Tag Archives: college

Jobs

Young South Koreans Finding That Degrees Don’t Translate to Jobs

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
jamesskim@iamkoream.com

Two-thirds of South Koreans aged 25-34 boast college degrees, the highest proportion among the 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), where the average is at 40 percent. But as in the case of America’s “over-educated baristas,” getting a degree doesn’t always guarantee the job they’re looking for.

According to recent numbers from Statistics Korea, the number of unemployed South Koreans in their 20s and 30s who have no previous job experience is the highest in more than 12 years. This does not include currently jobless individuals who have had previous experience. Overall unemployment for those between 15-29 also hit a 14-year high last year.

Permanent Jobs vs. Temporary Positions

 

South Korea’s labor market is divided between a limited number of permanent jobs, which have high security and benefits, and temporary positions that end after two years. The outlook isn’t good, though: In 2012, 24 percent of South Korean workers held temporary positions, double the OECD average. The Korea Employers Federation said 377 companies with more than 100 employees plan to reduce hiring by 3.6 percent this year, compared to the last, and graduates faced 33 to 1 odds of landing a job after conducting a survey of 377 companies nationwide.

Along with the alleged abuses and exploitation of interns and temporary workers, many graduates see themselves overqualified for these positions, and an increasing number of students are choosing to stay in school longer and retain their students status. A survey of 33 universities last year found that more than 15,000 students delayed graduation. That means young men have even less time to be in the labor force, as they are required to serve up to two years in the military.

Gender Wage Gap

 

Female college grads have it particularly tough. There are some encouraging signs, as more women are graduating with degrees and women in their 20s are outpacing male counterparts in the job market at the highest-ever recorded rate since surpassing men in 2012.

But only 1 in 5 graduates in science, technology, engineering or mathematics are women. In 2013, South Korea ranked dead last among OECD nations in employment of female grads at 60.1 percent. The overall workforce participation rate for women is only at 55.2 percent, compared to the U.S.’s 67.2 rate and the OECD average of 62.6 percent. South Korea also ranks last in the OECD in wage disparity, with a 39 percent gap in median wages between men and women.

Résumé Photos and Application Process

 

It doesn’t help either men or women that résumé requirements can also be incredibly strict. SBS News recently broadcasted a report on how many companies require applicants to include their photo, height, weight and even family backgrounds. Photos sometimes require hair and makeup to be done professionally, while the other categories scream potential discrimination based on age, gender and appearance.

Government efforts to make discriminatory requirements on résumés have reportedly tapered off, and companies largely ignored government recommendations to do so.

Protest Against Flexible Labor Market

 

South Korea’s government policies on how to remedy its youth unemployment rates, for the most part, missed their mark or haven’t been popular among that particular crowd. Last November, labor groups and students blasted proposed measures to make the labor market “more flexible” by easing rules and lay-offs and pay, saying that temporary workers were not nearly as protected as permanent workers.

Even though the South Korean government is pumping money into the rapidly growing startup industry, not everyone graduates with a degree in software engineering.

Cost of Higher Education

 

Perhaps the most daunting task is displacing the well-ingrained prestige behind acquiring a degree. The relentless focus on exams is well-known, and South Koreans spend an average of $7,652 per student across all grade levels, including college. While that’s lower than what Americans and other OECD nations spend on average, the amount represents 7.6 percent of South Korea’s GDP spent on education–the third-highest amount of GDP spent on education in the OECD behind only Iceland and Denmark.

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Feature image via Wall Street Journal/Agence France-Press/Getty Images

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NYU-Business-School

North Korea Arrests South Korean NYU Student for Illegal Entry

Pictured above: New York University’s Stern School of Business. (Photo courtesy of NYU Local)

by the Associated Press

PYONGYANG, North Korea — North Korea said Saturday it has arrested a South Korean student of New York University for illegally entering the country from China last month.

Won-moon Joo, who North Korea says has permanent residency in the U.S. and lives in New Jersey, was arrested on April 22 after crossing the Amnok River from the Chinese town of Dandong, the official Korean Central News Agency said.

