Korea’s education market plays a significant role in the country’s overall economy andoffers exceptionally good opportunities for the U.S. education sector. According to theOrganization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Korea is one of thelargest investors in education among developed countries. Korea’s education sectoroffers good opportunities for U.S. educational institutions because Koreans still preferthe U.S. to other English speaking nations like the UK, Canada, Australia and NewZealand competing for education dollars. The Korean market also looks promising forcooperative programs involving e-learning and educational training in the fields oflanguage training, business administration, and technical programs.
Higher education throughout Korean history has been synonymous with privilege and power. A degree from a well-known institution is a status symbol and essential for finding the right job in the right company. Coveted spaces in Korea’s top schools are open for competition from all students, but are attainable only by a few. Many talented students opt for the best schools overseas. The desire to obtain a diploma from an accredited overseas school translates into opportunities for U.S. schools to recruit some of Korea’s most talented students, and Koreans remain willing to spend a substantial portion of their incomes on education.
The market for overseas education continues to grow. According to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as of September 2008, 115,852 students from Korea were studying in the U.S. For a third year in a row, more Koreans studied in the United States than for any other country including India and China that have a population of over a billion respectively compared to Korea’s total population of 48 million citizens.
The Korean Ministry of Human Resources and Science statistics show that as of April 2008, a total of 216,867 Korean students were studying abroad. The U.S. (28.8 percent), China (26.5 percent), Japan (8.0 percent), U.K. (7.8 percent), Australia (7.7 percent), Canada (5.0 percent), and other countries (16.2 percent) host most of these Korean students. Although U.S. schools and institutes remain very popular with Koreans, other countries such as Britain, China, Australia, Japan, and Canada are also vigorously promoting themselves as attractive destinations for Korean students.
- One year exchange program for elementary and secondary school students
- Community colleges
- Vocational training in the manufacturing sector
- Short-term English language training
Market demand continues to grow for short-term (four weeks to two months) or longterm (one year) English language training in U.S. schools for college students during summer (typically from the middle of June until the end of August) and/or winter breaks (typically from the end of December until the end of February). Among Korean college students, English language training in the U.S. not only improves language skills but also provides a U.S. school and cultural experience. This experience leads many students to choose the U.S. for subsequent academic study.
Participation in education fairs held in Korea is one way to recruit potential students. The fairs are categorized by level of schools (high schools, community colleges, fouryear colleges and graduate programs). Almost all education fairs are held during the spring (March) and fall (September and October).
Utilizing educational consulting agents is the most efficient way to recruit Korean students. As Korea sends the largest number of students to the U.S., choosing the right partners in Korea is key for U.S. higher education institutions to enter the Korean market.