Spend a Semester in Dynamic Busan!

B)y: Sean Dolan, ISA Program Manager, Japan and South Korea

When you think of South Korea, what’s the first city that pops into your mind? For most people, their response is almost certainly Seoul.  As the capital of South Korea, Seoul is known worldwide a bustling metropolis, famous for its businesses, its pop music and more. I love Seoul and I truly think it’s one of the greatest cities in the world, but there is so much more to South Korea than just its capital!

While there are countless great cities scattered throughout South Korea, one of my favorites is the coastal city of Busan. With a population of about three and half million people, Busan is the second largest city in South Korea.  Busan is best known for its beaches, its seafood, and the world-famous Pusan International Film Festival. ISA students have been visiting Busan for years while on ISA Seoul programs, and Busan has consistently ranked as our most popular excursion in South Korea.  One of the most frequent comments that we receive from ISA Seoul students is, “I wish the Busan excursion were longer!” In response to this feedback and increasing popularity of ISA programs in South Korea, ISA is now excited to offer summer and semester-long programs in Busan!

Busan’s slogan is “Dynamic Busan,” as it is a growing international city that is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the most cutting-edge cities in Asia. I had the opportunity to visit this dynamic city with ISA students this summer and explore all that Busan has to offer.


Here are just a few of the many reasons why students should consider Busan for their next study abroad experience:

Beautiful Beaches and Coastline

Students studying in Busan have easy access to some of the most popular beaches in South Korea. Busan, located on the southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula, is home to the famous Haeundae Beach. Located right next to Busan’s downtown, the beach offers beautiful views of the city and the ocean, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Korea. Not just a tourist location, Busan’s coast also serves as a major economic engine for all of South Korea.  The Port of Busan is the largest port in the country and one of the largest in the world!

Delicious Seafood

While students in Busan will have the opportunity to experience a wide variety of traditional Korean food (such as my personal favorite, Korean BBQ!), Busan is especially famous for its seafood. As a large port city, Busan is the largest producer of seafood in South Korea. Students participating in ISA Busan programs will visit the Jalgachi fish market, the largest fish market in South Korea and one of the largest in Asia. Check out the video below to learn more!

Mix of International and Traditional Atmosphere

Students participating in ISA Busan programs start their program with an included arrival excursion to Seoul. All students will get to explore Korea’s famous capital and get an introduction to South Korea before traveling down to Busan.  While in Busan, students will experience traditional Korean culture through visits to temples, markets, and excursions to historic cities like Gyeongju.

Along with these traditional experiences, students can visit Busan’s large international market (made famous in the popular Korean film 국제 시장 “Ode to My Father”) and vibrant downtown. Busan also hosts the Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) every October; this is the largest film festival in Asia!  Students studying in Busan get to experience both traditional Korean culture and an international atmosphere in a thriving Asian metropolis.

World-Class University with Classes in English

Finally, ISA Busan students are able to get a great academic experience at our new host university, Pusan National University. As the name implies, PNU is a national university and is one of the top-ranked universities in South Korea and in Asia as a whole.  PNU offers a wide variety of courses taught in English, including a large selection of courses in Business, Global Studies, and Korean and East Asian Studies. PNU’s beautiful campus is located in the hills of northern Busan and is linked to the rest of the city via Busan’s convenient subway system.  Students studying at PNU get the best of both worlds with great course offerings in English and easy access to all that Busan has to offer. Programs in Busan are also the most affordable ISA programs in South Korea and include a meal plan at PNU!


The ISA Busan Spring 2018 application deadline is November 1st . Please contact the ISA South Korea Program Manager with any questions on how to apply!

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