The 21-year-old man is being questioned by state authorities and has admitted that his actions were in violation of North Korean law, the agency said.

In New York, a spokesman for New York University, John Beckman, confirmed that Joo was a junior at NYU’s Stern School of Business, but was not taking classes this semester and the university was unaware of his travels.

“When we heard the news reports, NYU got in touch with the student’s family to express our concerns over his welfare and to convey our support. His well-being is in our thoughts and prayers,” Beckman said.

He said the university was in touch with the U.S. State Department and the South Korean Embassy.

An official from South Korea’s Unification Ministry, who didn’t want to be named, citing office rules, said it couldn’t immediately confirm whether Joo was a South Korean citizen and was being held in North Korea. Officials from South Korea’s intelligence agency were unreachable for comment.

North Korea has occasionally detained South Koreans, Americans and other foreigners, often on accusations of spying, in what analysts say are attempts to wrest outside concessions.

In March, North Korea announced that it had detained two South Korean citizens over alleged espionage. It has been holding another South Korean man since late 2013 on suspicion of spying and allegedly trying to set up underground churches in the North. He was sentenced last year to life in prison with hard labor.

Also last year, the North released three Americans — two of whom entered the country on tourist visas — and Kenneth Bae, a Korean American missionary who was convicted of “anti-state” crimes. An Australian missionary detained for spreading Christianity was deported after he apologized for anti-state religious acts and requested forgiveness.

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Associated Press writer Tong-hyung Kim in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Scholarship Duksung

Five African Students Receive Scholarships to Duksung Women’s University

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
jamesskim@iamkoream.com

Five African students will be pursuing their Master’s degrees at Duksung Women’s University through the school’s global partnership with U.N. Women, reports the Korea Times.

The students were selected based on examinations and interviews and will receive a total of 200 million won ($186,000) in scholarship funding from the university.

U.N. Women, a United Nations agency dedicated to gender quality and empowerment of women, signed an agreement with Duksung back in 2011—its first partnership with a local university. The scholarship covers tuition, dorms, travel and living expenses, and the classes will all be taught in English.

All five students plan to return to their home countries after finishing their degrees to become professors. Ninsiima Jolly from Rwanda and four Ethiopian students—Mohammed Ousman Hassen, Abera Meron Hailu, Negera Yacob Bizuneh and Damtew Makeda Bizuneh—are all studying a variety of majors, from food science, textile design and Western painting.

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Image via Korea Times

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UCLA and USC’s Korean American Student Organizations to Present ‘3 Steps to College’

by GRACE LEE | @grace_koream
grace@iamkoream.com

Attention, high school students: UCLA’s Korean American Student Associations (KASA) and USC’s Korean Student Association (KSA) will be presenting its third annual “3 Steps to College” seminar series at the Korean American Federation of Los Angeles (KAFLA) headquarters this Saturday.

The “3 Steps to College” series consists of three seminars aimed at informing prospective students on how to write personal statements, apply for financial aid and prepare for college life.

The final seminar, “How to Prep for College,” will include one-on-one discussions on how to adjust to dorm life, join clubs and apply for internships.

“How to Prep for College” will be presented by a panel comprised of students and alumni from UCLA, USC and other universities located in southern California. About eight panelists, including USC alumnus Paul Shin, USC student Shelby Matsumura, and Pepperdine student Sara Um, will share their college experience and what to expect for prospective students.

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Irene Choi, the event’s project coordinator and a sophomore at UCLA told KoreAm, “This is a way to give back to the community because we were in their shoes once, and because their parents are first generation, it’s our responsibility to guide these high school students to their dream schools.”

Seminars regarding writing personal statements and applying for financial aid were held successfully last year at KAFLA, where 50 high school students got to network and follow up with UCLA and USC students and alumni. Choi and other panel members hope that this experience will continue to build strong relationships within the community.

“I hope that students will utilize our services so they can get accepted to the top schools they want to go to,” Choi said.

The “How to Prep for College” seminar is scheduled to take place on April 25 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at KAFLA, which is located on 981 S. Western Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90006. There is no admission fee for the event. 

