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Virtual: ‘In and Out of South Korean University: New Inter-Asia Mobility in Higher Education’

October 23, 2020 at 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

“In and Out of South Korean University” will present examines a collection of original research projects that examine South Korea as an important node of the increasing inter-Asian mobility in higher education. In the late 1990s, South Korean students became the third-largest group of international students in the world, with the majority heading to the West. However, within a decade they began heading to other Asian countries instead, and South Korea itself became a popular destination for Asian students pursuing undergraduate and post-graduate degrees.

The six projects in this conference employ cultural and ethnographic methods to study Chinese and South Asian students at South Korean universities and South Korean students in non-traditional destinations including the Philippines and Brunei. These studies offer rich accounts of the individual strategies, institutional practices and national discourses of students leaving and coming to South Korea. They also analyze various institutional and state actors in both the sending and receiving countries, providing a glimpse of national projects to create new national elites. Together, the conference will address study abroad within Asia as a cultural project through which individual students envision “opportunities abroad” for middle-class reproduction and host nations imagine participation in the global race.

This conference provides an opportunity to address various non-traditional trajectories of inter-Asian study abroad and discuss how students fashion new norms of inhabiting these new study abroad regimes. In so doing, the conference proposes approaching higher education as an important category for understanding South Korea’s modernization, social mobility and shifting parameters of “success” in neoliberal times.

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