International Schools in Seoul
For those looking for the best international schools in Seoul, there are just over 20 to choose from. There are 7 American schools, 10 International Baccalaureate (IB) schools, 4 British as well as 2 French and 1 German school.
Living in Seoul
South Korea’s capital city of Seoul, with its urban population of almost 10 million and metropolitan area population of 25 million, is a modern megacity. It has the one of the largest metropolitan populations in the world, second only to Tokyo. In spite of its size, Seoul is a very clean, safe city where modern skycrapers, futuristic architecture and high-tech subways meet beautiful palaces, Buddhist temples and numerous busy street markets.
Over the last 15 years the Seoul Metropolitan Government have been actively re-greening the city which has resulted in noticeable improvements in air quality, wildlife and city living. The new green spaces around the city include wooded areas, a restored (formerly underground) river with riverside walks, community gardens, play areas for children, exercise equipment, art installations and education facilities. Seoul is also surrounded by many natural areas of forested mountains.
Most South Koreans are taught English as a second language at school but it is not widely spoken, especially by the older generations. Any writing on road and street signs is usually in the Korean alphabet and either English or a romanised translation. Driving can be a little daunting as the roads are very busy and the lane system can be confusing. Pink Parking spaces, giving priority for women, are situated close to the entrance of many offices and shops. If you prefer not to drive however, public transport is inexpensive and efficient.
South Koreans are generally helpful and friendly and love children. In Seoul there are plenty of themed restaurants aimed at children and supervised play spaces within shopping malls and restaurants.
Korean food is now becoming popular around the world. There are many different restaurants and dishes to try. Street food is also available everywhere, is inexpensive and has an excellent reputation.
Seoul has hot, humid Summers with the odd monsoon (June to August) and cold, dry Winters with the occasional covering of snow.
Living in Korea will age you! Everyone is 1 from birth and becomes one year older on New Year’s Day (mostly going by the Chinese New Year). This means that your Korean age will be one or two years older than your Western age.
Best areas for family living
The districts that Seoul is divided up into are known as gu, within these are the neighbourhoods known as dong.
The Han River runs through the centre of the city. Most expats live north of the river but there are some popular, new neighbourhoods to the south of the river.
North of the river
Itaewon is a hilly area bordering onto the Namsan Mountain Park with a busy main street full of unique shops, restaurants, bars and clubs. It is well served by public transport probably the most popular area with expats. It is possible to find villas and large family houses with gardens here.
Hannam is a modern and sophisticated area adjacent to Itaewon, but a little further from the subway station, with stylish boutiques, galleries, restaurants and quirky cafes. The housing here is mostly comprised of villas and large family houses with the most exclusive residential areas being the UN Village, The Hill and Richensia Apartments.
Ichon is home to the urban nature themed I-Park shopping mall and close to the Yongsan Family Park and Dragon Falls. Ichon has a large community of Japanese expats so there is a great selection of authentic Japanese restaurants here. Most of the accommodation in this area is in apartment complexes and very convenient for public transport.
Seongbuk is an affluent village in the hills to the north of the city centre surrounded by mountain parks with trails, temples and pagodas and bordered by the old fortress wall. This area has plenty of restaurants and cafés, lovely gardens, historic houses, many large, family homes and is still commutable into the city centre.
South of the river
Gangnam, famous around the world now thanks to K Pop band PSY, is a popular, affluent residential district with a large international community and also home to many Koreans. Gangnam is modern and stylish area full of new, luxurious apartments, offices, designer shops, upmarket restaurants and exclusive nightclubs. Gangnam does have some quieter areas like Daechi-dong, a number of beautiful parks and a Buddhist temple. This area is very central and well served by public transport.
Where Seoul international schools are distributed (view our List of International Schools in Seoul to see a live map):
Best International Schools in Seoul - Rankings
Note: our rankings are based on parent, pupil and teacher reviews. If you think your Seoul school should be in the top 15, get reviewing - we want to hear from real people with real experiences at schools so parents, teachers and pupils get the real story when they research their next school. You can find your school in the full List of International Schools in Seoul, or search by name here.
If you prefer, you can filter by age, curriculum and language on the Seoul school list.
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