Vietnamese students are the fastest growing group in South Korean universities, second only to China in enrollment numbers.
Vietnam sent nearly 15,000 students to South Korea last year, three times higher than the number in 2015, making it the fastest growing market for international education in the Northeast Asian country.
In reporting this information, the Yonhap News Agency cited figures from the National Institute for International Education under the Korean Ministry of Education.
As of April this year, the number of international students registered in South Korean universities and graduate schools jumped to 142,205, a 14.8 percent increase from a year ago. Of these, 70,232 were enrolled in higher education programs and the other 51,856 in non-degree programs.
China has retained the top spot as the country with the maximum number of students in South Korea. At 68,256, Chinese account for 48.2 percent of total foreign students in the country.
Vietnam ranks second with 27,061, accounting for 19 percent of total international students, followed by Mongolia (4.7 percent), Japan (2.79 percent), and the United States (1.93 percent).
For non-degree courses such as Korean language classes at universities, Vietnamese students accounted for 34.3 percent, or 19,260 of the total, surpassing Chinese peers (29.8 percent).
Anticipation is building that Vietnam will beat China to become the largest group of students in South Korea by 2020, the Yonhap reported.
Vietnamese families are spending as much as $3-4 billion each year on sending their children abroad to study, education minister Phung Xuan Nha told the National Assembly session in Hanoi last June.
Last year, there were around 130,000 Vietnamese studying abroad at all levels, and their top five destinations were Japan, the U.S., Australia, China and the U.K., according to government data.