October 28, 2009 09:17
Prince of Songkla University, the most prestigious university in southern Thailand about 1,100km south of Bangkok, has become the center of Korean language education. Twelve universities across Thailand teach Korean.
Thailand's first Korean language course opened at the university in 1986, and the Korean language department was opened formally in 1999.
For the past decade, 148 graduates majored and 158 minored in Korean at the school, 26 of them since becoming Korean language instructors at various universities in Thailand.
Prof. Jung Hwan-seung (51) of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, who teaches Korean at Songkla University, says, "Seventy percent of 40 Korean language instructors in Thailand are graduates of this university."
Two Korean academics, Jung and Kim Kyu-sik (44), turned Prince of Songkla's Pattani Campus into a Korean language education mecca in the country. They had finished MA and PhD programs at the university and made Pattani their second home.
This university has as many as 36 Korean language courses, including reading, writing, grammar and essay.
"At first, the department was not so popular," Kim recalls. "But it has become the most popular department at the school because all of its graduates found jobs after graduation amid expanded exchange with Korea and the rising Korean pop culture boom." Korean language programs at Songkla University are spilling over to nearby middle and high schools.
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