More French Students Embrace Korean Courses

      April 09, 2018 11:32

      More and more French university students are applying to Korean studies departments.

      The number of applicants at exceeded 1,000 at both Université Paris-Diderot (Paris-VII University) and Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, the two universities in Paris that have Korean departments.

      Last September, 1,056 students applied to Paris-VII University's Korean Studies Department, which only has a quota of about 100, while 1,014 applied at INLCO, which has a quota of 150. 

      The competition is even fiercer for the new academic year that starts this September. College applications data show that 1,412 and 1,360 students applied to the two.

      "The recent popularity of Korean studies is surprising since fewer than 800 students applied before 2016," an admissions officer said.

      Across France, four universities have Korean departments including Université Jean-Moulin-Lyon-III and Université de La Rochelle, which got 667 and 493 application or a competition ratio of 10 to 1. 

      Students practice speaking Korean at Paris-VII University on March 21.

      The reason seems to be K-pop. A 22-year-old freshman at Paris-VII University said, "I enrolled in the Korean department because I was fascinated by Korean food and K-pop. The subjects are difficult but interesting."

      Prof. Marie-Orange Rivé-Lasan of Paris-VII University said, "The number of applicants is increasing due to the limited number of places where students can learn Korean properly despite the increasing interest in the country."

      The French Education Ministry is moving fast to respond, increasing the quota of the Korean department at Paris-VII to 130 in September and boosting the number of professors there from six to eight.

      It will also open Korean departments at Université de Provence Aix-en-Provence and Université de Bordeaux in September.

      "Korean studies was taught for a long time merely as a course in the Japanese department of this university," said Prof. Kim Dae-yeol at INLCO, but now they're so popular that we've had our own department since 2016." 

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