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U.S institutions are targeting international students from South Korea

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the blunt times

Korean students in the U.S dropped from 61,007 in 2015 to 49,809 students in 2019

UNESCO puts the figure of total Koreans studying abroad at 1,01,774.

Surat (Gujarat) [India], March 28: Educational institutions in the United States of America (USA) are targeting international students from South Korea as the number of Korean students has slightly dropped in the last five years, according to an IEE Open Doors Report highlighted by the United States International Trade Administration.

According to the report, the number of Korean students in the U.S registered a drop from 61,007 students in 2015 to 49,809 students in 2019. The UNESCO puts the figure of the total Koreans studying abroad at 1,01,774. In 2015, the annual educational cost in the U.S reached $24,914, which is far more costly than the annual cost of $3,844 charged in China.

For the Koreans, studying in an ‘English learning environment’ is still considered a premium. However, American higher education institutions should re-purpose their international student recruitment strategies to include a stronger digital marketing presence. Since South Korea is one of the top digitally connected countries in the world, EdTech and pathway programs may be looked upon by American institutions.

The study further stated that the decrease in the number of Korean students in America can be attributed to several factors like the rise in the quality of international schools in Korea to attract potential international students and the challenges of navigating through a weakening economic market. However, Korean students have become savvy with their education strategies and investments and they study in their own country first before transferring to higher education institutions abroad.

According to the actual number of students, China and India are the powerhouse sources of international students in America. However, on a per capita basis, Korea ranks second in sending its students to the U.S from Asia. Learning English is considered an important part of the Korean International study experience, but recently study centers nearer to South Korea have offered similar learning opportunities at a lower cost. Most Korean families still prefer an ‘immersion in an English-language speaking environment’, stated the international trade administration.

About 25 percent of the Korean students seek STEM majors, 14 percent study engineering, 13 percent are in business management, 12 percent in fine and applied arts and 11 percent study social studies. South Korea is the third-largest source of international students matriculating at U.S universities, consisting of 4.6 percent of the total students in the U.S.

Regarding the spending by the Korean students, the report stated that the Korean students spent about $803 million in 2020 in educational expenditure, which is a $57 million drop from the $860 million expenditure in 2019.

According to the International Trade Administration, traditional means of international student recruitment in South Korea like holding trade fairs or promoting the presence of education recruitment agents in the area, have become far less effective than they were in the past. The U.S education institutions should make an approach based on a permanent, consistent, and proud commitment to the market. Instead, initiatives focused on alumni networking, building business relationships and a strong online presence contributing to an institutions’ core branding message are preferred strategies.

The report further stated that the U.S. should consider a solid digital marketing plan to reach out to potential students. In the context of technology, pathway programs should also provide higher education institutions with multiple opportunities. South Korea is considered among the world’s top digitally connected countries. Policymakers in the U.S. and South Korea may find common ground when it comes to forming EdTech initiatives that push for reform in their respective education systems. While it may be difficult to gauge response in a post-COVID environment, higher education institutions in the U.S. have the time to make adjustments ensuring Koreans continue to pursue further studies in America.

This article has been provided by M Square Media (MSM) and written by SUNEETHA QURESHI, MSM President  (Global)