Korean courses provide new opportunities

Kimberly Imel

Staff Writer




As students are working through their fall semester, programs for next year are already in the works.

The foreign languages department at IUP is making way for four-credit Korean courses, the first of which will hopefully be offered as early as the spring 2017 semester.

Currently, Korean language studies are offered as a critical language course.

As a critical language course, the classes are only three credits and are taught by graduate students.

With the transition away from the critical language association, the course will have time to not only address Korean language, but discuss more cultural elements as well, according to Dr. Yongtaek Kim, associate professor of Japanese and Korean at IUP.

The reason for the transition was a result of an increase in student demand.

More students are interested in learning Korean and, by offering the class as a four-credit course, more students have the option of taking the class, according to Kim.

Because of the Korean courses’ new status, students will also have the opportunity to obtain a language certificate in Korean.

In addition to the Korean course, the foreign language department is offering a Summer Culture Tour to Korea for students interested in experiencing Korean culture firsthand.

The Summer Culture Tour to Korea is an annual summer course held for two weeks from late May to early June.

Students have the chance to travel to Korea and specific places such as Gwanghwamun Plaza, War Memorial Museum and K-POP studios.

The class is a three-credit course, which has changed from its previous six-credit status.

As a result, the cost of the program has decreased to $3,500 from its original $5,000.

The cost includes airfare, transportation, food, tuition and more.

The main objective of the program is to expose students to both traditional and contemporary culture in Korea and broaden their perspectives or understandings of international affairs.

The program’s main purpose or importance is exemplified by previous attendees who spoke highly of the educational opportunity. Bailee Gehring (junior, Asian studies) discussed the multitude of experiences she encountered through the program.

Gehring decided to partake in the program because of her personal desire to expand her knowledge of Korean and explore the world.

“I really just hoped to test my survival abilities and gain more self-independence,” she said.

Gehring specifically expanded her understanding of Korea by analyzing cultural differences.

“I experienced huge culture differences, mostly in simple things like dining, restroom behavior and public taboos,” she said.

Not only does Gehring believe this was an important experience for herself, but but she believes it would be a beneficial opportunity for other IUP students, as well.

“It gives students a taste of study abroad and can help them determine if international travel is possible for them,” she said.

“It also gives them a broader perspective of the world.”

Although Gehring is specifically an Asian studies major, all majors are welcome to partake in the experience.

Additionally, a strong knowledge in Korean language or culture is not a prerequisite.

Students will attend an orientation session before they depart, where they will learn the basics of Korean.

For students wary about traveling, Kim provided words of encouragement.

“I go to any places with them,” he said.

“I always supervise and protect them.”

In any case, Kim said that he hopes more students will broaden their understanding of the world or another culture by taking the Summer Culture Tour to Korea during summer 2017.

For more information on the Korean classes or Summer Culture Tour to Korea, contact Dr. Kim at yt.kim@iup.edu.

For more education abroad or summer abroad options, contact the Office of International Education at education-abroad@iup.edu or Andrew Kent at akent@iup.edu.