Five Quick Points About Korea
- Fascinating blend of very old and very modern cultures and art forms
- One of world’s best-educated and most literate populations
- Cutting-edge research and technology facilities in many schools
- Welcoming environment currently for foreign students given government emphasis on increasing international student numbers
- Stunning environmental as well as cultural attractions
Location and Geography
Slightly larger than Indiana, South Korea lies below the 38th parallel on the Korean peninsula. It is mountainous in the east; in the west and south are many harbors on the mainland and offshore islands.
South Korea came into being after World War II, the result of a 1945 agreement reached by the Allies at the Potsdam Conference, making the 38th parallel the boundary between a northern zone of the Korean peninsula to be occupied by the USSR and southern zone to be controlled by U.S. forces. (For details, see Korea, North. )
Elections were held in the U.S. zone in 1948 for a national assembly, which adopted a republican constitution and elected Syngman Rhee as the nation's president. The new republic was proclaimed on Aug. 15 and was recognized as the legal government of Korea by the UN on Dec. 12, 1948.