Ajou University

Suwon, South Korea

The exchange agreement

The exchange agreement between the University of Lethbridge and the Ajou University was signed in 2001.

Semester dates

Fall semester
late August -  late December
Orientation: late August
Suggested arrival: late August
Spring semester
early March – late June
Orientation: late February
Suggested arrival: late February

The country

South Korea, officially known as the Republic of Korea, lies adjacent to China and Japan. The northern border of South Korea is formed by the Amnokgang (Yalu) and Dumangang (Tumen) rivers, which separate it from Manchuria. A 16-kilometer segment of the Dumangang to the east also serves as a natural border with Russia. The west coast of the Korean Peninsula is bounded by the Korean Bay to the north and the West Sea to the south; the east coast faces the East Sea.

There are about 3,000 islands belonging to South Korea. The islands are located mostly off the west and south coasts; only a handful of them lie off the East Sea. At the end of World War II, the peninsula was divided into a northern zone occupied by Soviet forces and a southern zone occupied by U.S. forces.

Mountain ranges have traditionally served as natural boundary markers between regions. Because these natural boundaries inhibited contact between peoples living on either side of the range, substantial regional differences developed in both the spoken language and customs of the people.

For more information about South Korea see sites such as en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Korea

The city

Ajou University is located in the central area of Suwon. Suwon (Suwon-si) is now the largest city (population: 1,105,953) in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea. It is also the provincial capital. Suwon is approximately 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Seoul which is the world's 10th largest city. Suwon can be reached from downtown Seoul in under an hour by train, subway or bus (see Transportation).

During the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), the city served as one of five fortresses guarding the approach to Seoul. In the late 18th century, King Chongjo made an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to make Suwon the nation's capital with the construction of Hwaseong, a fortress wall running around the entire city. The walls once encircled the entire city, but recent urban growth has seen the city spread out far beyond the fortress.

Now, Suwon is home to the Suwon World Cup Stadium, a venue during the 2002 World Cup tournament and home to K-League defending champion Suwon Samsung Bluewings (Part of Asia's Premier Club). Suwon is often called the capital of Korean football (soccer) because of the popularity of the sport in this region. The city is also home to Korean Baseball Organization team Hyundai Unicorns.

Suwon is home to major South Korean industries such as Samsung Electronics. A variety of shopping experiences are available here, from traditional markets to department stores and from corner grocers to multi-floor supermarkets. There are also many different restaurants, from family owned traditional style to national and international franchises. Suwon is famous for Suwon kalbi, a variation on the original kalbi theme enjoyed throughout South Korea.

It is easy to get around in Suwon due to efficient public transportation system. Many attractions are within a one-hour trip from Suwon, including the Everland Amusement and Water Park complex, the Korean Folk Village, and the entire international metropolis of Seoul.

For further information about Suwon, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suwon.

The university

Ajou University is one of the most dynamic universities in Korea, located in and among the cultural, historical, industrial and recreational resources of Suwon.

Since its inception in 1973, Ajou University has been nationally recognized for its excellent programs in Engineering, Medicine, Business, Computer Engineering and International Studies. In these fields of study, Ajou University has been ranked as one of the top schools in the nation in many surveys and evaluations conducted by Korean governments and private foundations.

Located in central Suwon, Ajou University and the surrounding communities offer a rich educational and recreational environment with the unique cultural and historic heritage and easy access to the diversity of Seoul. The university provides a cozy academic and residential atmosphere with harmoniously arranged classrooms, laboratories, libraries, residential halls, and recreational and cultural facilities on the main campus of 130 acres with 35 buildings. The immediate area around the university is surrounded by an abundance of restaurants, pubs, and shops.

For further information, check the Ajou University website and the Ajou International page.


A good variety of courses are offered in English each semester at Ajou University. The Ajou International Exchange Office requires that exchange students take a minimum of 4 classes per semester. The U of L requires that all their students complete a Korea language course while at Ajou University.

Ajou International Summer School (AISS)

In addition to its two regular full-length semesters, Ajou University offers a six-week International Summer School program that runs every summer from July-August. Delivered entirely in English, the focus of the program is Korean and Asian Studies; a few business courses are also offered. It includes an intensive Korean language class. Students are matched with friendly Korean buddies; classes are small, and students are taken on cultural field trips.

