Campus News

Esports at UK Goes Global With New Education Abroad Opportunity

Photo of Student on Computer
Pete Comparoni | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky, (April 15, 2021) — Starting this May, esports at the University of Kentucky is going global.

UK Student Success and Education Abroad & Exchanges (EA) are leveling up to offer esports abroad in Seoul, South Korea. Additionally, they have teamed up with UK’s esports partner, Gen.G and International Studies Abroad (ISA), to offer the unique four-week experience at two top-tier research institutions — Hanyang University and Korea University.

“As the first and only esports organization to connect the biggest esports markets in the world, Gen.G is at the forefront of developing outcome-driven, world-class education with global implications," Joe Baek, executive director of Education Initiatives at Gen.G, said. “This new opportunity through UK is the epitome of this effort.”

In 2019, UK created an innovative esports program — unlike any other in the country — to maximize student success and the potential for career opportunities in what is now a global, multibillion-dollar industry. At the same time, UK officials, as part of a larger Smart Campus initiative, are looking for ways to use esports and other technologies to build a stronger and larger sense of community on campus and beyond.

“Great partners lead to great outcomes,” Heath Price, UK associate chief information officer, said. “We are very excited to have this type of international collaboration with Gen.G and ISA.”

Throughout the program, students will gain a greater understanding of another culture and have the opportunity to participate in customized esports activities, designed by Gen.G, to provide networking opportunities with global professionals.

“This program is unique in that it gives our students a chance to experience esports and gaming through a cultural lens,” Katherine M. McCormick, associate provost and associate vice president for UK Student Success, said. “Gaming is a $180+ billion industry, and esports specifically with $1 billion in gross revenue, are sectors where jobs are developing quickly across multiple disciplines: computer science and engineering, communication, marketing/social media, accounting, event promotion and facility management.”  

Established in 2017, Gen.G is the only major organization that owns and operates top teams in South Korea, the United States and China. Ranked No. 6 in the inaugural Forbes list of the “World's Most Valuable Esports Companies,” Gen.G's core mission is to help fans and athletes use the power of gaming and esports to get ahead in and beyond the competition. The company has quickly become a commercial and thought leader — building a global, inclusive and cross-cultural future for sports entertainment.

“Visiting students will have the opportunity to experience esports like never before: meetings with pro players and coaches, seminars with industry professionals and workshops with students specializing in esports — all culminating in a final project where students from both the U.S. and Korea work together to design, prepare and execute an actual esports event,” Baek explained. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, all held within the backdrop of the birthplace of esports." 

The deadline to register is May 15, and the first six students to complete their application will automatically receive a $1,500 scholarship sponsored by ISA.

You can apply here.

For more information or questions about the esports in South Korea program, contact Susan Meredith or Sarah Warren.

To learn more about esports at UK, you can go online.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.