Cost of Living in South Korea 2024

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South Korea is known for its distinctive culture, technological advancements, and beautiful landscapes. The country has a lot to offer its visitors and residents, making it an attractive destination for people from different walks of life. 

In particular, the entertainment and technology industries have been drawn to South Korea due to its booming K-pop music and K-dramas scene and the presence of companies such as Samsung and LG. As a result, many individuals in these industries are willing to relocate to South Korea to further their careers and experience the country’s unique culture.

Moreover, it is a popular study-abroad destination for international students, offering excellent academic programs and a progressive culture. The cost of living in South Korea is relatively affordable compared to other study-abroad destinations, making it an attractive option for students on a budget.

In this blog, we will explore the key highlights of the cost of living in South Korea for international students. We will cover the average living costs in South Korea, including rent, transportation, utilities, and tuition fees, as well as the top universities and scholarships available in the country.

So, if you’re considering studying in South Korea, keep reading to learn more about the cost of living in this fascinating country.

Here are the blog highlights:

Parameters (per month)Costs in KRWCosts in INR
Average Cost Of Living (without rent)14,05,61184K
Average Rent In City Centre668,75040K
Average Transportation Cost Monthly Pass60,0003,600
Basic Utilities Cost 223,29313K
Average Salary3,28,87,8882L
Average Tuition Fee11,54,611 KRW70,000
Top Universities-Seoul National University
-Korea University
-Yonsei University
Scholarships-Yonsei University For Undergraduate Program
-Changwon National University Scholarship
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Why Choose South Korea?

Here’s why South Korea could be a perfect fit for your study-abroad adventure:

  • Top-notch Education: South Korea has one of the world’s best universities with solid reputations in various fields, especially technology and engineering. Attending a Korean university can equip you with valuable skills and a respected degree.
  • Culturally Immersive:! Living in South Korea allows you to experience the culture that creates these global trends. Imagine exploring K-drama filming locations or attending K-pop concerts!
  • Affordable Education & Living: Compared to other developed nations, South Korea offers reasonable tuition fees and living costs, especially for accommodation and public transportation. There are also scholarship opportunities to explore.
  • Tech-Savvy Nation: South Korea is a leader in technology, with high-speed internet and a convenient digital infrastructure. These can make student life smoother and open doors to future tech careers.
  • Safe and Livable: South Korea is known for its low crime rates and overall safety. The efficient public transportation system makes getting around easy, and the high standard of living ensures a comfortable student experience.

Cost of living in South Korea for International Students

Understanding the cost of living in a foreign country is very important, especially for international students on a tight budget. It’s essential to manage your finances and create a budget in advance to ensure you have enough money to cover your expenses. 

To do this, you need to research the cost of living in the country, including accommodation, food, transportation, and other essential expenses. This will help you create a realistic budget and avoid financial difficulties. 

Below is a table of the monthly costs of living in South Korea, which can help you better plan your finances. 

ParametersCosts in KRW Costs in INR
Average Transportation Cost (Monthly Pass)60,0003,600
Average Basic Utility Cost2,23,29313,000
Mobile Phone Monthly Plan Costs63,0003,000
Internet Plan Costs30,0001,700
Average Food Cost321,00020,000
Healthcare costs1,20,0007000
Average Rent In South Korea City Centre6,68,75040,000
Average On-Campus Rent500,00030,000
Sourced By: Numbeo
Note: The costs mentioned in the table are approximate and may vary by location and currency exchange rates.

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Cost of Living in South Korea 2024

City-wise Cost Of Living in South Korea

When considering living in South Korea, it’s important to note that the cost of living can also vary significantly between cities. Knowing the costs of different cities can help you decide where to live and plan your budget accordingly. 

For instance, Seoul, the capital city, tends to be more expensive than other cities in South Korea, whereas cities like Busan and Daegu have a lower cost of living. Researching and comparing the cost of living in different cities is essential to determine which suits your budget and lifestyle.

Here’s a table of the average costs of living in some popular South Korean cities:

CitiesOther costs (without rent)Average Rent per month
Seoul 15,50,106 KRW (INR 93,000)11,54,611 KRW (INR 70,000)
Busan13,47,709 KRW (INR 81,000)5,72,500 KRW (INR 34,000)
Jeju14,98,778 KRW (INR 90,000)18,79,743 KRW (INR 1L)
Daejeon16,10,205 KRW (INR 97,000)4,21,666 KRW (INR 25,000)
Incheon13,74,787 KRW (INR 82,000)5,25,000 KRW (INR 31,000)
Sourced By: Numbeo
Note: The costs mentioned in the table are approximate and may vary by location and currency exchange rates.

