The local branch of an American university opened in one of South Korea’s free economic zones Monday, offering management and economics classes.
George Mason University is the second foreign university to open a local branch at the Songdo Global University Campus at Songdo FEZ in Incheon, about 40 kilometers west of Seoul. The State University of New York at Stony Brook opened in 2012 and currently offers graduate and undergraduate classes to both foreign and local students.
The foreign schools are partly aimed at attracting foreign investors to the FEZ located near Incheon International Airport, the main gateway to the capital Seoul, and also at improving the overall quality of education in the country.
“South Korea’s development, often referred to as the miracle of the Han River, resulted from the country’s strong desire for education, and the country’s future, too, lies in developing and attracting capable human resources,” the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.
The opening ceremony was attended by some 200 people including officials from the local government, the U.S. Embassy in South Korea and the university.
“The government plans to continue its financial and administrative support for outstanding foreign institutes, such as George Mason University, to help turn Songdo into an education hub for the Northeast Asian region,” the ministry said.
The local branch of George Mason University offers classes to 34 students, including six from the U.S. campus, but is expected to expand its student enrollment to over 700.
Two other foreign schools ― Belgium’s Ghent University and the University of Utah from the United States ― are set to open local campuses in Songdo, offering classes to some 900 and 270 students, respectively. (Yonhap)