Winners of Chevening Scholarships joins British Ambassador to Korea Scott Wightman, center, and scholarship sponsors at the ambassador's residence, July 10. / Courtesy of British Embassy
The United Kingdom has awarded 23 Koreans with its prestigious scholarship to help them study in the European country.
During an orientation at the British ambassador's residence last week, the winners of the Chevening Scholarships were given instructions, certificates and formal congratulations.
The scholarship covers flight tickets, tuition and accommodation, and monthly allowance for up to one year, making it one of the most coveted scholarship programs available for those who pursue higher education in the U.K.
Competition is strong, and so are the requirements.
Candidates should have a minimum of two years of professional experience, and should have been admitted to a master's program at the time of application.
British Ambassador Scott Wightman reminded the winners of the significance of Korea-Britain relations, which celebrates the 130th anniversary of diplomatic ties.
The most high-profile event will be a visit of President Park Geun-hye to the U.K. at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II in the fall.
"You'll be part of it," the ambassador said.
Since its launch in 1983, the Chevening Scholarships has given more than 1,000 Koreans opportunities to study in the U.K. Worldwide, the number of recipients reached almost 50,000 in more than 150 nations.
As the ambassador pointed out, it's more than an educational opportunity. "Not only education, but we also offer diverse cultural experience," that would strengthen what's already robust ties.
Choi Kwang, chairman of the National Pension Service, and Chung Hee-sun, former director general of the National Forensic Service, are among the scholars.
The scholarship is a public-private initiative.
Apart from the embassy, British firms such as DIAGO, PCA Life and Standard Chartered are also sponsors. The Bank of Korea, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning were also part of it this year.
Choi Hyun-jung, who will be studying water science policy and management at Oxford University, thanked the U.K. government for the opportunity. With a background in financial services, she said she is hoping her education will help her with a career change to the environment, a subject she's been interested in for a long time.
The British Embassy said qualification is the prime eligibility. It also seeks to have the variety in the field of studies among recipients.
The Chevening application usually starts in the beginning of the year. Winners are announced in the spring, and start off their program in the fall.