South Korea latest to sign agreement with U of R

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U of R reaches deal with Kookmin University, sending students to study in Regina

Martin Weaver
News Editor

They’re literally an ocean away, but Regina and South Korea have gotten a little bit closer.

The University of Regina and Kookmin University in Seoul, South Korea, are teaming up to make it easier for the two campuses to share research findings and students among themselves.

In a statement dated July 18, the U of R announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding between the two universities. U of R president Vianne Timmons said she hopes the agreement will be able to attract more bright minds from the small Asian country.

The U of R currently has only has 12 students from the entire country of South Korea. The new partner university is nearly twice the size of the U of R, boasting 24,000 students.

Under the new agreement, the two universities will likely be exchanging a lot more students. There will be a new student-exchange system set up and a joint undergraduate degree program as well. The international undergrad degree will have students spend their first two years in South Korea at Kookmin, before completing their final two years in Regina. The U of R calls these types of agreements “two-plus-twos.”

“As part of our strategic plan, we are focused on providing enhanced international educational experiences both for domestic students and for those from other countries,” said Timmons in a statement. “This agreement will welcome more students from South Korea to our campus, as well as provide the opportunity for University of Regina students and faculty members to study and conduct research at Kookmin University.”

International students already account for nearly seven per cent of the U of R’s total enrollment and, with declining domestic enrollment, the U of R hopes to continue growing the student body with the help of students from abroad.

When asked if she thought this new agreement was just another step towards “internationalizing” the university, vice-president of external relations Barb Pollock said the university is proud of their relationships with international schools.

“This relationship is going to provide an opportunity for outbound and inbound, which is good because students will not only be able to experience the effect of having people from South Korea on our campus, but they’ll be able to go and experience [South Korean culture] as well,” she told the Carillon.

For Pollock, the international agreements come down to more than just opportunities for academic and cultural exchange.

“In arranging those [international agreements] we certainly gain credibility with university X by saying, ‘We’ve been doing this with university Z and Y for quite some time,’” she said. “I think it shows that we have credible experience around the world.”

Pollock said the university was putting more time and effort into these types of arrangements and hinted that the next frontier in the internationalization effort may be in Latin America.

“We do have some opportunities where talks are ongoing in Central America and in South America,” she said, also stressing that the established academic ties with Asia would continue to be strengthened. “[This agreement] is not the last for sure.”

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