Fringe capital and perceived values of Korean Educational Mobilities (KEM) in Asia: the case of Korean degree-seeking students in the Philippines

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Education abroad by Koreans, while linked to various factors, has been primarily examined as an English-centric strategy for social reproduction such that Korean educational mobilities in specific Asia-situated settings are perceived as a well-planned quest for affordable and accessible English, especially by students from non-elite, less-resourced backgrounds. Through a focus on Korean degree-seeking students in the Philippines, this paper aims to complicate this view by asking, beyond the value of low-cost English, what other values do Korean students perceive to gain from their studies in the Philippines? I address this question by introducing the concept of fringe as an analytic through which examination of capital may be decentred, shifting away from the deterministic value of English and broadening notions of value from ‘non-traditional study abroad’. Through the concept of fringe, this paper illustrates the complex generation of multiple values while outside the knowledge centres and even during the pursuit of normative Capital. As such, this paper offers a new lens to rethink the values of and possibilities of Inter-Asia mobilities as well as to reimagine Asia as more than a ‘placeholder, semi-destination’ for the non-elites through the underexplored experiences of Philippines-based Korean international students.