1st Korean Immersion Academy Opens in Minnesota

      October 11, 2014 08:43

      Sejong Academy, the first Korean language and culture immersion school in Minnesota, opened in September amid growing popularity of the Korean culture in the U.S. The school in Saint Paul teaches kindergarten to sixth grade and already admitted its first group of 63 students.

      Grace Lee, board chair of the academy, said she eagerly wanted to start a school where students can learn the Korean language and culture. Since 2007 she dedicated herself to opening the academy and her efforts have finally paid off.

      Despite what people might think, Korean Americans do not account for the majority of the students. In fact, refugees from Burma make up 64 percent, followed by Koreans and other Asians (20 percent), African Americans (5 percent) and Caucasians (3 percent).

      Students bow in Korean style as class begins at Sejong Academy in Minnesota.

      Similar schools can easily be found in California, which has a large population of Korean Americans. Minnesota respects diversity and has a community of adopted children, including over 10,000 adoptees from Korea.

      A mother, who adopted a Korean child, said that she selected the academy because she thought it would be better for her child to learn Korean in case the child wants to return to her birth country.

      Demand for the language is also on the rise as Korea is drawing attention with its economy and popular culture, said Brad Tipka, executive director of the school. He added that speaking Korean and understanding its culture will be a great asset for those who want to lead the world in the future.

      Tipka taught English at Donga University in Busan in 1996 and Seoul National University of Science and Technology in 2002. Another parent of two children that attend the school, said as Korea is one of the leading players in the world economy, learning the language will help them a lot in the future.

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