Harvard Summer Program in Seoul, Korea

NOTE: 2016 program information is currently displayed. This program is expected to run in 2017 and updated information will be published in mid-October.

June 20, 2016 to August 13, 2016
Apply by: 
January 28, 2016

Seoul provides a stunning venue for exploring distinctive features of Korean culture, present and past. In this program, offered at a major university in Seoul, you examine Korea’s contemporary place in the world, as well as its past, through a content course and multitrack instruction in Korean language. Through framing activities, you experience various aspects of South Korean culture. 

No prior knowledge of Korean is needed to participate.

In this program, we examine Korea’s contemporary and historical place in the world through the lenses of cinema and culture, combined with practical training in documentary filmmaking.

You take one academic content course and one language course. Language course-levels may be revised as needed, upon acceptance. 


KORE S-BA Study Abroad in Korea: Elementary Korean ( 32194)

Hi-Sun Helen Kim

4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

This course is designed for students who have no prior knowledge of Korean. The objective of the course is to equip students with communicative skills in speaking, listening, reading, and writing at a basic level. Students learn how to express simple ideas such as identities, locations, time, daily activities, weekend plans, and desires; combine simple ideas in a variety of ways; and become familiar with various aspects of Korean culture, history, and daily life.

Prerequisite: none.

KORE S-120A Study Abroad in Korea: Intermediate Korean ( 32195)

Hi-Sun Helen Kim

4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

KORE S-120a is designed for students who have already taken elementary Korean (Ba and Bb) or students who have an equivalent proficiency level. This course aims to increase their ability to communicate in Korean in a wide range of daily life situations with an equal focus on expanding their knowledge of the fundamental grammar of Korean. Students are introduced to reading materials of increasing complexity on a variety of topics in modern Korean society and culture.

KORE S-130A Study Abroad in Korea: Pre-Advanced Korean ( 32646)

This course is cancelled.

4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

KORE S-130a is the first half of the pre-advanced course and is designed for students who have completed Intermediate Korean 120 or have the equivalent proficiency level. Students consolidate previously learned grammatical patterns and vocabulary through written and audio-visual materials on a variety of topics. Emphasis is placed on developing abilities to present opinions and elaborate on ideas through discussion and writing. Chinese characters are introduced in this course.

KORE S-140A Study Abroad in Korea: Advanced Korean ( 32196)

Hi-Sun Helen Kim

4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

KORE S-140a is designed to provide students with greater reading skills and socio-cultural knowledge of Korean beyond the high-intermediate level. They develop skills in reading authentic materials from contemporary Korean media and fiction, and aural comprehension of contemporary television documentaries, news, and drama with decreased reliance on pedagogical aids. The course also aims to enhance their speaking and writing skills to discuss various issues of modern Korean society and culture.

KORE S-150A Study Abroad in Korea: High-Advanced Korean ( 32642)

This course is cancelled.

4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

KORE S-150a is designed to provide students with advanced reading and speaking skills beyond KORE S-140a. The goal is to equip students with a superior proficiency level, via in-depth reading and discussion. Various prominent issues in modern Korean society and culture are the topics for the reading, discussion, and writing activities.

VISU S-193 Study Abroad in Korea: Cinema Korea—Documenting Korean Society Through Film ( 32945)

Paul Yunsik Chang
David Chung

4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

This course combines a critical and practical introduction to filmmaking, interweaving the close study of films about Korean society with basic training in the essential stages of film production. In an intensive five weeks we explore different ways that the cinema can engage major and influential social change in Korean society, both by studying and making films that creatively interpret the nation's past. We explore a range of different theoretical and historical approaches to filmmaking, guided by weekly screenings and close discussion of films, both fiction and documentary, that interpret events with a shaping impact on contemporary Korean society. Practical instruction in digital filmmaking further structures and defines this course through weekly instructional sessions focused on the basics of camera operation, editing, sound, and post-production. Working in teams students produce, as their final and mid-term projects, short films expanding on the notion of the cinema as a tool for creatively engaging with society as a malleable and at times quite eccentric form of storytelling.

Several larger questions inspire the critical and practical objectives of this class. What does cinematic form and narrative uniquely bring to the exploration of Korean society? How is our understanding of society different when seen through the lens of the cinema, whether as a film viewer or filmmaker? How does Korea's especially turbulent history lend itself to cinema? And how has film traditionally represented and explored Korean society? At the center of the class are guided class excursions to key sites in Seoul and also to historically significant regions of South Korea, journeys of discovery where students' newly learned filmmaking skills are immediately tested. Throughout the class, visits by historians, filmmakers, and artists versed in traditional Korean arts provide unique encounters with different authoritative and authentic voices on Korean society as an interpretative field.

Course credit


The application deadline has passed.

Before applying, review the Admission and Policies and FAQs pages.

You must be at least 18 years old and have completed at least one year of college or be a first-year student in good academic standing to apply.

The application materials, outlined below, are due January 28, 2016:

  • A completed online application (available in early December) that includes:
    • A $50 nonrefundable application fee
    • A statement of interest in the program, including information on relevant coursework and travel experience abroad (previous travel is not a prerequisite)
    • Transcripts (Harvard students may submit an unofficial transcript accessed from my.harvard.edu.)

You will be notified of admission decisions by mid- to late-February.


There is a nonrefundable $50 application fee. The cost of the program includes the following:

  • Tuition
  • Room and some meals
  • All scheduled excursions and extracurricular activities

In addition to the program fee, you are responsible for:

  • Textbooks
  • A health insurance fee (waived if you have US insurance that provides coverage outside the United States)
  • Transportation to and from Seoul
  • The cost of passports and visas (if the latter is needed)
  • Any immunizations

Suggested budget

See a sample budget for estimated expenses.

How to pay and funding options

See Payment and Funding for payment deadlines, deposit amounts, and more information, including funding options for Harvard College students.


You stay in coed dormitories at a university in Seoul. All rooms are doubles and include breakfast.

Additional information

Contact Catherine Glover, cglover@fas.harvard.edu.

Students with disabilities

Contact the Accessibility Services Office as soon as possible. See Students in Need of Accommodations for more information.


  • Paul Yunsik Chang, PhD, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Harvard University
  • David Chung, MFA, Professor, School of Art & Design and Core Faculty, Center for Korean Studies, University of Michigan
  • Hi-Sun Helen Kim, PhD, Director of the Korean Language Program and Senior Preceptor in East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University