Korea more selective in giving scholarships
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE Korean government may consider increasing the number of tertiary scholarships offered to Bruneian students if they can improve their academic performance.
The outgoing Korean ambassador, Choi Byung-Koo, said that several scholarship awardees from Brunei had dropped out of their courses due to difficulties adjust-ing to the challenging academic environment.
“We want to increase the number of scholarship students but some of the students we selected and sent to Korea gave up,” said the envoy.
“There were many factors — difference in culture and way of life. It is also not easy to complete a master’s degree or doctoral degree.”
Since 2008, fourteen Bruneians have been awarded scholarships by the Korean government.
Choi said the embassy has become more selective when gran-ting scholarships, preferring candidates that can demonstrate tenacity and commitment to their studies.
“We should be careful because if they give up it’s a big loss for us. We put more emphasis on the endurance or patience for those candidates that aspire to study in Korea. If there’s no such motivation or endurance then it does not make any sense,” he told The Brunei Times.
The ambassador also noted the surge of interest in studying in Korea due to the rise of Korean pop culture.
The country is the most popular destination for Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) students participating in the Discovery Programme, a scheme where undergraduates spend up to a year abroad studying at a partner university.
“In the past three years there have been 200 to 250 UBD students coming to Korea for a six months exchange… I was so surprised to know that 16 to 17 per cent of Discovery Programme participants choose Korea,” Choi said.
According Dr Kim Jiyeon, a Korean language lecturer at UBD, demand for Korean language classes is so high that the university has been conducting evening courses since 2006.
“The Language Centre could not accommodate all the students that wished to attend the courses,” she is quoted as saying in a commemorative magazine published by the Korean embassy.
Due to the high level of interest in the subject, the university upgraded Korean language to a minor in 2011.
“The sponsorship equipped us to increase the student quota for Korean courses. UBD recruited another Korean lecturer, which enabled us to provide courses in a steadier manner,” Dr Kim added.
The Brunei Times