South Korea saw record-high growth in international student numbers in 2017, with the Chinese students making up the largest proportion, according to data released by the National Institute for International Education.
The 18.8% increase will come as good news to the Ministry of Education after international student enrolments dropped in the 2012-2014 period. As a result of revamped efforts to attract international students the growth rate rose to 7.6% in 2015 and 14.2% in 2016.
Of this 70,232 of the total were enrolled in higher education degree programs, the other 51,856 were enrolled in non-degree programs.
This marks a total increase of 20,000 on the previous year, edging the country closer to its goal of hosting 200,000 students by 2020.
The largest number of students came from China, which accounted for 68,184 (55%) followed by Vietnam at 14,614 (11.8%), Mongolia at 5,384 (4.3%) and Japan at 3,828 (3%).
Students from the US (2,767) and Uzbekistan at (2,716) made up 2% of the total respectively, followed by Taiwan( 2,195), France (1,344), Indonesia (1,334), and Malaysia (1,177).
About 36% of those international students on doctorate courses were majoring in engineering, 34% in humanities or social science, 18% in natural science, 8% in arts or sports and 4% in medical science.