Posted : 2012-01-29 19:08
Updated : 2012-01-29 19:08

Half of Koreans don’t return after getting US science degrees

By Jane Han

NEW YORK — Many Korean students leave for the United States with hopes to return and contribute to their home country. But in reality, few end up making their way back, new data shows.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), half of Korean students who obtained their science and engineering doctoral degrees in the United States hadn’t left the country five years after completing their studies.

The most recent report by ORISE looks at the stay rates for foreign students who received their degrees in 2004.

Among the 1,030 Koreans who obtained a science and engineering doctoral degree in the United States in 2004, 42 percent hadn’t returned to Korea as of 2009, based on the data.

This is below the average stay rate of 62 percent, but higher than some countries including Japan and Taiwan.

Countries with some of the highest stay rates include China (89 percent) and India (79 percent).

“Stay rates continue to vary substantially by country of citizenship.

Stay rates observed in 2009 are at or very near the highest levels observed in the recent past,” said Michael Finn, author of the report published this month.

In the nation’s interest, the absence of science and engineering doctorates is a loss. So why are Koreans not returning home? Work and living environment are the biggest reasons, says an official of the Korean- American Scientists and Engineers Association.

“These people have put in an incredible amount of time and effort to pursue their degree so they want to get rewarded for their hard work,” he said, “But a lot times, they don’t get what they’re looking for in Korea.” Returning doctors are mostly dissatisfied with insufficient research facilities and lack of freedom in pursuing their research.

The Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education & Training (KRIVET) asked 454 science and engineering doctors why they want to reside in the U.S. and the No. 1 reason was work environment.

“It is critical for employers in both the private and public sectors to provide an acceptable work environment for these highly-skilled scientists and engineers. If not, we’ll continue to lose them to other countries,” said Jin Mi-seok, researcher at KRIVET.

Children’s education and high living costs are some of the other obstacles holding Koreans with advanced degrees from returning, according to the survey.
관련 한글 기사

미국에서 학위 취득 한국인 과학자 절반 귀국 못해

뉴욕 ­ 많은 한국 학생들이 다시 고국에 돌아와 기여를 하겠다는 희망을 품고 미국으로 떠나지만 다시 돌아오는 사람은 실질적으로 드물다.

미 자원부 오크리지 과학 및 교육원에 따르면 미국에서 과학과 공학 박사학위를 받은 한국학생의 절반이 5년간의 학업을 마친 후 미국을 떠나지 못했다.

ORISE 최근 보고에서 2004년 학위를 취득하고 외국인 학생들의 잔류율을 볼 수 있다.

당해 과학 및 공학 박사학위을 취득한 1,030명의 한국 학생 중 42퍼센트가 2009년 현재 한국에 돌아가지 않았다.

이는 평균 잔여율 62퍼센트보다 낮은 수치이지만 일본 및 대문보다 훨씬 높다. 중국이 최고로 89퍼센트를 기록했으며 인도가 79퍼센트로 뒤를 이었다.

한국계 과학자 및 엔지니어협회 관계자는 일자리와 생활환경이 가장 큰 이유라고 말했다.
그는 “시간과 노력을 많이 투여한데 비해 한국에서 자신들이 원하는 것을 찾지 못하고 있다”고 말했다.

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