[Korea Beyond Korea] In Paris, soaring demand for Korean studies yet to be fully met

과학 2023-12-03 12:02:06 18

PARIS -- Professors speaking only Korean during lectures, notices on bulletin boards with the schedule of upcoming Korean language proficiency tests and celebrating the end of the academic term with rolls of gimbap.

This is daily life for students majoring in Korean studies in Paris.

The Korea Herald visited two universities in Paris reputed for offering credible and rounded Korean studies programs -- Paris Cite University and the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations, also known as Inalco. Students here pursue bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in Korean studies.

At the two universities located nearby each other, some 100 students, chosen from a pool of more than 2,000 applicants annually, spend years perfecting their knowledge of Korean history, language and arts.

They were among the earliest college institutions to offer Korean studies in Europe. But now, they have come to a critical point where systemic changes are needed for further growth, professors say.

Recent boom

The birth of Paris Cite University’s Korean studies course goes back to the 1970s. The program is one of the oldest in Europe and has since expanded in terms of the number of faculty and students, alongside the subjects it covers.

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