Spending by South Koreans studying abroad fell to its lowest mark in eight years in 2013, narrowing the persistent education deficit in a country where students often head abroad starting in elementary school, according to government statistics Sunday.
South Korean students, including those enrolled at academic institutions and on short-term language training and exchange programs, spent $3.9 billion overseas last year, 6 percent less than the previous year, the statistics from the Bank of Korea and the education ministry showed.
The ministry's survey said that compared to 2006, the number of such students nearly halved by 2012. A count of only university-level students marked a 5.1 percent on-year fall last year to slightly over 227,000, the ministry said.
Students had spent as much as $5.02 billion in 2007 before the number started to fall after the global financial crisis of 2008. It picked up slightly in 2010 before turning downward again.
The slowdown has helped narrow the deficit in education, which also marked its lowest tally in eight years at $3.79 billion last year.
Foreign students studying in Korea spent $103.8 million in 2013. (Yonhap News)