182,000 International Students in South Korea, Up 9% from Previous Year

South Korea Asia International Studies Higher Education News Statistics by Erudera News Feb 07, 2024

People walking in Seoul, South Korea

A total of 182,000 new international students chose to study in South Korea last year, a nearly nine percent increase from 2022 when the figure was 167,000, the Ministry of Education said.

In August 2023, the country’s government unveiled a plan to attract 300,000 international students by 2027. Of these students, 220,000 will be able to enroll in degree courses and 80,000 in non-degree courses, Erudera.com reports.

These efforts are part of the plan known as the Study Korea 300K Project, which is designed to boost the country’s economy with a highly skilled workforce. Additionally, the initiative aims to reflect the government’s awareness of the global competition for international students.

Plans to attract 300,000 international students also reflect South Korea’s ambitious goal to become one of the top study destinations for international students.

Annually, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Justice examine the competencies of South Korean universities in internationalization to further improve the management of international student numbers and address issues related to illegal immigration among this student population.

Last year, 134 universities were recognized for their compliance with the Ministry of Education requirements, showing an internationalization of their curriculum.

Local media reported a positive trend in recognition of universities for their academic and language exchange efforts. Data indicate the number of universities recognized for their global competency has increased from 2022.

Specifically, more than 100 universities were recognized for their curriculums, and 75 universities for their language exchange programs. On the other hand, about 20 universities were prohibited from student visas issuance after failing to meet such standards.

To attract more international students in the future, South Korean authorities said that one of the plans is to focus on increasing the quota for government scholarships, known as Global Korea Scholarships.

The focus is centered around students interested in STEM courses, and the number of grants for these students is expected to double. In 2022, the government awarded 1,335 scholarships to students in STEM fields.

Additionally, countries like Poland and the United Arab Emirates will see increased quotas for students seeking to study defense and nuclear technology programs.

Quotas for Indian and Pakistani students who are also interested in STEM fields are expected to increase in the future as well.

The count of international students in South Korea throughout the years was:

  • 124,000 students in 2017
  • 142,000 students in 2018
  • 160,000 students in 2019
  • 153,000 students in 2020
  • 152,000 students in 2021
  • 167,000 students in 2022

© Luke Paris | Unsplash


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