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More Korean Students Choosing Southeast Asia

Posted September. 23, 2007 06:28,   


With an increasing number of children going overseas to study, their destination countries show more diversity, too. A lot of students chose East Asian countries in 2006.

According to Korean Educational Development Institute yesterday, a total of 45,431 children departed Korea in 2006 alone. 6,624 or 14.6 percent of them went to East Asian countries, making the East Asian region the third most frequently chosen destination for Korean students, following the U.S. (14,474) and China (7,199). The number includes students going alone, children of immigrants, and children going with their parents due to parents’ job location.

The number is a 65.2 percent increase from the 4,011 under-age children who departed for East Asian countries in 2005, and a whopping 5-fold jump from the 957 students in 2000.

“More people migrate to East Asia as one can learn other foreign languages as well as English at a much lower cost,” said experts.

Popular East Asian destinations include Singapore, where one can learn English and Mandarin at the same time, and the Philippines, whose official language is English. Many under-age students also visit Singapore or the Philippines during their vacation for short-term English study programs.

China is now the second most attractive destination for Korean students with 7,199, up 13.6 percent from 6,340 in 2005. The number is up 5-fold from that of 2000: 1,180. Many students want to learn Chinese at an early age to enter prestigious Chinese universities and do business with China later.

China or East Asian countries now account for 30.4 percent or 13,823 of the total students going overseas from Korea. The number is close to those going to the U.S.

On the other hand, North America has less proportion of students now. The total proportion of students going to the U.S. was 31.6 percent of the total last year, down 3 percent from 34.6 percent in 2005. Canada used to be third most popular destination for Korean students in 2005 with 4,426 students, but it fell to fourth in 2006, behind the East Asian region.

Australia and New Zealand saw their shares slightly increase from 3,087 (8.8 percent) in 2005 to 4,278 (9.4 percent) in 2006. Australia’s share was a stable 4.8 percent for both years, and New Zealand’s slightly jumped from 4 percent to 4.6 percent.

“Among East Asian countries, the Philippines account for 50 percent, Singapore 25 percent, and Malaysia 10 percent of the total Korean students going there,” said Oh Jae-uk, CEO of Camp Korea. “More underage students are choosing East Asian countries because they can get high-quality, low-cost English education at public schools in Singapore or international schools in the Philippines or Malaysia.”