The Republic of Korea will increase the number of scholarships for Asean students to 700 as the country strengthens ties with the 10-nation bloc after 30 years of cooperation.
Cambodian embassy officials in Seoul and scholarship holders said Cambodian students should embrace the opportunity and make themselves informed and prepared to take up the scholarships.
The scholarships announcement was made by South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha on Friday at the closing ceremony of the Asean-Korea Train: Advancing Together, which saw 200 delegates from Asean and South Korea travel through major cities, including Seoul and Busan.
“I truly believe that the dramatic increase in people-to-people exchanges is one of the key factors spurring rapid advances in the Asean-Korea partnership and we want to do more.
“Therefore, Korea is planning more than double the number of scholarships granted to Asean students from a current 280 to 700 by 2022,” she said.
Many other capacity-building programmes for the future would be expanded, she said.
Since 2017, the Republic of Korea had been implementing its “New Southern Policy” to elevate its partnership with Asean to a new level. The New Southern Policy includes People, Partnership and Prosperity, she said.
“And it is time to take stock and redouble efforts towards forward-looking and innovative ways to deepen the cooperation between Asean and Korea,” Kang Kyung-wha said.
The student facilitation officer at the Cambodian embassy in Seoul, Srun Srey Neang, told The Post that between 300 and 400 Cambodian students were studying in Korea, the majority of whom were scholarships recipients.
She said there were three ways to get scholarships to Korea. They are by applying to the Korea International Cooperation Agency (Koica), private companies such as airlines, and churches.
“They should make themselves informed about the scholarships through the Korean embassy in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian embassy’s Facebook page or through students who are already in Korea,” she said.
The fourth industrial revolution or Artificial Intelligence (AI) should be the focus of Cambodian students as Korea is advanced in this field. Urban planning and international relations are other majors that should be taken, Srey Neang said.
“There are many scholarship students from Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. The number of Cambodian students is relatively lower because I think they have limited information. So, they should try to inform themselves, be prepared and learn the Korean language,” she said.
Nhien Sokunthea from Kampong Chhnang province arrived in Korea in 2018 to start her major in bio-resource and food science at Seoul’s Kunkuk University thanks to her scholarship. She said a scholarship can also be found through the Cambodian Student Association in Korea.
She said students should seek detailed information on the types of scholarship available for application, and the eligibility requirements, deadlines, and how to apply.
“Other important things are the International English Language Testing System, Test of English as a Foreign Language, the Topik Test, and good study plans such as research proposals and personal statements.
“Last but not least, grade point average from a school or university is also considered one of the most important requirements to apply for a scholarship,” she said.