after you complete the initial course, so long as you secure the correct visa. Alternatively, if you’re not interested in studying Korean full-time, there are a variety of conventional degrees taught in English, such as Nursing, Education, International Tourism and Architecture. Additionally, there are several scholarships available for international students, especially those with TOPIK or IELTS certificates.
Most students live in the Kyungbok University dorms and use the shuttle bus for transportation, in order to save money. To make things even cheaper, you can choose to share a room with 2-3 students.
Kyunbok University International Students
The ethos of Kyungbok University promotes loyalty, dedication and kindness amongst its students. While Kyungbok is not as famous as Seoul National or Yonsei Universities, its graduates had the “highest employment rate of the entire country”, according to the Ministry of Education (2019.) Kyungbok also values international education and collaboration greatly, and so there are many services available for international students, such as language and immigration support, counselling and job placements.
For more information, see the official Kyungbok University website
Because it’s only 45 mins by bus, many international students head to Seoul during their free time. However, there are plenty of great destinations close by that we like to enjoy too. Here are just a few of the unique places on offer:
- Dasan Heritage Site (free entry)
- Sujeongsa Temple
- Bongseonsa Temple
- The Royal Tombs (Hongneung and Yureung)
- Natural History Museum
- The Water Garden
- Sudong Valley
Many of these destinations, particularly the royal tombs, are ones that Korean tourists travel from all over the country just to visit. And yet, if you live in Namyangju, they’re right on your doorstep.
Getting to/from Namyangju
The best way to get to Namyangju from Seoul — or vice versa — is the express intercity bus no. 8012. It’s a little more expensive (2,800 per trip) than typical town buses, but it departs from Kyungbok University Station and goes straight to Jamsil Bus Terminal in 45 minutes. Seoulites will tell you that you can easily go anywhere from Jamsil, either via subway or bus.
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