In pursuit of the vision of “nurturing pioneering intellectuals who can shape the 21st century” under the Global KU 2.0 strategy, the Office of International Affairs wants to boost the university’s global recognition by hosting high-profile international events and conferences and guest lectures delivered by eminent scholars and leaders. In addition, it has been significantly expanding exchange/visiting student programs and short-term education programs in order to provide KU students with global perspectives. In an effort to attract international talent, it is also expanding and diversifying international programs, such as the International Summer Campus (ISC) and International Winter Campus (IWC). And these initiatives are beginning to show tangible results. For example, it strengthened academic ties with universities and research institutions in regions other than the U.S. and Western Europe. In May 2016, Korea University led the establishment of the East Asia-Nordic/Benelux University Consortium (ENUC) in cooperation with research-oriented universities in Korea, China, and Japan and major universities in Central and Northern European countries, which boast strong educational and research infrastructures.
Korea University establishes the Nordic-Benelux Center and the Latin America Project —the first of its kind among Korean universities—designed to conduct joint research internationally
In August 2016, Korea University established the Nordic-Benelux Center, Korea’s first ever research organization dedicated to the study of the Nordic and Benelux regions. And in November of 2017, the 2nd ENUC Conference was held and attended by 13 universities from 11 countries, who strengthened their commitment to active and systematic academic exchanges and joint research.
As part of efforts to expand mutual exchanges with Central and South America, a region with rapidly emerging markets and opportunities to cultivate future experts in the region, the office also launched the KU Latin America Project. Sunhyuk Kim, the Vice President for International Affairs, said, “Recently, governments in this region started to pay attention to the importance of education and are expanding their scholarship programs for students who want to study abroad. And they have a keen interest in Korea because it achieved miraculous economic growth in such a short period of time…When we gave an admissions presentation in Mexico, more than double the expected number of Mexican students came to the presentation.”
Korea University established agreements with the governments of Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador to invite government-funded scholarship students from these countries. It also signed a comprehensive academic exchange agreement with Cuba—a country with which South Korea has no formal diplomatic relations—and will conduct collaborative research and offer student exchanges. The list of its international initiatives does not end there. It also includes the KU-China, KU-Latin America, KU-Japan, KU-Brazil (scheduled for 2018) Global Leadership
Programs, short-term, intensive, language and cultural education programs designed to cultivate experts on various regions of the world, and the KU Exploring the World Program, which is a self-directed, theme-based exploration/research program. Korea University offers a wide variety of scholarships to students to help alleviate the financial costs.
A globalized campus with over 5,400 international students from 115 countries
Universities must enhance global competitiveness and attract excellent international students to thrive in this era of fierce global competition. The number of international students entering Korea University is growing exponentially each year, thanks to its international reputation and high-quality education infrastructure; over 5,400 people from 115 countries around the world are now registered as students at Korea University. “On the KU campus, you can easily interact with students from other parts of the world, develop a global mindset, expand your global network, and be exposed to different perspectives. These experiences will serve as valuable assets to all KU students…Once international students who received quality higher education and enjoyed life in Korea, graduate and go out into the world, they’ll take part in improving the images of both Korea University and South Korea and in contributing to mutual benefits of their native country and elsewhere,” said Vice President Kim. “The Office of International Affairs is implementing diverse plans to keep pace with the quantitative growth in terms of globalization and to improve the quality of services for international students. The Division of International Studies offers the Global Korean Studies (GKS) Program in order to cultivate global talent. The Institute for Global Education provides a curriculum tailored for international students to help build their basic academic skills and early adjustment to campus and college life. And the Global Services Center provides integrated educational management services. The ultimate aim of this support system is to increase the level of international students’ satisfaction with the quality of educational services we offer and make Korea University a truly global educational institution,” he added.
Scholarship programs for KU students with passion and economic need
For Vice President Kim, a university is not a place where knowledge is just transferred from teachers to students, but where “intellectuals put their heads together to create new knowledge.” “Innovative ideas generated on campus will change society and shape the future…A truly global university is a university that helps outstanding individuals across the world create education and research networks and that provides them with constructive fora for communication and convergence,” he said.
This is why Korea University is inviting great scholars from world-renowned universities to Korea University as guest lecturers and offering ISC and IWS for KU students to build networks with excellent students from top universities around the world.
Breaking free from complacency and changing and innovating continuously are more important than ever. Korea University established the KU-Global Hope Student Exchange Scholarship Program in the fall semester of 2016 for qualified students with financial need to join student exchange programs and to provide them with opportunities to become pioneering intellectuals. The program provides airfare, accommodations, and a monthly stipend.
“I believe that the mission of the Office of International Affairs is to open a new world to students, expose them to new experiences, and, ultimately, change their lives. I felt really good when KU alumni I met during my business trip to Central and South American countries told me about how their experience in student exchange programs helped shape their dreams of working in the international arena and turn their dreams into reality.”
Vice President Kim reiterated the importance of “innovation” and said that “All members of Korea University—students, faculty, and staff—must think outside the box and not be afraid of changes. This is the only way for us to cultivate global leaders who meet the needs of today’s society.”