Starting September 2019, The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea and the Korea Foundation, will be offering courses in Korean language (Hanguel) for students interested in mastering the basic grammar and writing system of the Korean language.
The courses will provide students with the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of activities in speaking, listening, reading, and writing to improve their communication skills in Korean.
Career diplomat Young G Lee, Charge d’ Affaires at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, is the mastermind behind the project and played a vital role in initiating the course at the university. Lee explaining how it came about said, “During a meeting with the Chancellor of UWI, Mr Robert Burmudez, in 2017, I realised that Korean culture and language is severely under-promoted in Jamaica and as head of Mission at the Embassy, I believed that it was my personal mission to change that. I decided to start the journey at UWI because I realised that mostly young adults expressed interest in Korean culture and I wanted to create a medium to aid in the expansion of their knowledge at the stage they’re at now. I didn’t believe that it would be fair to deprive those already interested of the opportunity to learn.”
Lee added that Korea’s popularity is rapidly increasing worldwide as more and more persons become interested in the ‘K-Wave’, which includes K-dramas, K-pop and K-beauty; and that there has been an increase in the number of students opting to go to Korea to further their studies, and in the number of tourists visiting annually.
“Students should enroll in the Korean language course because given the rapid spread of the Korean Wave, learning more about the culture and language will give them a distinct edge on the international stage. Also, I assure you that the course materials will be engaging and interesting so at no point will any student regret registering for the courses.”
“The course will be taught by Ms Bo-Kyoung Kim. Professor Kim was a top-ranking candidate, and holds a PhD in Korean Studies with specialised major in education of Korean language as a foreign language, so I know for a fact that the visiting professor is well-equipped to not only teach the language, but to make the learning experience as enjoyable as possible.”
Professor Kim will be delivering lectures in Hanguel at UWI Mona for two academic years.
Once that is accomplished the embassy will begin exploring ways to include the general public and hopefully, in the near future, Korean courses will be a normal occurrence in Jamaican society.