A lot of students apply to study in South Korea annually. According to KOTRA, an institution which is responsible for selecting new foreign students for admission, in the past decades, the number of foreign students has seen changes. In 2008, just 50,000 foreign students applied to study in South Korea, however, in 2018 the number of foreign students exceeded 120,000. Significantly, the number of students doing their degree courses increased 14.1 percent.
The L.L.F conducted a survey of 12 international Daegu University students. The purpose of this survey was to research the actual conditions of international students who are studying in Korea. We asked a few targeted questions of individuals on campus to obtain information. As this figure is based on the survey of a small number of international students, the results cannot be generalized to all international students in Korea. However, we investigated in detail to provide as accurate of a description as possible. We also conducted in-person interviews.
Here is the set of questions used to conduct the survey.
1. How did you manage to enroll in Daegu University? What kind of standardized tests were required in your admission procedures?
2. Where are you from?
3. What is your major? What was the hardest aspect of studying your major? Are you a student of the Korean language Institute of Daegu University?
4. Did you have any specific reason for choosing South Korea among many other countries?
5. What do you think are the advantages of studying in South Korea?
6. What do you think are the disadvantages of studying in South Korea?
As we gathered and interpreted the data, we figured out that we had a chance of getting meaningful results. Every question helped measuring and understanding international student’s satisfaction. Most of the students are enrolled in Daegu University as a exchange student. Figures suggested that almost one third of the students came to Korea as a government sponsored student. The rest came to study abroad at their own expense. The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) were required in their admission procedures. The growing popularity of K-pop, Korean dramas and films have boosted interest in the language, attracting international students to Korea to study Korea Due to South Korea’s education system 's achievements, it has received international recognition, South Korea has been declared to be the best- educated country in the world which formed positive expectations of teaching quality. Ironically, international students didn’t praise the content of the lectures or teaching qualities. They complained about the types of questions that appeared on college exams and criticized the teaching methods of Korea.
“We only study textbooks in the class.” said Alexandar, a fellow at the college of engineering“ We study intensively in order to get a good grade on the TOPIK (Test of Proficiency in Korean) so we don’t have any chance to enhance speaking skills” There also existed some cultural obstacles which have caused problems dealing with peers. The critical point to be made here are that there is no appropriate programs helping international students adjust to Korea.
The government will soon pay more in aid to support international students. Therefore, the international student recruitment numbers are expected to increase for some time. By 2023, this number is expected to hit 200,000 according to the government. The gradual rise in aid should lead to a better learning environment for international students as well as the exponential growth of foreign student recruitment numbers. But due to the fast-growing budget deficit, most of the regional colleges find it harder to maintain the number of students signing up each year. A decline in students would exacerbate the deficit. So, colleges will feel the pain if international student demand is expected to decline. The problem is universities neglected the management of curriculum development and the construction of the systematic learning programs. They instead only focused on recruiting international students. Schools should offer language courses, including English classes, and accessible accommodations for international students. Allocating a huge budget to recruit foreign students allowed rapid growth of international student numbers in Korea, however, the government gave more weight to quantity (foreign student recruitment numbers) over quality. This situation has led to the need of building stronger strategies of educating international students. When considering the university’s current services and facilities, it’s essential to get the feedback of the existing international students. But many universities have less room to maneuver. To sustain long-term development of the university and to attract voluntary participation of international students, the establishment of good lectures and facilities is required.
L.L.F reporter Jane Jeong