What if I don’t live in my home country?

This was my biggest concern when I applied.

The official KGSP information includes a handy dandy FAQ… which either didn’t address, or didn’t fully answer most of the questions I had. Useful right? (To be fair it probably will clear up a lot of your questions, but may leave you with others.)

So there is one question in it that does address people who do not live in their home country.

16. I am Japanese but I am working in Vietnam. May I apply for the program through the Korean Embassy in Vietnam?

Perfect. I am American but I was working in Japan, so what do they say?

Sorry, but you can’t. You should apply for the program through the Korean Embassy in Japan. In addition, the Korean diplomatic missions of the countries where scholarships are not available are not empowered for selection of the candidates of the program.

That’s pretty good, and it is certainly the correct answer.

If you live in a country that is not your home country then you have two choices. You can apply through a designated university, or you can apply through the embassy in your home country. (So, basically the same two choices as everyone else…)

The basic assumption of the universities is that you aren’t in Korea (and all the better if you are in Korea), so beyond that the universities don’t care where you are. No matter what your country is or where you are in the world, you can apply through a designated university. (That is assuming your country has a “university quota” and you should check this.)

Regarding the embassy application, however, you should probably confirm with your embassy that it will be okay. Most things shouldn’t be a problem, but my concern was interviews.

I had found a lot of different experiences from past applicants about interviews. Some said they got called by the embassy. Some said they were never interviewed. Yet other people said they were forced to travel halfway across their country to go to an interview in person. This last one was the thing that worried me. If my country absolutely required an in person interview (and usually with very little notice) then that was not going to be possible.

This was when I called the Korean Embassy in Washington, DC. They said they couldn’t answer my question because I don’t live in Maryland, Virginia, or any other state in their jurisdiction. (For any country other than the USA you don’t have to worry about this issue. The embassy is the only place in your country that you can apply.)

So, I called the Korean Consulate in New York City (because my parents live there, and I have a New York driver’s license). They weren’t exactly sure what to do with someone living abroad (and told me to call NIIED), but by that time I had decided that if the Atlanta consulate was in charge of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, then an in person interview was probably not going to be an issue for USA candidates.

I ended up applying through the consulate in New York (if you are from the US and living abroad, go with whatever state your parents live in as your local residence, or if you have any other way to establish residence in the US). I also sent a copy of my New York license to show that I did in fact have a reason to be applying there. Overall, New York was pretty laid back. DC was less friendly…

But again, if you are from a country other than the USA  and are living abroad, you should check with the Korean Embassy in your own country yourself. There are embassies that have more strict policies regarding who can apply, and there is at least a possibility that they would require you to come for an interview in person. In this case, you would probably be forced to apply through a designated university if your country has a university quota.

NIIED cannot keep track of each country’s policies so I guess their answer in the FAQ is as complete as it can be. (Which brings up another important issue. Regarding application issues, you should contact a first selection institution (embassy or university) because NIIED will not answer most of those questions.)

2 thoughts on “What if I don’t live in my home country?”

  1. Hey!
    I’m looking at doing a study abroad at Kyung Hee University. Have you heard of it? Any advice? I’ve travelled a lot, most recently to India. I’m excited but nervous at the prospect of Korea!

    1. Kyung Hee is quite famous. It’s a little removed from central Seoul, but it’s right next to Hanguk University of Foreign Studies, so there are a lot of students around, and Kyung Hee has a really pretty campus. Otherwise, Korea is very safe, pretty clean, and pretty convenient so there really isn’t much to worry about if you’ve already had travel experience. If you have specific questions please feel free to ask!

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