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Language lessons, films, dance: Centers offer all

Apr 16,2007
The dance group Aaninka. Provided by the Korea Foundation Cultural Center and the Africa Cultural Center
Interested in singing a chanson or learning French? How about watching obscure art films or seeing African dance performed? If so, try visiting one of the cultural centers in Seoul for a change. Cultural centers usually complement foreign embassies in Korea and offer a wide range of programs. “We have different classes for every day of the week,” said Kim So-young, a spokesperson at the French Cultural Center.
In addition to those with longer histories, such as the culture centers from Britain and France, up-and-coming centers, including the Africa Culture Center (opened last June), are getting into the mix. “The [Africa Culture Center] is fairly new, but we are in the midst of developing programs to make African culture more accessible to Koreans,” said Tae Min-kyu, the center’s general manager.
Unlike independent institutions or language programs, most classes held in these centers are free, as many are sponsored by their respective embassy or government. Listed below are a few to start you off.

Istanbul Cultural Center
With its Euro-Asian location, Turkey is where East and West meet and blend to create a unique, rich culture. The region has also been the home of two remarkable civilizations, the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. The Istanbul Cultural Center offers an opportunity to learn about Turkish culture, tradition and history through various programs. Turkish film screenings are offered on the last Saturday of each month, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Films range from popular movies such as “Usak” to documentaries and soap operas. Turkish tea parties are held on the first Saturday of the month. An average of 60 Turkish and Korean participants gather to enjoy tea and discuss the two countries. The event is especially popular among those planning a trip to Turkey. Tea parties are conducted in Korean. However, the times and dates of the tea parties are subject to change, so check with the Istanbul Cultural Center’s office prior to visiting. Both film screenings and tea parties are open to the public free of charge.
(02) 3452-8182, www.turkey.or.kr

The Korea Foundation’s poster for its Journey to Latin America lecture program, which runs until May 29.
French Cultural Center
Cine France, organized by the French Cultural Center, shows French films with Korean subtitles. Cine France is held every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Dongsoong Art Center. Those interested in French culture or movies in general can enjoy the carefully selected films for 6,000 won. Furthermore, the French Cultural Center arranges free activity clubs for those interested in learning to speak French. The book club meets every Tuesday at 7 p.m. to discuss selected literary works. Also, there is a weekly chanson (song) club meeting on Fridays from 7 to 8 p.m. The club activities will allow participants to not only gain insight into French culture but to interact with others who share the same interest.
(02) 317-8500, www.france.or.kr

China Cultural Center in Seoul
The China Cultural Center in Seoul also provides a film-screening program. Every Friday at 2 p.m., the center shows a popular Chinese movie with English subtitles for free. Anyone interested can come and enjoy movies. This week’s screening will be “Two Heroes.”
(02) 733-8307, www.cccseoul.org

Korea Foundation Cultural Center
Established in 1991, the Korea Foundation Cultural Center strives to function as a venue for international cultural exchange. As a part of its various cultural activities, the Korea Foundation Cultural Center has regular film screenings. Selections range from popular modern films to educational or historical documentaries, provided by foreign embassies and representative offices. Recent screenings have included Serbian films that are not easily accessible elsewhere in Korea. Regular screenings take place at 7 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, and 3 p.m. on Saturdays.
(02) 3789-5600, www.kfcenter.or.kr

Africa Cultural Center
Traditional dance is a big part of African cultures. Important events such as weddings, coming-of-age ceremonies, births and harvests are all celebrated with traditional dance. However, with the heavy influence of the West, this tradition is fading out. African governments are now organizing various programs to preserve the traditional culture. Since 2001, the Africa Cultural Center has invited Aaninka, a dance group from the Ivory Coast, to perform and introduce African dance to Korea. The 23 members of Aaninka hold regular performances at the Africa Cultural Center. Ticket prices are 7,000 won for adults, 6,000 won for teenagers and 5,000 won for children. (Weekdays 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. Weekends 11 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m.)
(031) 543-3600, www.africaculturalcenter.com

Israel Culture Center
The Israeli government established diplomatic ties with Korea in 1963. Since then, the two countries have built a friendship through economic and cultural exchanges. The Israel Culture Center was founded in 2000 to strengthen this tie. The center offers a language program that is divided into three levels: basic, intermediate and Bible Hebrew. Aside from language courses, the Israel Culture Center also organizes festivals and exhibitions to introduce Israeli culture and history to Korea. In the past, the Israel Culture Center has invited the Israeli ambassador for special lectures on current social issues in Israel, and organized symposiums on Israeli traditions.
(02) 525-7301, http://www.iscc.co.kr


By Cho Jae-eun Staff Writer / Choi Hae-won Contributing Writer[jainnie@joongang.co.kr]



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