Korean Culture in Cali

S. Korea To Fund Education Program in Irvine

In a global initiative to promote Korean language and culture overseas, the Korean American Center has been selected by S. Korea to establish the Irvine King Sejong Institute. Under S. Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, King Sejong Institute serves adult Korean learners and educators in 57 countries by providing operational support, standardized curriculum, and professional development for teachers. The Korean American Center will be one of nine sites designated in the U.S. and will be collaboratively operated by Busan Foreign Studies University.

Korean teachers and volunteer teacher aids (PRNewsfoto/Korean American Center)

In the rigorous annual selection process, the Korean American Center was one of sixteen sites selected globally and the only site selected in North America in 2018. According to Korean American Center’s, Managing Director, Tammy Kim, “We were selected for this prestigious designation because of the successful implementation of our own Korean language program, which has become one of the largest non-collegiate programs in the U.S. for adult learners. We demonstrated there is a strong demand in the community.”

Kim explained that nearly 75% of the adult learners served are non-Korean and 30% come from outside of Orange County, such as Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardinoand San Diego counties. Many students are interested in learning Korean for professional or business reasons because they work in Korean influenced industries such as online gaming at companies like Blizzard, or they work for local Korean based companies such as Hyundai and Kia. Others are interested because of Korean pop culture, referred to as the ‘Korean Wave.’ “As a King Sejong Institute, we will provide even greater accessibility for those who are interested in Korean language and culture.”

Orange County is home to the second largest Korean population in the U.S. and the county’s fastest growing community. “Through this designation, the wider community will have a pathway to better understand and connect with the Korean community,” said Meg Lee, Chief Instructor for Korean American Center.

The institute will offer beginner and intermediate level Korean language classes beginning in September and will be opened to all adults in the community. For more information, please visit www.KoreanAmericanCenter.org.

About Korean American Center:
Korean American Center, is a nonprofit organization based in Irvine, CA and a division of Korean Community Services (KCS) in Buena Park, Orange County’s oldest nonprofit serving the Korean immigrant community. Combined, KAC and KCS is the county’s largest organization serving the Korean American community.

About King Sejong Institute Foundation:
King Sejong Institute Foundation (KSIF) is a S. Korean public foundation that supports King Sejong Institutes worldwide, a representative brand of  S. Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to promote Korean language in foreign countries. King Sejong Institute Foundation was founded in 2012 in accordance with Clause 2 of Article 19 in the “Framework Act of Korean Language” to manage and oversee the Korean government’s task of globalizing the Korean language and Korean cultural education. There are currently 174 King Sejong Institutes in 57 countries. As a public foundation, it may receive public support and charitable donations. http://www.ksif.or.kr/

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