Top 5 Universities In South Korea

South Korea is known for its top-notch universities and academic excellence. It is home to the world’s best universities and attracts many international students yearly. According to the QS ranking, 5 South Korean universities are ranked within the top 100 globally and 15 rank among the top 500, making it a brilliant destination for students seeking quality education.

South Korean universities offer a wide range of courses in various fields, including:

  • Business
  • Technology
  • Humanities
  • Engineering
  • Social Sciences
  • Natural Sciences

The tuition fees for international students in South Korea vary depending on the university and course of study. On average, international students can expect to pay between INR 4L and INR 8L per year. South Korea is also known for offering various scholarships, like the KNU International Graduate Scholarship, which can significantly reduce the cost of education.

Studying in South Korea can provide students with a unique cultural experience that combines traditional and modern aspects. The blend of culture and technology makes South Korea a progressive student destination.

Here is a table of the top 5 universities in South Korea, along with their average tuition fees:

Top UniversitiesAverage Tuition Fees for UGAverage Tuition Fees for PG
Seoul National University45,00,000 – 60,00,000 KRW
(INR 2.7L – 3.6L)
50,70,000 -70,80,000 KRW  (INR 1.9L – 3.4L)
KAIST – Korea Advanced Institute of Science & TechnologyKRW 9,559,000 (INR 5.7L)KRW 9,559,000 (INR 5.7L)
Yonsei UniversityKRW 23,300,000 – 33,900,000 
(INR 14L to 21L)
KRW 33,900,000- 50,800,000
(INR 20L TO 30L)
Korea University43,00,000 KRW
(INR 2.5L)
68,97,000 KRW (INR 4.1L)
Pohang University of Science And Technology (POSTECH)1,33,75,324 KRW 
2,13,75,324 KRW (INR 12L)
Note: The fees mentioned in the table are approximate and may vary by course

Top 10 Courses To Study In South Korea

South Korea is home to some of the world’s top universities, offering a range of academic programs and research opportunities. The country has become a popular destination for international students, including those from India, who are attracted to the quality of education and unique cultural experiences.

In the previous year, around 3,500 Indian students went to South Korea for higher education, making it one of the top study-abroad destinations for Indian students. South Korean universities offer undergraduate and graduate engineering, computer science, business, and humanities programs.

South Korean universities focus on various industries and fields, including technology, engineering, medicine, business, and the arts. However, the country is particularly renowned for excelling in technology and engineering, with universities such as the Seoul National University, KAIST, and POSTECH ranking among the top engineering schools in the world. 

Additionally, South Korea has a growing emphasis on research and development, with many universities investing heavily in research facilities and programs to drive innovation and technological advancements.

Here is a list of the top 10 courses to study in South Korea:

  1. Engineering and Technology
  2. Korean Language
  3. Business Administration
  4. Computer Science
  5. Business Management
  6. International Trade
  7. Hospitality and Tourism Management
  8. Design Media
  9. International Relations
  10. Biotechnology

Scholarships to Reduce Cost of Living in South Korea

International students pursuing higher education in South Korea can apply for various scholarships designed to mitigate the financial burden associated with living expenses. Various entities offer these scholarships, including the South Korean government, prestigious universities within the emirate, and private organisations committed to educational advancement. Scholarship awards include tuition fees, accommodation, and other essential living expenses.

Given the competitive nature of scholarship opportunities, it is highly recommended that international students submit their applications well before deadlines and ensure the inclusion of all necessary documentation. Selection criteria for scholarships vary, with some prioritising academic excellence while others may emphasise financial need, nationality, or a combination of factors.

By actively pursuing scholarships, international students can significantly reduce their cost of living in South Korea, allowing them to dedicate their focus to academic pursuits and personal development throughout their educational journey in South Korea.

