Cultural centers offering free Korean lessonsSubversive comics from the Czech Republic, paintings from Bulgaria, dramatic dances from Vietnam and films from all over the world ― all just a few of the exotic displays that have been shown at the Korea Foundation Cultural Center since it opened in June.
But in addition to bringing cultural works to Korea, the center also encourages foreigners to integrate into Korean society, which is why the center also offers free monthly Korean language classes, help in the evening.
“There are a lot of foreigners who want to learn Korean but don’t have the chance,” said Kim Young-suk, the program organizer. “Usually private schools are very expensive or [foreigners] don’t have time, so we opened the class.”
Classes are divided into five different levels, all of which operate on a monthly basis. New applicants can be admitted until the 10th of each month. In addition to language training, students experience Korean cultural traditions first-hand. This month, students will learn the Korean mask dance. Next month, the classes will take a field trip to make kimchi.
Korea Foundation classes aren’t the only option for foreigners on a budget. Those who prefer more personal learning can go to I-House, near Ewha Womans University, and arrange to have a volunteer tutor.
“[The teaching is of] better quality, because the teacher can focus on your needs. You can set your own curriculum,” said Casper Claassen, an I-House student from South Africa. All of I-House’s Korean teachers also study different languages at the school, which offers six other languages.
by Ben Applegate
The Korea Foundation Cultural Center (www.kfcenter.or.kr/eng), in the JoongAng Ilbo building (City Hall station, exit 9), offers classes three times a week from 7 to 9 p.m. I-House offers afternoon classes on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Take exit 2 from Ewha Womans Univ. station, walk north and turn left at Mr. Sushi. The door is next to Calvin Klein Jeans, on the left. For details call (02) 393-2246.