May 15, 2018 13:02
An increasing number of older Koreans are going abroad for language classes to broaden their horizons and spend some quality time in another country.
A staffer at an overseas education agency in Seoul said her recent clients have included a couple in their 50s who studied English in the U.K. for nine months last year and were very satisfied. She has just sent off another woman in her 50s to the U.K.
With surging demand, some programs are specially tailored for seniors. Popular destinations include Australia, the U.K., Canada, New Zealand and the U.S., but also pleasantly warm or exotic countries like Fiji, Malta and the Philippines where English is almost a first language.
"The programs are popular among middle-aged people as they can enjoy activities like golf, tennis and horse-riding after school," the staffer said.
Many of them want to learn something to do volunteer work after retirement or take long trips.
Kim Jae-nam (61) from Seoul plans to take an English-language course in the U.S. with his wife this summer. "I want to enjoy my later years, traveling with my wife after retirement," Kim said.
"These days, people in their 50s and 60s are good at using smartphones and browsing the web," said Prof. Koo Jung-woo, at Sungkyunkwan University. "As they can get information more easily, they're not afraid of long-term stays overseas anymore."
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