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Students from Saudi Arabia

Posted April. 07, 2007 07:54,   


Fifty-five students from Saudi Arabia will be admitted to six Korean universities on Monday: Korea University, Yonsei University, Sungkyunkwan University, Kyung Hee University, Hanyang University, and Information and Communications University.

The Saudi government granted the students full scholarships to learn Korean culture as well as academic subjects. Nine of them will go to Korea University, while Yonsei and Sungkyunkwan Universities will receive 10 each.

Their admission draws attention because they are the first to study in Korea on scholarships from their government. Until now, foreign students came to Korea to study on their own budget or on Korean university scholarships.

Nine students were originally supposed to enter Yonsei University, but another student, who had been studying in Italy on a state scholarship, decided to quit his study in Italy to come to Yonsei University later.

The student who had been studying in Italy sent an application to the Saudi government to study in Korea immediately after he got the news that Saudi students could go to Korea to study after a Korea-Saudi education agreement was signed in February. But he was turned down because the selection process for Korea-bound students was already completed.

However, he did not give up and directly contacted the Korean Embassy to get approval from the Korean government. Finally, he successfully won admission to Yonsei University.

He decided to come to Korea to study electronic engineering.

The Saudi students’ five-year stays in Korea include one-and-a-half years of language training. The six universities are expected to receive another 30 Saudi Arabian students by the end of the year.

This program is the result of an agreement signed between the two countries in February, when Saudi Minister of Higher Education Khaled Ibn Mohamed Al-Ankari visited Korea. The agreement allows 84 Saudi students to come to Korea to study.

The Saudi government is expected to invest 3.3 billion won every year in the students’ scholarships. This means that 13 billion won of oil money will flow into Korean universities from the program.

Ha Yeon-seop, director of the Office of International Affairs at Yonsei University, said, “As the first batch of foreign students supported by their government come to Korea, we’ll focus on reviewing and enhancing the competitiveness of Korean universities.”