The number of Korean students studying in the United States has plummeted to levels not seen for nine years.
A total of 83,902 Koreans with student visas were staying in the U.S. as of the second quarter of this year, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The number soared to 110,000 by 2008, but due to the sluggish economy and rising tuition, Korean enrollment in U.S. universities dropped to below 100,000 in 2012 and has continued to decrease.
Korea once sent the most students to the U.S. but now stands in third place behind India and China. As of July, China topped the list with 270,700 students, accounting for 28 percent of total international students, followed by India with 110,000.
Studying abroad is no longer such an advantage in seeking employment here, according to a hiring manager at one conglomerate. He added that obtaining degrees overseas now seems to have lost its luster due to increased opportunities to learn English here in addition to various students exchange programs between universities.
By subject, the proportion of Korean students studying science, technology, engineering or math in the U.S. was lower than those of other countries. The figure for Korea stood at a mere 18 percent, compared to India's 78 percent and China's 38 percent. In contrast, Korea ranked first for the number of international students majoring in theology, accounting for a whopping 48 percent.