The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is set to open a satellite campus at Songdo Global University (SGU) in Incheon, Korea, by March 2017. FIT is a fashion school that is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system, producing talented individuals and playing a leading role in the American fashion industry. SUNY Korea was already established in 2012, and the university will further strengthen its ties with Korea through the new program. For FIT, this will be the first satellite campus in Asia. This will also be the first time Korea welcomes a world-class fashion college.
SUNY Korea provides undergraduate and graduate degree programs through its US affiliate, Stony Brook University. Currently, it is offering computer science, technology & society, and mechanical engineering programs, all of which fall within the engineering and applied sciences department. Since 2013, SUNY Korea has run FIT summer courses, and now it will begin providing full degree programs. In addition to regular degree programs, SUNY Korea has also been organizing English language courses for general public, promoting educational exchange between Korea and the US.
The mutual relationship between SUNY and Korea was robust even before SUNY Korea opened its doors in 2012. Myung Oh, who once served as Minister of Science and Technology in Korea, earned a Ph.D. degree in 1972 from Stony Brook University. The total number of enrolled Korean students throughout the SUNY system has steadily increased and has now reached an average of 2,700 annually. The university recognizes the importance of Korea to the US, and offers programs related to Korean language and society at its major campuses like Binghamton University.
Other universities, including George Mason University, University of Utah, and Ghent University of Belgium, have opened facilities at SGU in Incheon, providing education and research opportunities to Koreans as well as other Asians. Asian students who seek an affordable American college education closer to their home find the joint campus attractive. More than 30% of student body is from outside of Korea, further stimulating educational exchange with all of Asia.
Cheolwoo Lee is an Asan Academy intern at the East-West Center in Washington.