University of Sheffield becomes first in Britain with 'Learn! Korean with BTS' curriculum

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University of Sheffield becomes first in Britain with 'Learn! Korean with BTS' curriculum

Textbooks for “Learn! Korean with BTS,” a Korean curriculum featuring K-pop boy band BTS. [KOREA FOUNDATION]

Textbooks for “Learn! Korean with BTS,” a Korean curriculum featuring K-pop boy band BTS. [KOREA FOUNDATION]

 
The University of Sheffield is the first British university to adopt “Learn! Korean with BTS,” a Korean curriculum featuring K-pop boy band BTS, according the Korea Foundation on Thursday.
 
The university's online Korean classes using the curriculum are a hit among its students, some of which are showing off their textbooks featuring BTS on social media.
 
The University of Sheffield is considered to one of Britain's most prestigious universities. The university has offered degrees in Korean Studies for four decades, and started offering online Korean classes under the “Learn! Korean with BTS" curriculum this spring semester.  
 
The school initially planned to open only one class for the program, as its campus remained closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the high number of applicants led the university to expand the program, opening three classes.
 
Students who received textbooks for “Learn! Korean with BTS,” which also features BTS members, posted photos of their textbooks on social media, which contributed to the class’s popularity.  
 
“Graduate and doctorate students attend this class, not to mention undergraduates. Some medical students who are training in hospitals make time and stop by; that’s how eager they are to learn [Korean],” said Lee Se-ri, a Korean language teacher at the University of Sheffield. Around 130 students are currently majoring in Korean Studies at the university, and the major is recently seeing more new students than Japanese Studies or Chinese Studies.  
 
Students at the University of Sheffield taking online Korean lessons using the ″Learn! Korean with BTS″ curriculum. [KOREA FOUNDATION]

Students at the University of Sheffield taking online Korean lessons using the ″Learn! Korean with BTS″ curriculum. [KOREA FOUNDATION]

 
“Learn! Korean with BTS” was developed in 2020 by the Korea Foundation in collaboration with Big Hit Edu,
which was formed by BTS’s label Big Hit Entertainment and Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.
 
So far, Middlebury College in the United States, École Normale Supérieure and Edhec Business School in France, Ain Shams University in Egypt, Hanoi National University of Foreign Studies and Thang Long University in Vietnam are using the “Learn! Korean with BTS” curriculum to teach Korean. 
 
The Korea Foundation is also behind “KF Global e-School," a program which for the past decade has let overseas universities watch Korean universities' lectures in real-time or as video-on-demand.
 
“Approximately 32,000 people around the world have learned Korean through ‘KF Global e-School’ lectures, and the number of students have increased explosively thanks to ‘Learn! Korean with BTS’,” said President Lee Geun of the Korea Foundation.  
 
“It’s very encouraging that the interest in K-pop and Korean culture is leading people to learn Korean and about Korea.”
 
KF is planning to expand “Learn! Korean with BTS” to 11 more universities in eight countries including the United States, Japan, and Vietnam this year.
 
BY HALEY YANG   [yang.hyunjoo@joongang.co.kr]
 
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