Abstract

This essay examines a shift in the newspaper discourse on South Korean pre-college study abroad (chogi yuhak)—the education exodus of pre-college students—in order to consider how South Koreans are managing the considerable social pressure to globalize their children. While in the early years of Pre-College Study Abroad (PSA) in the 1990s, there was a robust media discourse about the promise of alternative human development through PSA, as the phenomena grew dramatically into the 2000s, the discourse increasingly asserts that PSA success relies on technical preparation at home, the student’s pre-existing character, and parental assets. PSA has thus been “domesticated” in that it is understood not as a discrete education field abroad, but instead an extension of South Korea’s highly stratified and competitive education market. This shift reflects escalating social and economic anxieties, and as such, the discourse constitutes a conversation about inequality in contemporary South Korea.

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