Here’s how you can attend the elite unis featured in K-drama ‘Sky Castle’

sky castle
In 'Sky Castle', affluent parents are doing their best to ensure their children is admitted into Seoul National University, one of the most prestigious universities in South Korea. Source: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP

Parents express their love differently; some show their love by providing the best education for their children. That mentality defines a group of wealthy families in the satirical Netflix series “Sky Castle”.

The show revolves around affluent families living at Sky Castle — an exclusive residential community home to Korea’s elite — who prioritise their children’s success.

The materialistic desires of these upper-class parents in South Korea drive them to do whatever it takes to ensure their children get accepted into Seoul University, one of the flagship South Korean national universities.

sky castle

Actress Kim Hye-yoon (right) played Kang Ye-seo, Seo-jin’s elder daughter who aspires to enter Seoul National University’s medical faculty and be a third-generation doctor. Source: Anthony Wallace/AFP

The controversial yet realistic portrayal of the “education fever” phenomenon in South Korea made this Netflix series a success. The term “SKY” is also an acronym that refers to the three most prestigious universities in South Korea: Seoul National University (SNU), Korea University (KU) and Yonsei University (YU). 

According to the New York Times, admissions to these universities are an envied status symbol and a badge of pride for graduates and parents. If you want to attend these universities featured in “Sky Castle” as an international student, here is how you can do just that:

How to attend the Korean universities referenced in ‘Sky Castle’

1. Seoul National University (SNU)

Established in 1946, SNU has established itself as the “undisputed leader of higher education” in South Korea. The website states that SNU graduates have served as leaders in Korean society and the international community.

SNU’s alumni network is one of the most prominent and most robust in South Korea. According to its website, 72% of judges in the Supreme Court of Korea were SNU alumni.

SNU’s distinguished graduates include the former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and former World Health Organization Director Lee Jong-wook.

There are three ways to attend this prestigious university: you can enrol as an international student for their undergraduate programmes during the Fall and Spring semester, attend SNU as an exchange or visiting student, or participate in their International Summer Programme.

2. Korea University (KU)

Another university referenced in “Sky Castle” is KU, which was founded in 1905. Today, it remains one of the country’s oldest, largest and most prestigious institutions. Some of KU’s alumni include Lee Myung Bak, who was South Korea’s 10th president, former mayor of Seoul, and former president of Hyundai Group.

As of the spring semester of the 2021 academic year, KU’s Seoul campus has 1,885 international students. Since KU is one of the oldest institutions in Korea, it has extended its study fields over the years to provide international students with the best study experience.

Aside from enrolling as an international student at KU, you can also study at KU as an exchange or visiting student. You can choose from three study periods that span across the full academic year (March to December or September to June) or one semester during the Fall (March till June), or the Spring semester (September till December).


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Yonsei University (@yonsei_global)

3. Yonsei University (YU)

YU seals the list as the final university in the “SKY” acronym, but it is still one of the most prestigious institutions in South Korea. According to Kloka, YU is a popular filming spot for many Korean dramas.

YU offers various pathways for an international student experience. The most popular option is to enrol at YU as an international student. While the deadline for first-year admission has lapsed for the 2022 academic year, you can still apply to transfer to YU for the Spring semester. Click here for more information.

YU’s Office of International Affairs conducts exchange and visiting student programmes for those who plan to study at YU for a semester or a year. Students can choose from over 1,000 courses that are taught entirely in English. YU also has a six-week summer and winter programme for students who want to enjoy summer or winter in Seoul.