S. Korea growth boosted by Vietnamese boon

The number of international students at universities and graduate schools in South Korea continued to rise in 2018, according to annual figures. However, the number of Chinese students has dropped below 50%, signalling shift in student population in the Republic has continued.

Seoul has been the most popular destination for students arriving in South Korea. Photo: Unsplash

Student numbers rose by 14.8% from April to April according to the National Institute for International Education,which is affiliated with the Ministry of Education. The total number of mobile students, which also rose 18% in 2017, now stands at 142,205.

This successive growth in mobile numbers comes after several years of decline, between 2012-2014. As a result of efforts to attract more international students to the peninsula, the student numbers rose by 7.6% in 2015, 14.25% in 2016 and 18.8% in 2017.

NIIE reported that the number of international students as of April 2018 was 142,205.

Of these 70,232 were enrolled in higher education degree programs and the other 51,856 in non-degree programs.

Despite the drop below 50% of the international students, China still dominates the market in real terms, with at least 68,256 students enrolled on South Korean courses.

The number of Chinese students is down by 6.9% from last year, however the number has been in steady decline since its peak of  71% in 2010 but.

The second largest group is Vietnamese students, who accounted for 27,061 enrolments. This was the starkest growth, as shown by the graph below, over the past year. Following Vietnam comes Mongolia, with nearly 7,000 students, Japan with nearly 4,000, and the US with nearly 3,000 students enrolled.

Despite a gap of around 60,000, South Korea is closing in on its goal of reaching 200,000 mobile students by 2020.

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