Taking up the number one and two spots on the Billboard Charts in the U.K. and the U.S. respectively, Korean artist Psy’s ‘Gangam Style’ surprised the world with the ‘Psy phenomenon’ last year. It is no exaggeration to say that the new era of Hallyu (Korean wave) has come.
In the early and mid 2000’s when Hallyu took Japan and China by storm, many critics went on to say that it is just “a mere cultural phenomenon that would not last long.” But the Korean stars that were at the center of Hallyu back in those days are now called ‘first-generation Hallyu stars.’ Today, Hallyu is still going strong not only in Asia but also in the U.S. and Europe, nurturing ‘second-generation Hallyu stars.’
The Hallyu phenomenon, which started with K-dramas and K-pop music, is now expanding into the entire cultural spectrum of Korea. So, the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) and the Kyung Hee University Institute of International Education jointly organized the ‘Fun Korean Language Trip (FKLT)’ program for a fun and easy way to learn Korean language and culture. This is a good opportunity for foreigners who have a high interest in the Korean language and culture but cannot take the time for a long-term course.
Through the FKLT, participants get to learn the Korean language and culture at the Kyung Hee University Institute of International Education while staying at a KTO-certified homestay accommodation for about a week. Read on to learn more about the FKLT program, a week-long program that went by so fast.
Fast track for Korean language beginners
‘Fun Korean Language Trip’
▲ A photo of the Fun Korean Language Trip orientation
On day 1, the program participants gathered at the auditorium of the Institute of International Education at Kyung Hee University. They looked rather puzzled, being unfamiliar with the setting. The orientation, which kicked off with greetings from the organizers, went smoothly in a casual ambiance. Participants were given a detailed explanation of the coming schedule and other useful information.
After the orientation, participants took a placement exam to determine their basic Korean language competence and their respective class levels. The participants’ language skills were as varied as their nationalities. The exam consisted of a speaking and a writing test. When their names were called during the written exam, participants moved to the speaking exam session for a one-on-one dialogue with an evaluator. The dialogue consisted of casual conversation and questions varied depending on the student’s language level.
Though most participants had some command of Korean, those who do not know any Korean at all were given some time to briefly familiarize themselves with the language before taking the test. When the exam was over, some were close to tears saying the exam was too difficult. Though the exam was simple, we could feel how serious the participants were about learning Korean. Nothing compares to passion when it comes to learning. We could feel that they would have a lot to learn over the course of the week.
Kyung Hee University Students
Lending a helping hand and building new friendships
▲ Participants having fun with Kyung Hee University students who served as their study buddies
The opening ceremony took place in the afternoon. Some Kyung Hee University students were there as Korean language buddies for the participants. Each FKLT participant was assigned a Korean student buddy who would be their friend and teacher.
Following the opening address, there was an introduction of the participants, K-pop teachers, K-pop drama teachers, and other program staff. The ceremony ended on a good note with hopes for a successful FKLT.
The participants and their buddies moved to another room to learn more about each other. Afterwards, they assembled outside to take a tour of the school campus. This would be where the FKLT participants would be taking Korean language classes for a week.
The group walked past the main building and the central library to the Grand Peace Hall, a performance center on a hill. Though the weather was hot and the students were sweating, their faces looked bright. They looked like old friends, chatting and laughing whole-heartedly. The campus tour ended at Cheongwoon building, where the school’s convenience facilities are located, and the students said goodbye to each other and looked forward to meeting again the next day.
Liu Yu Shan from China said “My student buddy and I decided to go to a gamjatang restaurant in Hongdae. It sounds delicious.” Others are also busy in making plans with their respective buddies.
If you want to learn Korean fast, learn Korean culture first!
▲ Fun Korean Language Trip class
The FKLT class begins from the time when the participants leave their homestay house to go to class. All homestay accommodations are located within an hour from campus by public transportation. Staying with a Korean family and being exposed to Korean culture and life is also a good way to learn Korean.
