Meetings with universities, ambassador in South Korea advance IU’s engagement
IU’s engagement with South Korea goes back several decades and continues to be among IU’s most important countries for a variety of reasons, most notably South Korea’s high-quality educational system and strong focus on higher education. Albeit a very brief stop, President McRobbie’s visit to Seoul, his fourth as IU president, underscores the university’s commitment to not only sustaining relationships, but more importantly fostering deeper ties with universities, alumni, and other friends and supporters of IU. His visit highlights in particular why South Korea has, over many years now, mattered to IU:
#1. IU is a top destination for South Korean students
More than 1000 South Korean students study at IU, making them the second largest population of international students behind students from China. As U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim mentioned in his meeting with President McRobbie on Tuesday, South Korea places a very high value on higher education, with more than 80% of high school graduates continuing on to pursue university studies. The United States still ranks among their top destinations for studies abroad, and IU has strong name recognition across South Korea.
#2: IU’s engaged alumni in South Korea make a difference
IU has more than 3600 IU alumni from South Korea, and many of those alumni remain so dedicated that they are directly helping shape the university’s faculty for the new School of Global and International Studies. Along with the Korea Foundation, several IU alumni have generously donated and raised funds to endow a new chair of Korean Studies. President McRobbie met with Dr. Du Hyeogn Cha, executive vice president of the Korea Foundation, about progress on the hiring of the chair, as well as the subsequent development of an institute for Korean Studies and a possible second chaired position at IU. All of these steps will further strengthen IU’s standing in the study of East Asia.
#3: IU’s strong partnerships with South Korean universities open tremendous opportunities for students and faculty
IU faculty and students recognize the growing cultural, social, and economic significance of South Korea around the world, evident in increasing student enrollment in Korean language on the Bloomington campus and the highly-respected research of faculty in East Asian Languages and Cultures. While in Seoul, President McRobbie signed renewed an exchange agreement between the IU Maurer School of Law and Ewha Womans University College of Law. Ewha Womans University is the top-ranked university for women in Korea and among the best in the world. He also met with President Jun Young Kim at Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU), one of IU’s longstanding partners. IU and SKKU will begin a university-wide graduate student exchange in Spring 2014, a new activity that builds upon an already robust set of activities.