Why international students should consider studying in South Korea
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Why international students should consider studying in South Korea

Why international students should consider studying in South Korea

South Korea is known for many things, from their 10-step skincare routine to K-pop and delectable food, but have you thought about studying in the country?

As one of the four Asian Tigers, South Korea is home to many universities, with 31 institutions featured in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings.

This is hardly surprising as the country holds the highest rate of young adults (25-34 year-olds) with tertiary education among all Organisation for Economic and Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries.

According to THE, the highest-ranking university is Seoul National University, ranked 64. Many of their top universities are located in the country’s capital – Seoul – which is also consistently named as one of QS’ Best Student Cities over the past few years.

Top 5 universities in South Korea 2020

Rank University
1 Seoul National University
2 Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)
3 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
4 Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH)
5 Korea University
Source: THE

Quality universities aside, there are many other pull-factors for studying in South Korea.

South Korea’s government aims to increase foreign enrolment to 200,000 by 2032, and has been stepping up its efforts to attract more international students to its shores, including offering more scholarships to international students.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha recently announced the country will increase the number of scholarships for Asean students in a bid to strengthen its bilateral ties with the 10-member nations at the Asean-Korea Train: Advancing Together event.

“I truly believe that the dramatic increase in people-to-people exchanges is one of the key factors spurring rapid advances in the Asean-Korea partnership and we want to do more,” she was quoted saying by The Phnom Penh Post.

“Therefore, Korea is planning more than double the number of scholarships granted to Asean students from a current 280 to 700 by 2022,” she said, adding that many other capacity-building programmes for the future would be expanded.


Apart from government scholarships, international students can also apply for scholarships directly from Korean universities or private companies.

Last year’s data from the National Institute for International Education notes that students from China represent the largest number of international students, accounting for 48.2 percent of the total, down 6.9 percentage points from a year earlier, reported The Korean Herald

Meanwhile, there were 27,061 Vietnamese students (19 percent of the total), followed by Mongolia at 6,768, Japan at 3,977, and the US at 2,746.

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