Studying Abroad Trends in South Korea

Hello, all!

I was glad that everyone really responded to my presentation and questioned a lot today. 🙂

In summary,

Republic of Korea has the highest number of students studying abroad per capita in the world. (By Korean Ministry of Education, 223,908 in 2016, counting only higher education students. And SEVIS by Numbers, 74,817 coming to the US, counting all F&M Visa holders) Many of them mostly study abroad for Bachelor’s and Master’s degree.

The number of students going out is increasing by years gradually.

Major destinations are the US, China, and other Asian countries (Japan, Philippines).

According to SEVIS by Number, only 22% of Korean students study STEM field in the US.

According to Statistics Korea (the government office for statistics), 55% of a social survey respondent said yes to send their children to study abroad, 32% No, and 13% said I don’t know.

Among those 55% yes, the three top reasons why they want to send their children to study abroad is: 1) For nurturing international/cosmopolitan perspective, 2) For my children’s talents (in case of arts, and music), and 3) Because of unsatisfying education system.

And many of student studied abroad do not want to go back to Korea and this cause huge brain drain and education deficit. In response to this, Korean government spent a lot of money and policy for attracting foreign students and colleges and for establishing an education hub in several port cities, but so far nothing worked.

And I looked up the tuition system of Korea since I had no idea and want to add the tuition of several top ranked universities of Korea. The tuition was different by universities, each school within a university, major, how many credit you take per semester and what year you are in. The data is in 2016.

(using exchange rate 1 dollar = 1150 won)

Seoul National University (public) : average $5200 (per year, but it varied a lot from school to school. For example, the liberal arts school was $4400, but the medical school was $8600)

Korea University (private): average $7200 (per year, but this university also varied a lot. For example, the medical school was $10500, the engineering school was $8400, and the school of arts was $7800. But the liberal arts school was $6200. And also, the first year student needed to pay entrance fee of $900.)

Yonsei University (private): average $7800 (per year. It did not vary much among schools, just the medical school was about $10500. The first year student need to pay entrance fee of $860)

Please comment me below if you have any further questions. 🙂

Have a good day!


The actual powerpoint file is here:

Studying Abroad Trends in South Korea-2idklc5

4 thoughts on “Studying Abroad Trends in South Korea

  1. Hi Professor Lefebure, thanks for your comment. Yes, I understand that there are differences across Asian countries, but I think the education systems in Asian countries as a whole stand in marked contrast to the education system in the US with regards to issues such as:
    – Central control of government (although some Asian countries are attempting to decentralize, as we discussed in class). The US has more decentralized control.
    – Overloaded curriculum and the prominence of private tutoring. Private tutoring is of course available in the US but it’s not so much a craze as in some Asian countries.
    – The use of entrance exam to determine eligibility for university education. SAT can be considered a sort of “entrance exam” in the US but it’s technically not required.

    Thanks so much again and please let me know if you have further comments!

  2. Hi Gayoung, I’m just curious if you know the reasons why some students choose other Asian countries (China, Japan, Phillipines, etc) which I assume to have similar educational system? China and Japan are two developed Asian countries so I assume they’re there to learn the language in order to increase their job prospects, but what about the Philippines which is less developed? Is it to learn English without having to go far/spend as much money for the US/UK/etc, since the Philippines have ties with the US?

    • Exactly. Philippines has a good English speaking environment. So, people who have low budget, or in case of young students, whose parents do not want to send them far away, tend to go Philippines. Or many Korean businesses are there, so if you have relatives there, or parents have businesses there, children tend to choose Philippines to study abroad.

      • And the systems are not really so similar across Asia. What kind of similarities would you identify between Japan, china, Thailand and Singapore ?
        Apart from Vietnam that has a similar system to China for historical reasons all the others are fairly different.
        Has someone looked at the interregional trade and investment numbers ?

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