To learn more about the event, check out the event’s official Facebook page.

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Featured image courtesy of KAFLA

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KFEST banner

Awkwafina and Parker to Headline UC Irvine’s 4th Annual KFEST

The 4th Annual KFEST at UC Irvine kicks off just one week from today. If you’re looking for good food, games and music, you might want to stop by next Tuesday evening. Awkwafina and Parker, a.k.a. Dumbfoundead, will headline as featured performers accompanied by DJ ZO.

This year, KFEST promises “The Korean Experience,” with plenty of Korean cuisine, games and performances by fellow Anteaters. Admission is free, but be prepared to pay for parking if you do attend.

You can find more information at the KFEST Facebook event page.

KFEST

When: Tuesday, April 28 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: UC Irvine Student Center, Pacific Ballroom CD  (Parking in the Student Center Parking Structure)

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James H Kim

Student Spotlight: Touro University-California’s James Hun Kim

Are there any organizations/clubs you are involved in? Tell us about what you’re up to!
I am very active in a professional pharmacy organization called California Society of Health Systems Pharmacists (CSHP). I am a past president of my schools’ chapter, and I stay involved as much as I can now.

With this role, I have advocated for the profession of pharmacy at the state capitol and provided opportunities for students to network with current pharmacists and get involved in community outreach events. Getting involved with this organization was a great way to meet important people in the profession and also improve my leadership and communication skills.

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What’s the best thing about your school?
I would have to say the best thing about my school is my classmates. They have become like a second family to me. Shout out to all my pharmies!

Give a little description of your background.
I grew up in a small town called Carson City, Nevada. My brother and I are first generation Korean American. After high school, I moved 30 miles north to Reno, Nevada for undergrad at the University of Nevada, Reno. Go Wolf Pack!

I was the first in my family to attend college. After graduation, I worked for a couple years in the pharmaceutical industry and eventually, I applied to pharmacy school. I was accepted to Touro University-California, where I’m currently working to complete my doctorate. During pharmacy school, I became a proud husband and father of two, a son who is two and a daughter who is just seven weeks old. I’ve had to learn how to balance a lot of roles at the same time, but it’s been so rewarding.

CSHP Health Fair

Your go-to food place:
This may sound cliché for a Korean, but my go-to place is this spot in San Francisco called My Tofu House. I go there as often as I can. Growing up in a small rural town, the only Korean food that was accessible was my mom’s, so finding this place was a dream when I moved to California. It always reminds me of my mom, and it’s hands down the best soondubu in the city.

What has been your favorite memory so far?
Well I have two of them now: when my son, Aiden, and my daughter, Lillian, were born.

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If you could sum up your life as a student in three words, they would be…
STUDY, STRESS and FUN… not in any particular order.

What was the hardest thing you’ve done so far?
The hardest thing I have done so far is raising a family while both my wife and I have been in pharmacy school. Granted, raising a family is hard work itself, but the workload of pharmacy school has made it extra hard. If I could go back though, I wouldn’t change a thing.

What was the last book you read…for fun?
The Pout Pout Fish… it’s a children’s book that I read to my son each night before bed. It’s a total tongue twister, and my son loves it.

Reno

What does your typical night out consist of?
Nights out are few and far between at this point in my life, but I do enjoy an occasional night out with friends. Usually we will just go out and catch up over some food and drinks.

Coffee, tea, energy drinks, “crazier stuff,” or nothing at all?
All of it. I drink this stuff so much, but I don’t feel like any of it works for me anymore, though.

Who’s the person/people you can rely on for anything?
My wife. We met nine years ago during undergrad, so we’ve been through a lot together by now. She is always there to support me.

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If you would like to participate in KoreAm U’s Student Spotlight feature, you can find more information here

University Tuition

UC President Apologizes for Calling Student Protests Over Tuition ‘Crap’

Pictured above: University of California Berkeley student Kristian Kim throws fake money while starting a protest during a UC Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco, Wednesday, March 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
jamesskim@iamkoream.com

University of California President Janet Napolitano issued a public apology yesterday for describing a student protest as “crap” during a regents meeting on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“I’m sorry for using a word I don’t usually use,” Napolitano said at Thursday’s regents meeting at UC San Francisco. She admitted to using an “unfortunate” choice of words, but she also asked for “empathy and understanding” in what led to the remark.

