Sunday, July 17, 2011

South Korean's Nanyang Dream - Probably a Beautiful Mistake

We are witnessing a gradual increase of Korean population in Singapore. Not that Singapore is such a fantastic place that replaces Korean's most admired migration destinations such as the US, Canada, and Australia, but because it's an affordable choice (just like Korean apples in Singapore). 
Especially for the less elitist in the Korean society, Singapore is the best destination for their education pursuit; 2 choices are before them - entering a 100th ranking university in Korea or enrolling in a unknown private institution in Singapore and come back with some English ability and an overseas degree. Cost of living in both countries is about the same (even Singapore is slightly cheaper than Seoul) and tuition fee is not even a concern - in Korea it is roughly 10M Korean won (for private university, which is the majority) and Singapore SG$17000 per annum. What further narrows the gap is that in Korea a bachelor degree requires 4 years of study which amounts to a total of 48K in SGD, whereas a degree in Singapore takes only 3 years, costing 51K SGD.
These facts are what make Korean population a discernible existence in Singapore, and that the similar trend is not observed (like in the Euro American countries) among people from adjacent, equally developed countries such as HK and Taiwan.
But is coming to Singapore, really a smart (스마트) choice for the Koreans? I do not think a lot of them expect to stay in Singapore for good, as the career prospect for Koreans in Singapore is just nothing. Going home is the answer, but their education in Singapore probably does not give them any competitive edge upon returning.
In the end, their Nanyang dream is probably just a beautiful mistake.



對於許多韓國的非菁英階層而言,教育上他們進不了韓國名門大學,經濟上無法負擔移民歐美,新加坡燃起了他們的希望 - 與其讀間排名要翻到第N頁的大學,倒不如去新加坡念個私人教育機構,可以學點英文,回到韓國還可聲稱自己有洋學歷(南洋也是個洋啦)。

花費上也不見得高出多少。兩國消費水準差不多,首爾地區甚至比新加坡高;學費亦不相上下,韓國私立大學(韓國大學不論排名前後一般是私立的)年約1000萬韓幣(12K新幣),4年制,新加坡私人教育機構約17K新幣,3年制 - 48K vs. 51 K, 簡直可說零差距。


在韓國,越來越多人在做著這個南洋美夢。可這真是個 smart (스마트) 的選擇嗎(韓國人很愛用 smart 這個外來文XD) ? 當這些韓國學生畢業後,他們發現這些私人機構的學歷無法提供他們在新加坡的就業前景,也無法提升他們在韓國的競爭力。對很多人來說,來到新加坡,終是一場美麗的錯誤。

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