October 16, 2017 08:40
The language of the ancient Romans has become an unlikely fad among parents in Seoul's glitzy Gangnam district, perhaps because they feel their kids will have an advantage at university if they read and write Latin.
One crammer offers a course from beginner to advanced consisting of two-hour classes once a week for a hefty W500,000 a month (US$1=W1,130).
"The class costs twice as much as an English conversation class, but all 30 seats usually sell out almost instantly," a staffer said.
Most of the students who applied for the classes were preparing for the SAT, the American college-entrance test. About a dozen crammers in Gangnam and Seocho teach Latin.
Many Korean students are studying Latin to appeal to U.S. university admissions officers. The number of people who have some mastery of Latin has been steadily declining in the U.S., prompting Harvard and other ivory league American universities to announce that knowing the language will boost applicants' chances.
Latin has also caught on in many U.S. high schools recently, causing a shortage of teachers specializing in the language. There are even elementary and middle school students who learn Latin in the belief that familiarity with the root of many English words can help them master the modern language.
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