Duke in Seoul

A 4-week summer cultural and Asian studies program

Program Alert

The Duke in Seoul program will not run in Summer 2023 but plans to relaunch in Summer 2024. Program details will be updated before applications open in November 2023.

Study in Seoul

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Taught in English

The program surveys the various ways in which South Korea has emerged as a leading nation in the creation of global culture since the late twentieth century. Participants will seek to:

  • To understand key issues in contemporary Korean culture
  • To understand major concepts related to global culture and soft power
  • To understand how performance is central to the formation and expression of nationhood
  • To collaborate with other students and effectively communicate findings to the class
  • To conduct research in Korea and apply the findings to the creation of a final project
  • To become more aware of intercultural encounters as a global citizen

Program Fast Facts

Location: Seoul, South Korea

Term: Summer II

Dates: June 27 - July 25, 2022

Application Deadline: February 1st

Academic Theme(s): Globalization, cultural studies, Asian studies, media studies, policy studies, theater and performance studies

Language of Instruction: English

Credit Type: Duke Credit

Eligibility: No prerequisites. Suitable for all majors. Non-Duke students are welcome to apply.

Duke Affiliation: Duke Department of Theater Studies and International Comparative Studies Program 

Housing: Participants will stay in single rooms at CenterMark Hotel in Seoul. During the overnight excursion to Busan, students will stay in double occupancy rooms at a hotel. 

GEO Advising: Request an appointment 

  • Seoul skyline at dusk

  • Yeouido Park

  • Seoul 


All students enroll in the program's signature course offering one Duke credit. No pass/fail option or auditing is permitted.  




Korea in Performance: Global Culture and Soft Power
1.0 Credit  (ALP, CZ, CCI)

This course surveys the various ways in which South Korea has emerged as a leading nation in the creation of global culture since the late twentieth century. Exemplified by K-pop, K-drama, and films such as Parasite, various cultural contents created in and promoted by Korea have circulated globally and have had a lasting impact on popular culture, new media, and the arts around the world. The course begins with a study of how the Korean government actively promoted the “soft power” of Korea as a major economic opportunity in the 1990s. Korea was one of the poorest countries after the Korean War (1950-1953), but in 2021, the International Monetary Fund ranked it as the tenth biggest economy in the world. And “soft power” has been a key part of that rapid growth. The course uses theories from Performance Studies to examine how Korea has performed aesthetically, politically, and economically. By using specific case studies in Seoul and its vicinities and by inviting guest speakers, the course introduces students to topics of globalization, interculturalism, neocolonialism, neoliberalism, transnationalism, and tourism. It also explores the complex relationship between the global and the local. A central question in the course is how Korea performs its soft power, and students will be given the opportunity to work on a research project that addresses the question with onsite participation and exploration. Students will also participate in weekly excursions, including theatre shows, museums, films, broadcasting companies, drama sets, and cultural sites.


Students will participate in weekly excursions, including theater shows, museums, films, broadcasting companies, drama sets, neighborhood visits, and cultural sites. Excursion destinations are subject to change each summer.

The program includes an overnight trip to Busan, a bulgogi workshop, Nanta performance, K-pop dance class, and a Samulnori performance. Depending on availability, students may also attend movies, concerts, or other performances while in Korea.



CenterMark Hotel 
Students will stay in single occupancy rooms at the CenterMark Hotel. Classroom space is just a short walk from the hotel.

During the overnight excursion to Busan, students will stay in double occupancy rooms at another hotel.  


One group lunch and two group dinners are included in the program cost. All other meals are paid for by the participant out of pocket. Students may choose to utilize the shared kitchen on the lower level of the hotel to prepare meals, or explore the many affordable restaurants and supermarkets nearby.



Estimates are based on previous years’ programs and the current exchange rate. All costs are subject to change. 

Summer 2022

  Duke Students Non-Duke Students
Tuition $2,600 $2,600
Program Fee $5,400 $5,400
Transcript Fee N/A $120
Other Costs Other Costs Other Costs
TOTAL (Estimated): $13,860 $13,980

Explanation of Costs

Financial Aid

Duke students receiving financial aid are eligible for aid for this program (work-study funds must be converted to loans). Students are individually responsible for making the necessary arrangements with the Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support and the Duke Bursar’s Office. 


This program offers the following scholarship opportunities:


Attendance is required at all classes, excursions, and group events. Given the intense nature of this program, late arrival and/or early departure is not permitted.   

Arrival: June 27, 2022
Departure: July 25, 2022


You will make your own travel arrangements to and from the program site. You are expected to arrive on the arrival date cited above, which usually means departing the U.S. one day prior. Once you have a flight itinerary, log in to MyExperientialEd to update your travel registry.

You will be given an arrival window so group transportation can be arranged to the dormitory from the airport. If you do not arrive during the prescribed timeframe, you will have to navigate from the airport to housing independently.  

Housing Before/After 

You will need to make your own housing arrangements if you will be arriving before the program start date or leaving later than the program end date



No visa is required of U.S. citizens to participate in this program. Non-U.S. citizens should pay special attention to the visa requirements for their specific citizenship by contacting the country embassy to find out if any visa restrictions are in effect. 


All participants must have a valid passport. Make sure your passport has at least six months of validity beyond the program end date to avoid unintended disruptions. For instructions on obtaining or renewing your U.S. passport, visit passports.state.gov. 

International Student Identity Card

An International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is optional. ISIC is the only internationally recognized form of student ID, endorsed by UNESCO. If purchased in the U.S., the card also carries with it a supplemental insurance policy, which can prove to be very helpful in the event of serious injury. You may purchase this card through www.myisic.com. Processing of the card takes between 4-15 days.


The faculty director can assist with questions related to program academics, admissions, on-site needs, etc. For all other inquiries, please contact the Global Education Office.  

Esther Lee

Professor of Theater Studies

Alayne Wood

GEO Program Coordinator / Advisor


Deadline: February 1st

This program has rolling admission. Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis until the program fills; after that, qualified students are added to a waitlist and notified of openings. Applications must be received by the deadline to be considered. Application opens November 1.   

Priority: Priority is given to applicants who apply early.   

Minimum GPA: There is no minimum GPA. 


Start your application early to ensure that it is complete by the deadline! Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the program directors for consideration. 

Submit the following items using MyExperientialEd:    

  1. Online application 
  2. Official transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended.
  3. First-year students should wait for fall semester grades to be posted before submitting their transcript. 
  4. Personal statement, no longer than one page, explaining why you would like to participate 
  5. Academic letter of recommendation (one)