By Kim Bo-eun
The nation's top university is planning to build a dormitory exclusively for foreign students to accommodate their growing numbers.
Seoul National University said Wednesday it plans to build a separate dormitory building that will house 1,000 foreign students.
"A new dormitory building for foreign students will not only help them adjust to an unfamiliar culture and environment but also create more room for local students in the existing dormitory building," a school official said.
The school plans to create an environment that is friendly for foreigners of diverse religions, by providing facilities that can assist them in their religious practices.
SNU has laid out plans to invest 33 billion won ($30 million) for construction and will go ahead with it when 1.2 billion won of the budget is secured next year.
The existing dormitory at the university accommodates some 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students, including 1,000 foreign students.
However, the growing number of foreign students at the school gave rise to complaints from Korean students living in areas outside of the capital, who have less chance of being able to live in the dormitory.
According to the Office of International Affairs, a total of 2,401 foreign students are attending the school ― 2,080 in the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs and 321 visiting and students on exchange.
The figure is up 21.2 percent from 2009 when there were 1,891 foreign students. Then the number increased to 2,264 in 2010 and 2,284 last year.