Here is the list of available scholarships for International students in South Korea:

ScholarshipsAwarded ByType
KNU International Graduate Scholarship Kyunpook National University-50% or 100% tuition fees are waived. There are 70 new students and 210 enrolled students in both doctoral and master’s programs.
Yonsei University For Undergraduate ProgramYonsei University’s Underwood International College (UIC)Three categories: -Admissions-Merit-based-Need-based
Korea University’s Graduate School of International Studies (KU GSIS)Korea UniversityPartial or complete tuition coverage
Changwon National University ScholarshipChangwon National University-Scholarship period: 1 semester. According to the evaluation results, 70%, 50% or 30% tuition reduction.
Hanyang International Excellence AwardsHanyang UniversityBased on the evaluation results, the university waives 70%, 50%, or 30% of tuition fees.-Awarded for one semester.

How To Reduce Cost Of Living In South Korea?

Even though South Korea provides an exceptional academic experience, the expenses associated with living there can be a hurdle for Indian students. Nevertheless, these expenses can be reduced by carefully managing finances and planning.

Here are some recommendations to lessen your cost of living in South Korea as an Indian student:

  • Explore Housing Options: Look beyond traditional studio rooms and consider multi-tenant houses or villas in the suburbs for potentially lower rents.
  • Negotiate Rent: Korean landlords are often open to negotiation, especially for longer leases or upfront deposits.
  • Become a Savvy Grocery Shopper: Shop at local markets and discount grocery stores like E-Mart or Lotte Mart for better deals on fresh produce and pantry staples.
  • Cook at Home: Preparing meals at home is significantly cheaper than eating out regularly.
  • Invest in a T-Money Card: This rechargeable transit card offers discounted fares on buses and subways.
  • Utilise Public Transportation: In most cases, South Korea’s extensive and affordable public transportation system makes a car unnecessary.
  • Seek Student Discounts: Many museums, attractions, and performances offer discounts for students.
  • Download Discount Apps: Many apps offer discounts for restaurants, cafes, and entertainment options.
  • Explore Part-time Work Opportunities: Securing part-time employment, subject to regulations, can provide a means to generate additional income.

By implementing these strategies, you can significantly reduce living costs and enjoy a fulfilling experience in South Korea.

Cost of living in South Korea vs. India

If you are considering moving to South Korea from India, you must be aware of the significant changes you may encounter regarding culture, lifestyle, and cost of living. South Korea has a unique culture and customs, which may take some time to adjust. Additionally, the cost of living in South Korea is generally higher than in India, which may require some financial planning and adjustment. On the other hand, India is known for its relatively affordable living costs. 

This difference is primarily due to various factors, such as currency exchange rates, average salaries, and the cost of goods and services

Understanding these variations can help you plan your finances better and make an informed decision before moving to South Korea.

Here is a table that compares the monthly cost of living in South Korea and India.

ParametersCosts of living in South KoreaCosts of living in India
Average Cost Of Living (without rent)KRW 14,05,326 (INR 84K)INR 28K
Average Transportation Cost (Monthly Pass)KRW 60,000 (INR 3600)INR 1000K
Average Basic Utility CostKRW 2,23,293 (INR 13K)INR 3500
Mobile Phone Monthly Plan CostsKRW 63,000 (INR 3000)INR 315
Internet Plan CostsKRW 30,000 (INR 1700)INR 700
Average Food CostKRW 321,000 (INR 20K)INR 3000-5000
Healthcare costsKRW 1,20,000 (INR  7000)INR 500-1000
Average Rent In South Korea City CentreKRW 6,68,750(INR 40,000)INR 17K
Average Tuition FeesKRW 90,00,000(INR 5.4L)INR 1L to 8L
Sourced By: Numbeo

Note: The costs mentioned in the table are approximate and may vary by location and currency exchange rates.

Final Thoughts

Studying in South Korea can be an enriching experience for international students, with its world-class universities, unique culture, and affordable cost of living. In this blog, we have explored the key highlights of the cost of living in South Korea for international students, including the average living costs, top universities, and scholarships available in the country. 

The city-wise cost of living in South Korea can help students plan their budgets accordingly. With its advanced digital infrastructure, efficient public transportation, and low crime rates, South Korea provides a safe and comfortable environment for students to pursue their academic goals. 

LeapScholar is dedicated to empowering international students throughout their educational journey. We provide comprehensive guidance and support services, encompassing everything from navigating the application process to securing visas.

Our commitment lies in ensuring a smooth transition, a maximised academic experience, and a financially responsible and enriching time for international students in South Korea. Download our app to chart your course towards a successful and fulfilling educational journey in South Korea.

