Search for the best international schools in South Korea; you can find a list of selected schools at the bottom of this page. Use the search filters to select only girls' or boys' schools, prep schools, senior schools or sixth forms; or you can search for schools that offer a particular curriculum, such as the International Baccalaureate, the UK national curriculum, a US-style model or the International Primary Curriculum.
Poor in natural resources, South Korea’s economic success has been powered by its highly skilled workforce and Korean citizens are noted for their educational zeal. Gross tertiary enrolment was 95 per cent in 2013, one of the highest rates in the world.
The country’s well-established international school sector is being enlarged under a government drive to develop an English-speaking regional education hub on the island of Jeju, part of a wider effort to attract more international students.
Since 2011, four schools have opened at Jeju Global Education City, including branch campuses of the UK’s North London Collegiate School, which routinely tops British school league tables, and prestigious Canadian girls’ boarding school Branksome Hall.
The American independent boarding school St Johnsbury Academy, which was founded in 1842, opened an international branch campus on Jeju in October 2017. The co-educational school for 1,254 students will provide an American-style education from pre-Kindergarten 3 to Grade 12 and offered 498 places up to Grade 10 in its first year.
International schools are mainly centred on the capital Seoul and neighbouring Incheon, where a second education hub is taking shape. The sector is officially divided into “foreign schools”, where at least 70 per cent of students must be foreign nationals, and open-access “international schools”.
The vast majority teach in English and most are coeducational day schools but a handful offer boarding options. Some, such as Busan Foreign School and Seoul International School, offer an American-style education, while others follow the English national curriculum. Recent additions have included sister campuses to London’s Dulwich College and Chadwick School in Los Angeles.
There are 12 IB World Schools, which all teach in English. Of these, 11 are authorised to deliver the International Baccalaureate Diploma and six also offer the primary years and middle years programmes. The Council of International Schools has six accredited member schools.
South Korea boasts one of the world’s oldest international schools. Seoul Foreign School, which was founded in 1912, incorporates the Seoul British Foreign School, which follows the English national curriculum to the end of Key Stage Three, while parallel elementary and middle school sections offer an American-style education.
The two streams unite in the SFS High School, which offers IGCSEs, the IB Diploma and an American high school diploma. SFS was authorised to offer the IB Primary Years Programme in its elementary section in 2017 and is a candidate school for the Middle Years Programme.
Education is compulsory in Korea from age six to 15, but virtually all children attend school up to age 18. In the Korean-medium state system, primary school lasts six years, middle school three years and high school three years. Entry to university is determined by the College Scholastic Ability Test.
If you are looking specifically for International Baccalaureate World Schools in the Republic of Korea, you can find selected schools on our sister website: www.ibyb.org.