More Saudi students opting for S. Korea
The Republic of South Korea is moving toward a new era of co-operation with the Kingdom with the increased flow of Saudi students going there for higher studies, and visitors recording an unprecedented growth in recent years.
According to the South Korean Ministry of Education, the cooperation between the two countries in the education sector is moving toward a new era with Seoul registering a remarkable upsurge in the number of Saudi students in its various institutions of higher learning.
Speaking to Arab News, an official from the Korean Ministry of Education said the number of Saudis studying in Korea has doubled compared to previous years.
As per the official figures, Saudi university students in Korea reached 444 in 2013 compared to 224 in 2012, 133 in 2011, 78 in 2010, 78 in 2009 and 69 in 2008.
He exuded confidence in Korea’s education system expressing hope that the upward trend in the Saudi students preferring Korea for higher studies will continue.
The official said that during his recent visit to Korea, US President Barack Obama also praised the Korean education system and its universities keeping pace with the times.
South Korea, known as the ‘Hermit Kingdom’ was isolated from the world but the republic is now advancing into the digital era. The new minister of Science, ICT and Future Planning said, “Koreans are no longer ‘homo sapiens’ but are now ‘homo digicus.’ He also pointed to the number of people from around the world who are keen to visit Korea.
The number of Saudi visitors to the country has also increased by about 30 percent after the two countries held a series of meaningful events in 2012 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations.
A Tourism Ministry official said that 10,219 Saudi citizens visited the republic in 2013, which is about a 28.2 percent increase in the number compared to 2012, when 7,970 visitors from the Kingdom toured Korea.
Notably, Korea was invited to the Janadriyah Festival in Riyadh and the Kingdom was invited in 2012 to the Seoul International book fair, as ‘guest of honor.’
These events and exchanges have served to strengthen the friendship between the two countries and broaden the horizons of mutual understanding for further cooperation between them and helped also to pave the way to bolster bilateral ties.
The Kingdom and the Republic of Korea are the fourth largest trading partners to each other and focus on enriching cultural and people-to-people exchanges, on the basis of the belief that these exchanges are the most effective means to promote mutual understanding, friendship and solidarity.