If you could choose your high school or university all over again, would you want to be classmates with your fave oppa or eonni? Just imagine going to school and hanging out with the K-drama barkada of your dreams or personally watching their drama unfold!
Here's a rundown of some of the most memorable fictional schools in K-dramas:
1. Kirin Art High School from Dream High (2011) and Dream High 2 (2012)
TBH, we'd totally flip out if Bae Suzy, Kim Soo Hyun, and IU were in our class! The talented (and hot!) 2PM members Ok Taec Yeon and Jang Woo Young plus singer-actress Ham Eun Jung are even added to the mix. On top of that, one of the teachers at Kirin Art High School was Park Jin Young—the founder of entertainment agency JYP himself!
Although it was less successful than the first installment, the second Dream High series featured stars that we know you'd love to share the same lunch table with. Fancy chatting with the gorgeous Kang So Ra, T-ara's Jiyeon, or SISTAR's Hyolyn? How about exchanging glances with GOT7's JB and Jinyoung, 2AM's Jinwoon, and Park Seo Joon? Or maybe you'd want to learn from Psy, who cameoed as a trainer coach in a couple of episodes?
Aside from your prospective schoolmates, Kirin Art High School seems like a dream, really, for anyone whose passion is in the performing arts. Who knows, you might be the next big K-pop star, right?
If you want to see a few of the buildings of the school IRL, you can visit the drama's filming location: Incheon Art Platform.
2. Seungri High School from School 2013 (2012 to 2013)
Who cares about grades if Lee Jong Suk is your batch president? Or if Kim Woo Bin was one of your classmates ready to defend you from bullies? JUST KIDDING. Studying hard is still important. But it *is* easy to get distracted with those boys!
Okay, Seungri High (aka Victory High) isn't an aspirational school. It ranked at the bottom of high schools in Seoul in their fictional world, and there were a bunch of bullies and even some gang members. The great thing about the school, though, is your teachers genuinely care about you. They help you overcome not only your school problems but also personal ones.
If you want to see Seungri High IRL (read: the filming location), you can head to Yul Cheon High School in Hwaseo-dong (Suwon, Gyeonggi-do). However, it's a couple of hours away from Seoul, but it's easy to take the subway or bus going there.
3. Shinhwa High School from Boys Over Flowers (2009)
This school, on the other hand, has it all—flower boys, genuinely nice kids (a few, at least!), and ~*amazing*~ facilities. Founded and sponsored by a major conglomerate (or chaebol), Shinhwa High boasts a gorgeous campus, well-tended gardens, and a swanky swimming pool.
Just imagine walking the hallways with your friends and awaiting the catwalk-like entrance of the rich, famous, and ~pretty~ F4 (the leader being Gu Jun Pyo, played by Lee Min Ho). Imagine attending posh parties when someone has a birthday and going on international field trips. What a life! Of course, you have to be rich (or "lucky" like Geum Jan Di) to be able to enroll.
If you're touring South Korea and you want a glimpse of Shinhwa High, head to Keimyung University. The catch is, it's all the way in Daegu, a province that's about two hours away from Seoul.
4 and 5. Ssangmun High School and Ssangmun Girls' High School from Reply 1988 (2015 to 2016)
These high schools, on the other hand, would make you nostalgic if you went to a non-coed school. Did you also get excited when there were chances to interact with the students from your counterpart all-boys' or all-girls' school?
You probably would if they were as cool as the Ssangmun-dong kids played by Lee Hyeri, Ryu Jun Yeol, Go Kyung Pyo, and the energetic Lee Dong Hwi. Their famous friend played by Park Bo Gum might even tag along sometimes. Although the class schedules that run until 9 p.m. are a bummer!
There were also scenes in the series that would take you straight back to high school. Remember those days when you got so busy preparing for a group performance or had those memorable field trips? Or those times when you and your friends stayed up late for study sessions? Or maybe those times when you and your friends spent your days speculating whether someone likes you or not?
In reality, there's only a Ssangmun Elementary School in that Seoul neighborhood. But the high schools are highly likely to be modeled after Sunduck High Schooll and Jungeui Girls' High School, which you can reach from Ssangmun Station if you're in Seoul.
6. Haneol Sports University from Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (2016)
This one's for the sporty kids or aspiring athletes. How cool would it be to study your sport and get ample support from your university to pursue your passion? Some students even get to participate in the Olympics, thanks to Haneol Sports University.
You'll also get to interact with super #SWAG students. How about stuffing yourself with samgyupsal together with Kim Bok Joo played by Lee Sung Kyung from the weightlifting department? Won't you love to cheer for the swimming team's dreamy Jung Joon Hyung played by the even dreamier Nam Joo Hyuk? And if you just want to hang out to soothe your sore muscles and hunger after training, there's always Bok Chicken to cheer you up!
IRL, Haneol Sports University was a combination of various campuses in South Korea, including Yong In University in Gyeonggi-do and Korea National Sport University in Songpa-gu, Seoul.
Bonus: Yonsei University from Reply 1994 (2013)
Even if you grew up in the province, this university offers an ideal college life that won't make you so homesick. The impressive campus and esteemed classes are one thing. The student activities are another. Your school spirit will certainly be LIT as you cheer for your school's sports teams, like their impressive baseball and basketball teams.
Plus, you get to interact with the most interesting students like the ones played by Go Ara, Jung Woo, Yoo Yeon Seok, Kim Sung Kyun, Son Ho Jun, Baro, and Min Do Hee. You might even get a chance to share a boarding house with them and cultivate a lifelong friendship!
Wouldn't you love trading stories (and food!) from your respective provinces? Or having heart-to-heart talks (or playing silly games) over chicken and beer? Wouldn't you enjoy fangirling with friends by attending music shows or trying to meet your celebrity crush during your free time?
Unlike other schools in this list, Yonsei University is a real school in South Korea. In fact, it's one of the most prestigious universities in the country. The campus is quite accessible, too, for tourists, since it's in Seoul. Yes, it's in Sinchon, just like in the series, and Sinchon is very near a famous area in Korea that you probably know: Hongdae.
Other Interesting K-Drama Schools And Their Major Filming Locations:
- Shinha High School from SKY Castle (2018 to 2019) and Jeguk High School from The Heirs (2013) - Dongtan Global High School in Bansong-dong, Gyeonggi-do
- Sekang High School from School 2015 - Incheon Haesong High School
- Geumdo High School from School 2017 - Suwon Technical High School
- Busan Kwangan High School from Reply 1997 (2012) - Yeongdeungpo Technical High School in Gayang-dong, Seoul
- Hankook University in My ID Is A Gangnam Beauty (2018) and the college where Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun) took the entrance exam, met her childhood crush, Tae Hee-oppa (Jung Hae In), and got picked up by the jealous Kim Shin (Gong Yoo) in Goblin (2016 to 2017) - Konkuk University
- The school of Yoon Tae-oh (Ji Soo) and Han Song-yi (Jung Chae Yeon) in My First First Love (2019) and Ji Eun Tak's high school in Goblin (2016 to 2017) - Choong Ang High School
Disclaimer: Some university campuses and high schools do not allow visitors or tourists. It's best to check with the school before you head there—or just take pictures outside the school.
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