Kristian Kim (pictured above) was one of about 30 student protesters in the meeting who, during the public comment period, began yelling and stripping down to their underwear and exercise clothing, revealing the words “Student Debt” written on their bodies. It was during the yelling that Napolitano leaned over regents chairman Bruce Varner and said, “Let’s just break. Let’s go, let’s go. We don’t have to listen to this crap.”

Her microphone caught the words, which were discernible on the UC’s live video stream of the meeting. Napolitano and the regents left the room, followed by the protesters after a warning from the police. No arrests were made, and the regents resumed the meeting.

Needless to say, the remark definitely didn’t sit well with the students.

“It’s an insult to have her as the president of UC,” Kim told CBS News. “I don’t know where she’s coming from, but I’m assuming she’s never had to deal with these issues personally. So I can understand why there would be a disconnect there.”

One of the more pressing issues students were protesting was the proposal for a 5 percent tuition increase every year for the next five years. Napolitano and California Governor Jerry Brown have gone back and forth on possible tuition hikes: The governor has proposed increasing state revenue for UC by $120 million, or 4 percent, next year, but only if tuition remains frozen for a fourth consecutive year, according to the L.A. Times. Napolitano maintained that the UC needs $100 million more than Brown’s proposal to cover costs, such as pensions and salaries; otherwise, the 5 percent hike would be necessary.

So far, the regents have authorized Napolitano to increase undergraduate tuition for California residents by as much as $612 in 2015-16, to $12,804, which does not include room, board and individual campus fees. If the 5 percent hikes kick in over the next five years, California undergrads could be paying $15,564 by 2019-20.

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Professor

Study Finds Students Give Lower Ratings to Asian Instructors on ‘Rate My Professors’

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
jamesskim@iamkoream.com

No one hates Rate My Professors more than professors, who claim that the website can lead to unfair ratings. Many students, however, find no issue with referencing the site, and some even take the time to offer their own ratings and comments.

A new study by Nicholas Close Subtirelu, a doctoral student at Georgia State University, examined how students on Rate My Professors rated Nonnative English-speaking (NNES) instructors. Overall, the results suggest that these instructors received significantly lower scores than those with other last names, specifically in the categories of clarity and helpfulness.

Subtirelu looked at the ratings and comments given to over 1,000 mathematics professors with Chinese or Korean-sounding last names, then compared the results to a much larger sample of instructors whose last names did not suggest an Asian background.

After breaking down the numbers between male and female instructors, then by U.S. region, Subtirelu found that instructors with American-sounding last names received clarity scores that were 0.60 to 0.80 points higher (on a five-point scale) than those with Asian names. The gaps in rankings were the largest in the South, while they were closest in the West.

You can see the spread of results below:

ResultsImage via Inside Higher Ed

Subtirelu also looked through the student comments for these NNES instructors, noting a pattern where many students began a positive remark by saying the instructor “has an accent, but …” He also said in certain comments where students commented about language, they “seemed to view that as a surprise or as something that needed to be shared about someone with an Asian last name.”

Comments such as “Her English is perfect,” although seemingly positive, he says, “suggest a focus of students on Asian instructor’s language skills when evaluating them.”

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Subtirelu does acknowledge there are instructors who are legitimately difficult to understand, but he says with a little effort, students would be just fine with most instructors. The main issue is when students actively avoid certain instructors based on the comments about their accents.

Noting the amount of English language skill testing and training foreign graduates go through, Subtirelu expressed his skepticism of the idea that they are unintelligible and their English proficiency is so poor. In the classroom, there needs to be a little effort “on both sides” for better comprehension.

You can read the full abstract of the study here.

This study comes on the heels of another that looked into the word choices that students used when rating their male and female professors.

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