(Kenny Moss | Photographer)
The Auburn University King Sejong Institute is offering an eight-week, not-for-credit Korean language courses.
Each course costs $99. Students can choose between beginner and intermediate levels.
The courses will begin Oct. 13, the original starting date of the second semester. The first semester was cancelled because of low enrollment.
Eunhyun Park is the instructor for the classes. Park came from Keimyung University in Daegu, Korea, to teach Korean. Park is the first instructor from Keimyung University to come to the U.S.
“I really love to teach Korean language and Korean culture to many people,” Park said. “I really, really like this job and that’s why I hope many, many people are interested in learning Korean.”
The beginner courses will focus on the Korean alphabet, numbers, grammar and short phrases, such as greetings.
Park said the intermediate course will be more like a supplemental beginner class.
Jennifer Mason, director of international initiatives, said if interest is high, advanced classes will be added. Mason said the increased Korean population in the Auburn area was a strong reason for offering the classes.
“Within about an hour’s drive of Auburn, we have more than 60 Korean companies operating here,” Mason said. “That’s made a huge difference in the community landscape of the region. Being able to understand each other, not just in terms of language, but in culture and those kinds of things, we thought was important.”
The course was first offered last fall. Students included people working at Korean companies, community members interested in Korean and University students.
“We’ve had Auburn students who are interested in taking the for-credit courses, and this is an easy introduction that’s not going to affect your GPA, in case it’s a little more difficult than you were expecting,” Mason said.
Lourdes Betanzos, undergraduate advisor for global cultures, said offering Korean classes was a logical choice.
“I think, especially with our University being between two very large Korean manufacturing companies, it’s kind of an obvious thing, and a logical choice to make for our students,” Betanzos said. “I think as long as we can continue to collaborate with the Korea center here on campus we should be able to continue offering classes.”
Park also teaches for-credit Korean courses through the University. Last year, the department of foreign languages received approval from the University Curriculum Committee for the elementary Korean sequence.
This semester, enrollment in the elementary class reached capacity.
“Sometimes I think we’re at a disadvantage because, here in the South, the Korean community is still somewhat new,” Mason said. “When we think about language, we think a lot about Spanish, about Latin American culture because that has been part of our community for a long time. When someone’s thinking ‘I want to learn a new language. What do I go with?’ Spanish is the first thing that pops into your head. It’s the most reasonable answer. Korean is becoming more and more important in our region and beyond to the U.S. with the relationships there.”
For more information, visit the Korea Center’s website or email Eunhyun Park at firstname.lastname@example.org.