As China’s increasing importance as a trading partner becomes palpable in neighboring South Korea, the connections between the countries are extending from diplomacy and trade…to education.
The Middle Kingdom is South Korea’s biggest export destination, taking around a quarter of its exports–and it’s also taking more than a quarter of its neighbor’s foreign college students.
The number of South Koreans enrolled in Chinese universities more than tripled to 62,855 last year from 18,267 in 2003, according to Seoul’s education ministry data. That’s 26% of all South Koreans registered at foreign universities, trailing only the U.S., which attracted 31% of the total.
Part of the benefit of a U.S education is practice speaking English, which is still seen as the most important language for job seekers, but Korean employers are increasingly looking for graduates with experience in China. Samsung Group, for example, said two years ago that job applicants with Chinese language skills would get bonus points.