Foreign Masters of Korean
Studying abroad is becoming a very good choice for people who want to explore their abilities in language and culture besides they desired choice of major. Usually people tend to choose either Europe or USA to study abroad. But nowadays Korea is becoming one of the popular choices for students. Since South Korea is now expanding its own wings to reach the world, South Korea is not only becoming a popular holiday destination, but also a place to study. In 2004, South Korea targeted 100.000 international students studying in Korea by 2012. But in fact, by 2010, South Korea had 83.842 international students, almost reaching the target before 2012. Among the numbers of the foreign students, there were 17.064 Korean language students. They are from 171 different countries, such as USA, Indonesia, China, Japan, Thailand, Philippines, Canada, Turkey, France, etc. In 2014, this number is even increasing. They were spread in 328 universities in South Korea. The most popular ones are in Seoul National University, Sogang University, Yonsei University, Chungnam National University,etc. Some of universities in South Korea provide sort of scholarships for the international students who will to study Korean language in South Korea. It becomes an interest point for international students to enrich their knowledge in a new language and culture also to explore the world in such a small budget. In this kind of incessant phenomenon, South Korea is becoming a new highlight in the education field with its best education system. I wonder why people are interested in learning Korean language. Korean language has different characters, grammars, and of course sentence structures. But why do people encourage themselves to learn such a new language that they even haven’t learned it before and how did they know Korean before ? I got a chance to interview some international students who are lucky to get a chance to study Korean language in South Korea. As the first example, Jana Valdueza (23) from The Philippines explained, “ I was interested in Korean language since I knew about K-pop and K-drama. “
. So does Astrid Marieska (25) from Indonesia, Val John (23) from The Philippines, Sachiyo Matsumura (20) from Japan, and Elif Sen (20) from Turkey. K-pop and K-drama were influencing them to start learning Korean. Moreover, Val John, who was interested in Korean language because of Rain’s music video on TV, is now stepping his feet on the Korea entertainment industry. On the other hand, there are some people who learned Korean because they wanted to learn new cultures and exploring their abilities. That’s what made Bryan Lahey (30) from Canada came to Korea 5 years ago and learned Korean. He found out that Korean language is interesting to be learned.
“I first came to Korea to teach English. I found that learning Korean added depth to my experience, and I enjoyed conversing with the locals. It’s nice to understand what people around you are saying, and I get so many nice compliments on it.”he added. Or maybe take Sachiyo and Asami Ouchi (20), her Japanese fellow as other examples.
Learning Korean language is definitely not easy as you flip your hands. But it doesn’t matter for people who want to learn, it’s actually triggering them to know more and more. Besides able to speak with locals or able to bargain things or able to make Korean friends, Korean language students thought about more benefits they have ever received after learning Korean. No more awkward situation if they have to be in a place where Korean dominates fulfilling the place.Fan Bowen (20) from China said, “ Yeah, by learning Korean language and cultures, I know about cultures of living in Korea. So it can guide me to live comfortably here and of course, follow their cultures so I won’t ‘get lost’ . “.
It’s true, wherever we live, we have to follow the rules and the cultures. Not only knowing more about the cultures, but there are some people who get many opportunities while living in Korea. Bryan got to translate documents from Korean-English and earned sum of money to support his living. By doing the translating job, he got more knowledge about Korean literature and media. So does Jana. When she visited her home country for summer break, she got a part-time job as an English teacher of many Korean students. Astrid is also one of the lucky peeps. She got a job as a Korean interpreter as what she wished before soon after she returned from Korea.
“ I can’t believe that I got the job I want to do. I am so lucky. Maybe it’s one of the benefits I have got after learning Korean. “ she said. Elif said the other thing. She said, “ I don’t know whether you think I’m exaggerating it or not, but I got more knowledge after learning Korean and I got many chances to do this and that. Furthermore, I have more Korean friends, so it benefits me a lot since I’m still learning Korean. “.
If we learn something, of course we do have an expectation what we’re going to do with our abilities. People have different sights with this. I personally think if I can master my Korean, I’d like to step on their entertainment industry there. Yep, my simple vision. Then what do people expect after mastering their Korean language ? Such a simple question, but it is essential. Sometimes people want to try or learn something new without thinking about what they want to do after they master the things they have to tried or learned. A further sight with their abilities would be better. Jana said, “ I want to work in the most famous clothes design company in Korea and further, I want to be a fabulous designer in Korea. “. Val John has a different opinion about what he expects after mastering his Korean. He said, “ I want to open my own foundation in Korea for people who are talented but find no place to anchor their talents. I really want to help them to pursue their dream. “
Sachiyo also wants to get a job as a Korean drama translator in the future since she’s really into K-drama. Fan Bowen even said, “ I just want to live in Korea. That’s it. “. Or even Asami who wants to live in Korea after marrying her Korean boyfriend. Well, they do have an expectation for themselves to build their own things. Elif has got a mission to make Turkey and South Korea’s relationship get even closer, so there will be many benefits available for both sides who want to learn these two countries’ cultures. And Bryan added, “I’d like to help Koreans out who live in Canada, as well as perhaps inspire other Canadians to learn Korean. If I ever have children, I hope to teach them the letters and maybe get them hooked on the language like I was.”
Anyway, learning something new is never being a wrong thing. It might be difficult, but study hard is the only way to master it. Are you a foreigner who’s just lived in Korea for months or maybe weeks ? or even for days ? To blend with the locals, it’s not a bad decision to start learning some simple Korean expressions or sentences. As foreigners living in the different country, understanding its country’s language is a plus. Locals will appreciate you more than foreigners who are not being able to understand their language. Either you’re staying in a short-term or long-term, why don’t you consider to learn Korean seriously ? You might be finding more opportunities afterwards.
Data from : http://www.topuniversities.com/where-to-study/asia/south-korea/guide