SEOUL, Feb. 5 (Korea Bizwire) — The number of foreign students enrolled in South Korea showed a record-high growth rate last year, propelled by a rise in those from China, a tally from a state-run educational body showed Monday.
The number of foreign students registered at South Korean universities rose 18.8 percent from a year earlier to 123,850 as of April last year, according to the National Institute for International Education, which is affiliated with the education ministry. 70,232 of them attended degree programs, and the other 51,856 were enrolled on non-degree programs.
After falling into negative territory for the 2012-2014 period, the growth rate of foreign students studying in South Korea rose to 7.6 percent in 2015 and 14.2 percent in 2016.
By country and region, the largest number of students came from China at 68,184, followed by Vietnam at 14,614, Mongolia at 5,384, Japan at 3,828, the United States at 2,767, Uzbekistan at 2,716, Taiwan at 2,195, France at 1,344, Indonesia 1,334 and Malaysia at 1,177.
Universities around the Seoul metropolitan area are home to 57.5 percent of the foreign students attending South Korean universities, with 13.8 percent in the country’s central Chungcheong region, 9.7 percent in Busan, Ulsan and the southeastern South Gyeongsang area, 9.5 percent in the northeastern Gangwon area, Daegu and the southeastern North Gyeongsang area and 9.3 percent in the southwestern Honam region and Jeju Island.
Chinese students took up the largest proportion — 80 percent — of foreign students enrolled in universities on South Korea’s resort island of Jeju. But their ratio in universities in the southeastern city of Ulsan came to 27 percent, while students from Vietnam accounted for 21 percent in the same city.
Korea University topped the list of the number of Chinese students with 3,858, trailed by Kyunghee University with 3,526, Sungkyunkwan University with 2,865, Dongguk University with 2,652, ChungAng University with 2,593.
Wonkwang University accounted for the largest number of Vietnamese students at 850, with Korea University, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and Sangmyung University receiving 576, 519 and 491 Vietnamese students, respectively.