And if you’re considering other options like the UK, USA and Australia, we’ve got you covered, too. Schedule a free consultation with our experts today for personalised guidance and advice.

Also Read: 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Q: What are some of the most popular courses in South Korea?

    A: South Korea is known for its high-quality education system and offers international students a wide range of courses. Some of the most popular courses in South Korea include computer science, engineering, business, and Korean language and culture. Korean universities are also known for their excellent research programs in science and technology.

  • Q: Is South Korea expensive for Indian students?

    A: The cost of living in South Korea can be high for international students, including Indian students. However, the cost of living will depend on factors such as the city, lifestyle, and accommodation options. Students can expect to pay for accommodation, food, transport, and health insurance expenses. Planning a budget and researching available scholarships and financial aid options is recommended. However, the salary South Korean companies offer is also one of the highest in the world.

  • Q: What is the monthly cost of living in South Korea?

    A: South Korea’s living costs vary depending on the city and lifestyle. Students can expect to spend around 14,05,611 KRW (approx.INR 84K) monthly on food, transportation, and other expenses. This amount can be higher or lower depending on the city, accommodation options, and lifestyle choices. Planning a budget and researching cost-saving options such as scholarships and part-time jobs is essential.

  • Q: What is the cost of living in Seoul?

    A: Seoul is one of the most expensive cities in South Korea, and the cost of living can be relatively high compared to other cities. Students can expect to spend around 27,00,000 (INR 1.6L) monthly on accommodation, food, transport, and other living expenses. However, students can also find cost-saving options like shared accommodation and affordable dining options.

  • Q: How much is the rent in South Korea per month?

    A: The cost of rent in South Korea can vary depending on the city and type of accommodation. On average, students can expect to spend around 500,000(INR 30,000) monthly on rent for a shared apartment or dormitory. However, students can also find more affordable homestays or shared accommodation options. Researching accommodation options and considering location, accessibility, and amenities is recommended before deciding.

  • Q: What are some of the best cities in South Korea to live in?

    A: South Korea has many great cities to live in, each with its unique culture and charm. Some of the best cities to live in South Korea are Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Gyeongju, and Jeju Island. Seoul, the capital, is the most popular city and offers a vibrant lifestyle with numerous job opportunities. On the other hand, Busan is known for its beautiful beaches and laid-back lifestyle, making it a great choice for those who enjoy a slower pace of life.

  • Q: Is South Korea a good option for Indian students to study?

    A: South Korea is a great option for Indian students to study. The country has a high-quality education system with world-renowned universities offering various courses in various fields. Additionally, South Korea is technologically advanced and provides ample research opportunities, making it an attractive destination for students pursuing higher studies. The cost of living in South Korea is also comparatively lower than other popular study destinations, making it an affordable option for students.

  • Q: What is the average annual salary in South Korea?

    A: The average annual salary in South Korea varies based on the industry and profession. According to recent data, the average annual salary in South Korea is around 46,800,000 (INR 30L), with the highest-paying industries being finance, technology, and engineering. The salary also varies based on the level of education and experience. However, it’s important to note that the cost of living in South Korea is also relatively high, so it’s important to consider the expenses when considering the salary.

  • Q: Do South Korean Universities offer scholarships to International students?

    A: Yes, South Korean universities do offer scholarships to international students. Scholarships are available for various levels of study, including undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. The government provides some scholarships, while the universities themselves offer others. The scholarships can cover tuition fees, living expenses, and even airfare. However, the availability and eligibility criteria for scholarships vary from university to university, so it’s important to check with the specific institution.

  • Q: How can Indian students reduce living costs in South Korea?

    A: Indian students can cut down the cost of living in South Korea by opting for shared accommodation, cooking at home instead of eating out, and using public transportation instead of taxis. Additionally, students can take advantage of discounts offered for students, such as reduced fees for public transportation and entry to tourist attractions. It’s also wise to research and compare prices before making any major purchases or investments.

  • Q: What is the average rent in Seoul?

    A: The average rent in Seoul varies depending on the location, size, and accommodation type. However, on average, a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre costs around 11,54,611 KRW (INR 70,000) monthly. It’s important to note that the rent may differ based on various factors, such as the age of the building, amenities provided, and the neighbourhood

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Saket Kohli

An International Higher Ed professional with 7+ years of experience studying, working, and living across three geographies, currently on a mission to share his journey as an International Student.

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