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Back To Korea
From JoongAng
July 6, 2002

By Ahn, Joon-Yong

As the unemployment rate continues to rise in the United States, more and more Korean international students in New York are returning to Korea.

According to a survey conducted by National Association of College and Employer (NACE) on four hundred and fifteen American companies, the percentage of employed recent college graduates has decreased by 36.5 percent since last year. This narrowed employment route makes the situation even harder for international students to secure jobs in the United States.

Mo Na-Hyun, who has studied photography at New York University says, "Since graduation, I have recently started looking for jobs at some of the top magazine publishing companies. Most of the companies, however, were at the laying off stage rather than recruiting." And she added that she considered going to a graduate school to pursue a more advanced degree, but because of the financial burden, she decided to go back to Korea.

Oh, who has studied linguistics at St. John’s University, is also in a similar situation as Mo. After getting a degree, he went back to Korea rather early when he realized that it was almost impossible to get a job nowadays.

While some people are returning to Korea after completing their degrees, there are other international students who simply give up pursuing their degrees for the fear that they would not be able to utilize them in the United States. Sohn, who has transferred to one of the City University of New York (CUNY) colleges to study Hotel Management, is someone who belongs to the latter case. When he realized that it was no longer possible to get a job in the United States, he abandoned his studies at CUNY.

The head of IPS International, an executive search firm, Ahn, Jin-Oh says, "On top of an economic stagnation, the 9/11 tragedy has driven the unemployment rate to higher levels than ever. Even in computer science, engineering or finance, all of which are favorite majors pursued by Korean international students, the door to employment has narrowed a lot."

He also adds, "On average about ten Korean international students come to me everyday for consultation, and the only word I can say to them is to look for jobs somewhere else."

The president of the Korean Student Association of New York (KSAN) said, "This year, the number of international students returning to Korea has increased dramatically. I credit Korea’s improved economy and success in the World Cup for this positive phenomenon."

From 6/1 to 7/5, only about 60 jobs were posted on the KSANY website, but more than 10 thousand people have accessed it, indicating how seriously slow the job market is.

Translated From Korean by Julia Yook

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