October 18, 2014 08:16
More and more young Chinese people study abroad, and this trend is also evident in Korea. As of 2013, around 790,000 Chinese students were studying overseas and around 50,000 of them in Korea.
The most popular academic destinations were the U.S., Japan, Australia, the U.K., Canada and Korea, in that order.
According to the Education Ministry, around 53,000 Chinese people studied in Korea as of April this year, accounting for a whopping 59 percent of all foreign students in the country.
This marks around a fourfold increase from nine years ago.
The number of Chinese students in Korea surpasses the combined number of Korean students at Seoul National, Yonsei and Korea universities (42,100).
Chinese students have reshaped the landscape around campuses, with restaurants catering to their tastes cropping up in many places and some neighborhoods turning into mini Chinatowns.
At Keimyung University in Daegu, 73 percent of the 1,100 foreign students are Chinese. Nine years ago, there were only 76. A dozen Chinese restaurants have opened nearby, and karaoke bars run by Chinese owners are also doing well. The sharp increase in the number of Chinese students has prompted rents in the area to soar between W50,000 to W100,000 over the last three years alone.
At Cheongju University in North Chungcheong Province, where more than 90 percent of the foreign students are Chinese, grocery stores selling Chinese products have opened nearby, and restaurants feature menus in Chinese.
At one cramped residence in front of the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in northern Seoul, 20 out of a total 37 rooms belong to Chinese students.
The owner of the building said, "Chinese students have taken more than half the part-time jobs in convenience stores in this area." Konkuk University has hired Chinese professors who deliver lectures in Mandarin.
Universities with large numbers of Chinese students provide shuttle buses for them to and from the school and immigration offices to help them renew their student visas.
But the influx of Chinese students is stoking some concerns. One staffer at a university said, "Since the sharp increase in Chinese students, we’ve noticed that some students are not interested in studying or have a tough time adjusting to life here. There are even instances where Korean students end up losing slots in lectures or dormitories due to the increasing competition from Chinese students."
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