[Campus Commentary]For a fine education, consider IndiaAs interest grows about the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, or the BRICs, India is becoming a popular destination for Korean students.
More than 100 Korean students applied to study here last year, four times more than the previous year. The total count of applicants to New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai is up 12-fold.
When it was first established in 2005, there were only 20 students in the Delhi University Korean Students Union. Now, there are about 150 members.
India is rising as an educational mecca.
The most popular courses for Korean students are economics and political science. At my school, more than 60 percent of Koreans are majoring in these two fields.
But why study in India?
Tuition for foreign students in Delhi University is even less than the amount of money students in Korea pay for new textbooks each semester. Unless you want a lavish lifestyle, living in India does not cost much, either.
But that isn’t the most important reason students like me chose this country, since there are many alternatives to India for a similar budget, such as China or the Philippines.
The prevailing reason for choosing India is its potential. A recent announcement by the International Monetary Fund indicates that India is expected to outrank Korea in GDP and economic growth at 9 percent this year.
What is campus life like in India?
There is a spiritual and religious atmosphere around the campus, particularly in the observance of Hindu festivals, Muslim fast periods and national holidays, along with the Mahabharata, and the ideas of Mohandas K. Gandhi.
It is true that the facilities inside my Delhi campus are sometimes inferior to those of Korea, but this cannot be a basis for judging the quality of the education provided. Most of the college buildings were built during British rule at the center of the colonial capital. Later the capital was moved to New Delhi, an hour from the old Delhi. But this aged district remains the country’s educational mecca.
Each year students are evaluated by individual assessments and a final exam. A student who fails to make the grade has to repeat the year and reapply for the next year’s final exam. Lectures are in English and final exams are taken either in English or in Hindi. The final exam for each course is 100 percent based on an essay test, which must be completed in three hours.
This writing test is the biggest obstacle for Korean students to graduate. Despite 12 years of compulsory English education, Korean students still face serious difficulties in writing and speaking in English, with essay writing as a particular problem. Inevitably, private English tutoring runs parallel with college lectures for a majority of Korean students.
To many Koreans, India is known as an underdeveloped country ― the impression people get from backpackers or the media.
But traveling and living here are two different things. When it comes to education, one could say it’s a privilege to study with some of the best- trained brains in the world.
*The writer is studying philosophy at the Miranda House College of Delhi University in India.
by Park Min-hye