By Park Si-soo
Forty-four percent of Korean students at top American universities give up their studies halfway through.
This data is contained in Samuel S. Kim's doctoral dissertation ``First and Second Generation Conflict in Education of the Asian American Community'' delivered at Columbia University Friday.
The drop out rate is much higher than 34 percent of American, 25 percent of Chinese and 21 percent of Indian students.
The results come from tracking 1,400 Korean students registered at 14 top American universities - Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Columbia, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Amherst College, Duke, Georgetown, Brown, Dartmouth, Pennsylvania and Princeton - between 1985 and 2007.
As of 2007, 62,392 Korean students were taking undergraduate or graduate courses in America schools, accounting for 10.7 percent of all foreign students in the country, said the Institute of International Education, a non-profit organization.
By the numbers, it is the third largest following those from India and China, with populations more than 20 times that of Korea.
For instance, Harvard University has 37 Korean undergraduates, the third largest behind Canada and Britain. Harvard, Yale and Princeton have a total of 103 Korean undergraduates between them.
Kim said in the thesis that such a high dropout rate is largely attributable to Korean parents forcing their children to study rather than participate in extracurricular activities, an essential part of overseas education for foreign students to acclimate themselves to American society and get a good job in the long run.
According to the thesis, Korean students consume 75 percent of their time available for studying, while they allocate only 25 percent to extracurricular activities such as community service.
In contrast, American students and those from other countries tend to equally share their time for both study and other activities.
He said the Korean mindset regarding education kept Korean students from moving into the American mainstream, citing statistics that of high-ranking officers at World's top 500 enterprises selected by American business magazine Fortune, merely 0.3 percent are Korean, compared with Indians at 10 percent and Chinese with 5 percent.
``I saw many Korean students in America isolated from the local community due to their study-concentrated way of life,'' Kim said in an interview with The Korea Daily, a Korean-language newspaper published in the U.S. ``They should abandon what they were familiar with in Korea to succeed in America.''