Belgium's Ghent University opened its local branch in South Korea's Incheon free economic zone Monday, becoming the first European school to open a campus here.
A ceremony that also marked the opening of a branch of the University of Utah from the United States was held in the free economic zone in Songdo, also a home to the United Nations Green Climate Fund, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Ghent University, one of the top-rated schools in the world for bioscience, is expected to offer classes to some 900 local and foreign students, with the University of Utah offering classes to some 270 students in psychology, journalism and social welfare.
With the opening of the two new foreign schools, the number of foreign universities with a local branch here came to four. The State University of New York at Stony Brook opened its Songdo campus in 2012, followed by George Mason University, also from the United States, in March.
The foreign schools are partly aimed at attracting foreign investors to the IFEZ located near Incheon International Airport, the main gateway to the capital, Seoul.
"With the two new Songdo campuses of Ghent and Utah universities, we have secured the foundation to develop Songdo into a regional hub for education," Kwon Pyong-oh, head of the ministry's trade and investment bureau, said in his congratulatory remarks at the opening ceremony attended by some 200 people, including Belgian Ambassador to South Korea Francois Bontemps.
"The government will continue to attract the world's top universities to help transform Songdo into a regional education hub, while providing active financial and administrative support to those already here," he added, according to the ministry. (Yonhap)