The long-awaited first class began. The teacher introduced herself first, followed by the students. Participants who don’t speak Korean had been given some notes in Korean from the teacher to help them introduce themselves briefly.
▲Classes use different teaching methods for better understanding
Genevieve from Singapore said she wanted to learn Korean because she loves the Korean idol group Shinhwa. Questions followed during the introductory class. By introducing themselves, the students not only practiced Korean, but they also learned more about each other. Then, they learned day-to-day vocabulary and various expressions. The students talked about different cultural themes, ranging from food, tourism to tourist sites, fashion, and jjimjilbang (Korean sauna). Then, there was a role play activity where the students were given a partner. The students had fun with the teacher’s active involvement in the role play and those who were reluctant to do the role play in the beginning soon found themselves engaged.
As the days passed, the students became familiar with the Korean classes and showed a high level of concentration and learning ability. In addition to role playing, the FKLT classes included a variety of other programs. Students sang K-pop songs, danced, and reenacted a scene from a K-drama. Video materials were used for better understanding. K-pop and K-drama were very useful as they include many Korean expressions that are widely used in daily life. The students looked excited and they all had fun with the classes.
Learning more during free time
▲Participants are given some free time after class
Being a big fan of Super Junior, Ami ran to a K-pop dance institute right after class. When classes end at 1 p.m. in the afternoon, the students were busy enjoying Korea in their own way. Szeman from Hong Kong said “Korea is a great place for shopping. After class, I usually go shopping in Seoul.” Deng Qui Liang said “I can’t visit other cities because the program is short, but I want to visit many places in Seoul and experience the city.” Chen Jia Ling from Taiwan said, “Unlike other friends, I will stay for a few more days in Seoul after the program so I can do more here. I will go shopping in Myeongdong and go to a JYJ concert.”
The participants’ interests were not limited to K-pop, tourism, and shopping. Many of them were drawn to Korean food. Pan Sopeap from Cambodia has great interest in Korean cuisine even if Korean food is not widely available in his country. He maximized his time in FKLT’s Korean cooking class and traveled to find good Korean food during his free time. Pan Sopeap is also the winner of the Korean speaking contest organized by KTO.
Though the FKLT program only lasted a week, most of the participants were extremely satisfied with the program. The Fun Korean Language Trip, or FKLT, is a fun and easy way to learn about Korea through Korean language classes, homestay arrangements, and cultural exchange with Korean friends.
- Kyung Hee University Institute of International Education in Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul
- ☞2014 Program Schedule
2014 Program Schedule
||Home stay period
||Jan 13 – 17
||Jan 12 - 18
||Jan 20 – 24
||Jan 19 – 25
||Feb 10 – 14
||Feb 9 – 15
||Feb 17 – 21
||Feb 16 – 22
||July 21 – 25
||July 20 – 26
||July 28 – Aug 1
||July 27 – Aug 2
||Aug 4 – 8
||Aug 3 – 9
||Aug 11 - 15
||Aug 10 - 16
- Foreigners interested in Korea (age 18 – 45)
- ☞Participation fee:
- 600,000 won * exclusive of air fare
- ☞How to participate:
- Send an email to the exclusive travel agency with the completed application.
※You may get the application form from the travel agency or download it from the related news article below.
- Plus Planner Agency firstname.lastname@example.org (English)
- Plus Planner Agency +82-2-2238-2895 (English)
- Korea Tourism Organization: http://www.visitkorea.or.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, German, French, Spanish, Russian)
Kyung Hee University: http://www.khu.ac.kr (Korean, English)
Kyung Hee University Institute of International Education: http://www.iie.ac.kr (Korean)
- ☞Related news article:
- 2014 Fun Korean Language Trip Applications Now Open
- ☞1330 Korea Travel Hotline:
- +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
- Tip. Free gifts
- Gift cards, worth 20,000 won for Korean cooking class or Korea pass card, are given to participants of the Fun Korean Language Trip. More detailed information about the free gifts will be discussed during the program orientation.
Photo Credit: Kyung Hee University
Last updated on December 4, 2013