University of Lethbridge students can earn a maximum of 3 U of L courses (9 credits) for courses taken at Ajou Summer School. Courses can 'transfer' back as Management 3/4XXX, Social Science 1/2XXX, or Humanities 1/2XXX. Each 3-credit Ajou summer course is equated as one 3-credit U of L course. Specific course availability can be viewed on the Ajou University website. The program cost of approximately C$780 includes dormitory housing, meals, and cultural trips. Flight, health insurance, and U of L tuition are additional costs.

Cultural trips and events

Ajou University offers various free cultural trips for incoming exchange students each semester. These trips may include trips to Jeju Island, Suwon (including Korean Folk Village, and Hwasong Fortress), and Seoul City. Other social activities are also planned each weekend by the Friends Club, who act as buddies to international exchange students. Each November, in celebration of the internationally recognized International Education Week, Ajou University organizes an International Festival celebrating through, dance, social activities, and especially food. Exchange students play a significant role in these events by running their home country's booth, and presenting information about their home institution. During this festival, tents are set up on campus selling beers and snacks. During the spring semester, Ajou University and all other Korean universities hold a Spring Festival. This is also a big event with showcase performances by both celebrities and various campus clubs.


Ajou University boasts excellent housing on-campus, featuring both suites and an apartment style complex. Called "Wonchun Academic Hall," the Student Residence Halls of Ajou University accommodate 2,400 students in four modern buildings, which accounts for 27% of the total students attending Ajou University. Each room in student housing is equipped with internet access that enables students to connect to Ajou University's on-line registration system and the school library. Most students share a room with one other student.

University Dining Service provides students with meal plans at a very low cost. For those not selecting a meal plan, several cafeterias and kitchen facilities are available on campus, or students could frequent the many restaurants close to campus.


Suwon is a regional transportation hub and an important stop on the Gyeongbu railway line going from Seoul to Busan, although the new KTX high-speed train has changed things slightly. Suwon is connected to Seoul with city and express buses and also the Seoul subway network. Suwon is also a stop on Seoul Subway Line 1, which runs from Cheonan in the south all the way to Uijeongbu in the north-east and can be reached from downtown Seoul in under an hour.

Buses are relatively cheap in South Korea. The city has special student fares. Depending on the station where you want to go, it will cost between ₩400-1,500, approx. C$0.50-$2.00.

Arrival information

The Ajou University International Office arranges transportation for exchange students from the Incheon International Airport (Seoul); for a shuttle, the cost is approximately C$15. Your arrival form will be required for the complimentary airport pick-up.

Visa requirements

All exchange students are required to apply for the D-2 (student) visa.

For further details about this visa, contact the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Vancouver:

The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Vancouver
1600-1090 W Georgia St
Vancouver BC V6E 3V7Tel: +1.604.681.9581
Fax: +1.604.681.4864
Email: vancouver@mofat.go.kr
Website: http://can-vancouver.mofa.go.kr/korean/am/can-vancouver/main/index.jsp
The visa application process may have changed since this page was updated. Please email International Programs (int.programs@uleth.ca) for the most current information.


Based on comments from our previous exchange students to South Korea, the costs for the exchange are approximately as follows:

  • Housing: C$800-900 per semester
  • Textbooks: C$16-20 per course
  • Food: approx. C$2-6 per meal in many restaurants
  • Transportation: C$0.50-$2 per bus ride
  • Visa: C$65


  • Video clip (MOV, 00:05:01) of South Korean exchange students and a former U of L exchange student to South Korea, as well as the talk about the South Korea exchange at our February 2005 U of L International Program info sessions
  • Video clip (MOV) prepared by Richard Wong, one of our former incoming international exchange students from Korea

Student contacts

"I had an amazing time on my exchange, and would highly recommend it."

Brice Peressini, UofL exchange student to Ajou University

Former and current U of L exchange students to Ajou University, as well as our current incoming exchange students from South Korea are happy to talk to students interested in the exchange. To request their contact information, please email int.programs@uleth.ca.