Headline, June02, 2014



WHILE  -and when in Seoul, -in the 80s, I never failed to be deeply moved by the awe-inspiring and even overwhelming site of-

Parents and close relatives,  praying for the students exams success. South Koreans set high store on acceptance by the country's top universities. 

Each fall,  thousands of students from South Korea arrive on American campuses. They come from a culture that views education as the key to success-

Where mothers and fathers save to send their children overseas. On top of education, parents shell out for  test prep and cram schools, supplemental English lessons-

And recruitment agents to shepherd them through the unfamiliar admissions process. In the past, only a small elite pursued advanced degrees internationally; today, many sons and daughters of the nation's emergent middle class go abroad.

THIS IS South Korea but the description could fit China equally well.

Recently, however, after years of robust enrollment increases, graduate applications from South Korea to American colleges have fallen off; and last year the number of South Korean undergraduates in the United States also dropped. Fewer South Koreans study in the United States now than did five years ago.

South Korean students who study abroad often find that they lack the local connections to get a job when they return home, says Jaeha Choi, director of students recruitment and admissions at SUNY Korea, the State University of New York's campus outside Seoul, South Korea's capital.

Softening interest from South Korea, the third-largest supplier source of international students to the United States, could serve as a warning to American institutions that have grown to rely on tuition revenue from China, the largest source.

The two countries differ in politics, population and economics, but they share common educational traditions and motivations for sending their students abroad, and their international mobility patterns have followed corresponding trajectories.

''The Chinese market is very much like Korea  10 years ago,'' said Jekkok Woo, an education consultant in Seoul.

And recent hand-wringing, in China about the return to pricey  foreign degree echoes qualms among South Korean families that overseas study is no longer the guarantee of economic security that it once was.

For decades, sending top students abroad was a pragmatic choice for both countries, a recognition of the lack of educational capacity at home, particularly at the graduate level. But as their economies and educational systems changed, so did the reasons for foreign study.

Growing affluence  -beginning in the 1990s in South Korea and within the past decade in China  -meant that more families could afford an American education. In both countries, parents bet that a foreign degree could help in an increasingly global and crowded job market

Many South Korean businesses, in fact, require prospective hires to submit English proficiency scores.

The decision to go abroad may also reflect a desire to opt out of rigid, highly competitive educational systems. Performance on the gaokao, China's national college-entrance exam, and its Korean equivalent, the  suneung, are the sole determinants of college admission.

Perhaps, as a result, students from both countries are heading overseas earlier. Twice as many South Korean students go to the United States now for undergraduate study as for graduate level work, according to the Institute of International Education.

Over the past decade, the number of Chinese undergrads at American colleges has grown nearly 900 percent.

But the very popularity of overseas study maybe undercutting its rationale,. Nearly 240,000  South Korean students went abroad last year, equal to roughly 7 percent of the college population. About one third of that number was in the United States.

With such a large share of students overseas, any edge that a foreign degree gives a South Korean graduate could be blunted.

''MAYBE, the novelty of studying in America has worn off,'' said Vincent Flores, an education adviser with the Fulbright Commission in Seoul.

'''While the share of China's college-age population that goes abroad remains small, one in every three foreign students in the United States is Chinese'''.

The Honour and Serving of the Post continues.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of South Korea. See Ya all  on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

'''The Courage of World Students'''

Good Night & God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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