OSWEGO – A South Korean university will send dozens of students to SUNY Oswego in January as the most visible example to date of the college’s increased recruitment of international students.
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul held ceremonies in February for 200 first-year students potentially destined to study for three more years at seven SUNY colleges. Of those, 53 students have been admitted, contingent on success this year, to spend their final three years at Oswego, starting in spring 2013.
“Partnerships such as this one, designed to facilitate degree-seeking transfer students from outside the United States on 1+3 (years) and 2+2 programs, are gaining traction,” said Dr. Joshua McKeown, director of international education and programs at SUNY Oswego. “We have multiple agreements, starting with China and Korea, and the HUFS program is the first to bear fruit in such a substantial way.”
Dr. Jerry Oberst, associate director of admissions, represented SUNY Oswego at ceremonies in Seoul to kick off the series of agreements between Hankuk and SUNY colleges.
“Hankuk is a major university in Seoul,” Oberst said. “It’s an outstanding private institution where they teach 45 different foreign languages. It’s a great partnership to be associated with.”
The State University of New York last June announced plans to increase international enrollment by 14,000 students over the next five years, to approximately 32,000 across all 64 campuses. Oswego’s Hankuk and similar — though smaller in scope so far — agreements are also in line with the college’s goals, said Dr. Lorrie Clemo, interim provost and vice president of academic affairs.
“Global education and international student mobility is a high priority for us,” Clemo said. “The way we are approaching this, with articulation agreements, ensures us we will have international students coming in to the college at a faster rate, and assures us they will be well-prepared for college-level work here. Every service and academic office is preparing for the arrival of the students, so that when they join our campus community, they will be well positioned for success.”
Oberst said the Hankuk students interested in Oswego have diverse academic goals, not only in science and mathematics but in liberal arts, business, education and more. The prospective Oswego students and family members met with him for a presentation.
“I found them very attentive and engaging,” Oberst said. “The Korean people are super-education conscious—a very high percentage of the population goes on to college.”
Students admitted to Hankuk must show proficiency in English and on college entrance examinations, then they have to be successful this spring, summer and fall at HUFS in general education and intensive English courses to attend Oswego for their final three years of undergraduate study. Classes at Hankuk also help the Korean students adjust to a more Western-style system of education, Oberst said, including more class participation and more give and take with professors.
President Deborah F. Stanley signed the five-year agreement with Hankuk last May, with an option for another five, and several relationship-building visits between the two institutions have followed, McKeown said. The multifaceted agreement covers several kinds of exchanges, including academic staff and research, as well as students.
“Our campus hosted the president of HUFS (Dr. Chul Park) and a senior delegation this past January; I and several members of the Office of International Education and Programs have visited there on recruiting and relationship-building trips over the past year, and the event with our admissions and international staff in February was the most recent,” McKeown said. “It seems evident that these relationships are productive ones for SUNY Oswego as we seek more international students, especially degree-seeking students, from diverse countries around the globe.”
Hankuk has similar programs in place with 19 other universities in the United States, and counts more than 340 partner universities in 74 nations worldwide.