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제 목 European embassies join forces to attract Korean students to the EU
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European embassies join forces to attract Korean students to the EU

November 18, 2008

                   

                  Representatives from European embassies and educational organizations gather for Study and Research in Europe 2008, a joint promotional event held at the Seoul National University last Thursday. By Oh Sang-min

 

Ten European missions in Korea teamed up for the first time in a joint effort to promote educational opportunities in their countries at an information event at Seoul National University’s SNU-KIEP EU Center last Thursday.

 

Representatives from educational organizations and the embassies of Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Switzerland took part in the Study and Research in Europe 2008 event.

 

“It has been designed to let Korean scholars and students know that Europe is an attractive destination to study as much as, or even more than, the United States,” SNU-KIEP EU Center Director Moon Woo-sik said.

 

“Exposure to intercultural experiences is the biggest advantage of studying in Europe. In addition, there are many scholarship programs available to help with tuition fees and European schools offer diverse English-taught programs,” he added. “The fact that this kind of event is held in Seoul demonstrates that the EU considers Korea as an important partner in the field of education.”

 

The event was attended by some 300 people, mostly students.

 

Two main opportunities that the European countries highlighted throughout the event were the Bologna Process and the Erasmus Mundus Programme.

 

Through the Bologna Process, a standardized three-cycle degree structure consisting of bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees with comparable qualifications throughout Europe will be introduced by 2010.

 

It means that European and foreign students, including Koreans, can get a bachelor’s degree in one European country, a master’s in another and a Ph.D. in a third.

 

Their degrees will be recognized across all European countries, possibly followed by job opportunities in Europe. Currently, a total of 46 countries and the EU are participating.

 

Erasmus Mundus is a European cooperation and mobility program in the field of higher education.

 

It aims to strengthen international links in higher education by supporting master’s courses through which students from outside Europe can pursue postgraduate study at European universities.

 

The program particularly seeks to cooperate with “third countries” that are not linked to the EU.

 

In his opening speech, Brian McDonald, ambassador of the Delegation of the European Commission to Korea, emphasized the role of higher education in modern society and stated that European higher education has been in the process of reform to respond to the needs of modern society.

 

“The European Commission fully supports the European educational reform process [Bologna Process] and also the more global Erasmus Mundus Programme,” McDonald said.

 

Michael Paulus, director of the German Academic Exchange Service and the initiator of the event, said, “It is our major goal through this event to promote the Bologna Process and the Erasmus Mundus Programme here in Korea so that more Korean students can come to study in Europe.”

 

He added that the event will be held again next May, during which three more European countries - the U.K., Ireland and Austria - are expected to participate.

 

“Furthermore, we plan to make this an annual function as it is well received,” he said.

 

Although the 10 participating European countries labored for a common cause at the event, they didn’t forget to highlight their own charms, study programs and scholarship opportunities during the session, through individual booths.

 

“As I plan to study abroad after completing a master’s degree here, this event is very helpful to me. It is well organized and very informative,” said Shim Won-taek, 27, a graduate student majoring in European Studies at the Seoul National University Graduate School of International Studies.

 

“Based on the information I’ve gained so far, Spain seems the place for me.”

 

“I’ve been to many other ‘study abroad’ fairs,” Lee Sera, a 27-year-old university graduate, said, “but in comparison, today’s information event was a lot more instructive. It was also good for me to get to know more about Erasmus Mundus. I had heard of it several times before, but hadn’t had a chance to learn what exactly it was.”

 

By Park Sun-young Staff Reporter [spark0320@joongang.co.kr]

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