Why Study Korean?

Night life in Seoul, Korea
Image Credit: Flickr.com/Philipe Teuwen

Today, Korean has become a prominent language in international affairs and global commerce. Korea is located on the Korean peninsula in North-East Asia. Korean is the native language for about 72 million people on the Korean peninsula and about 5 million more ethnic Koreans living in foreign countries including China, Japan, North American, and the former Soviet Union. Korean ranks the 11th in the world in number of speakers among more than 3,000 languages.

The economy of Korean is the 4th largest in Asia, and its market economy is ranked 12th by GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in 2017. Moreover, 15 Korean companies, including Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor, and LG Electronics, are listed in the Fortune Global 500 in 2017.

Politically, Korean peninsula remains divided into two distinct sovereign states by the Korean Demilitarized Zone, which is the border between the two Koreas. The ongoing tension between the two countries has received international attention for many years. In February 2018, however, the PyeongChang Winter Olympics has led to an apparent warming in relations between North and South Korea, generating hope of reduced geopolitical tension on the peninsula.

Recent global explosion in the popularity of Korean cultural products including K-pop, K-drama, variety shows, films, and webtoons, the so-called Korean Wave, also makes Korean one of the most interesting languages to learn today.

Career Opportunities

The Korean program and the Center for International Education provide students opportunities of teaching English as a foreign language in Korea (English Program in Korea and Teach and Learn in Korea) which are affiliated with the Korean Ministry of Education. Moreover, we encourage students to pursue the Korean Studies Minor and the Asian Studies Certificate.