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Saturday, December 9, 2023

KECLA becomes premier hub for recruiting global students studying in Korea

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Jeonhoon Kang

The Korean Education Center in Los Angeles (KECLA) is set to be designated as an International Student Recruitment Center to attract international students, expanding its business activities starting next year.

On September 27, Jeonhoon Kang, President of KECLA, announced, “KECLA will be designated as the sole center in North America to attract international students planning to study in South Korea.” He added, “If the budget bill is passed at the end of this year, we will be able to commence specific activities next year.”

The center is expected to facilitate connections between universities in the U.S. and Korea while providing services such as Korean language education and study-abroad counseling. It will also serve as a comprehensive resource for students interested in studying in Korea, including credit exchanges between universities and hosting study-abroad fairs.

Additionally, the center plans to establish an education system that allows international students to take the Korean language proficiency test required for admission to Korean universities in both English and Spanish. To achieve this, Kang mentioned that the institute recently entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a Korean textbook publisher.

Kang explained, “If we examine the percentage of recent TOPIK test takers at our institute, 30% are Korean nationals, while 70% are of various ethnicities or non-Korean nationals. Our aim is to provide teaching materials that can be used in English and Spanish, making it more accessible for individuals from diverse backgrounds to prepare for the TOPIK test.” TOPIK (Test of Proficiency in Korean) is a test to measure the Korean language proficiency of non-native speakers.

“Recognizing the high cost of higher education in the U.S., we are aware that many students are strategically opting for community colleges or studying abroad. The International Student Recruitment Center is a means to connect these students with Korea’s outstanding education system. We are committed to offering excellent study opportunities in Korea for American students as interest in Korea continues to rise.”

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Ministry of Education recently unveiled plans to establish international student recruitment centers as part of its objective to position the country as one of the world’s top 10 study-abroad destinations. According to the plan, South Korea aims to attract 300,000 foreign students by 2027, with the ministry planning to increase the number of degree-seeking international students from 124,000 to 220,000 during the same period. As of last year, the estimated number of international students in South Korea was approximately 167,000.

BY NICOLE CHANG   [chang.nicole@koreadaily.com]