Former Actress Shim Eun-ha to Study for Open University Degree

Shim Eun-ha and her husband Ji Sang-wook Shim Eun-ha and her husband Ji Sang-wook

The former actress Shim Eun-ha and her husband Ji Sang-wook have applied to Korea National Open University. Shim (37), who retired from acting when she got married, is to study liberal arts and Ji (44) law. A university spokesman said since all departments are suffering a dearth of applicants, the couple will probably be accepted unless there is a good reason to disqualify them. The lists of successful candidates will be announced on Wednesday.

Shim completed high school while her husband graduated from the civil and environmental engineering department at Yonsei University, acquired a master's degree at Stanford University in the U.S. and his doctorate degree in construction business management at the University of Tokyo. Ji has been an adviser to Liberty Forward Party leader Lee Hoi-chang since 2003. He was a spokesman for the party during the last general election and is now pursuing a career as a writer.

"My wife couldn't get a university education because she was a busy actress but now feels the need for higher education because she wants to help her children study when they grow older," he told the Chosun Ilbo by telephone. Asked why he is also applying although he has a PhD, he said, "Since Korea National Open University is not a place where students can easily meet with others, I thought I could help my wife study better if we entered together." He added, "I also wanted to explore the law, a brand-new field to me."

He admitted to being dismayed that the plan became public. Shim declined to comment. The pair married in 2005 and have two daughters 34 months and 14 months old.

englishnews@chosun.com / Feb. 03, 2009 09:20 KST