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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

KAIST president: internationalisation still a 'challenge' in South Korea | Times Higher Education

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"Sung-Mo Kang says the university has increased its support to international staff and students but it is still difficult to recruit from overseas." according to Ellie Bothwell, International and rankings reporter at Times Higher Education and THE World University Rankings.

Photograph of KAIST across Gapcheon in Daejeon, South Korea.
Photo: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The president of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) said the institution’s focus on English-language courses and the introduction of social events for international staff and students has helped make the campus more attractive to those from overseas, but internationalisation is still a "challenge" across the country.

Photo: Sung-Mo Kang

Sung-Mo Kang said that 85 per cent of courses at KAIST are taught in English, while a programme called KAI (Korea Advanced Institute) Plus hosts events for overseas scholars and students. He added that the institution has also upped its financial support for students from developing countries, as part of a drive to recruit more international students.

“Foreign students are our best ambassadors as they are the ones that can encourage other people to come to KAIST,” he told Times Higher Education.

Despite these improvements, he said that recruiting international students and staff is a “challenge”, as Koreans “feel much more comfortable talking in Korean languages rather than in English” and international schools in the country are usually expensive and faith-based, which can put off overseas scholars with children.

“Korea is relatively new in this area compared to Hong Kong or Singapore,” he added. “When foreigners use English, Korean people, including KAIST students, are not quite used to it.

“We [are trying] to become a more international organisation but in order to do so more people need to be able to communicate in English. For instance, there needs to be more road signs in English. This is not just an issue for KAIST but for many other Korean universities.”
Last month, THE reported a study based on interviews with foreign staff at Yonsei University in South Korea, which suggested that some overseas academics feel disempowered and usually leave a few years after being recruited.
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Source: Times Higher Education (THE)

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