Body of the review

We live in a diverse world, where being multilingual is a valuable skill to possess. The possibility of learning a second language involves more than the basics of language. It allows you to fully immerse yourself in a new culture and helps you understand specific cultural aspects like food, religious beliefs, daily activities and more.

The Korean Center-King Sejong Institute, or KC-KSI, of the Office of International Programs recognizes the importance of learning a second language and has offered non-credit language instruction to the Auburn-Opelika community for nearly 10 years. In 2020, things suddenly changed when they were forced to move their classes online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this change ultimately provided KC-KSI with an edge in reaching more people, both locally and globally.

“The presence of digital advertising and the convenience of online language learning has finally increased the number of students enrolled, and we now welcome students from all over the world,” said Ellie Lee, director of academic programs at Korea. Center-King Sejong Institute. “Having a bigger social media presence has specifically boosted our audience and engagement, which has led to more people signing up for our courses.”

Switching to online education has been beneficial for many reasons, and for one family, the lessons have not only proven useful in learning a new language, but also in strengthening their family bond. Kim Spoor and her two daughters, Kate and Maddie, first became interested in learning the Korean language when they were forced to isolate themselves at home during the pandemic. Around this time, the Spoor family started watching the Korean drama “Love Alarm” on Netflix. Soon after, the whole family became fascinated with watching Korean dramas and listening to K-pop music.

In the spring of 2021, Kate saw a flyer for KC-KSI’s Korean classes offered during the summer and gathered her mother and sister to join them. Although the Spoor family knew it would take a lot of time and effort, they signed up for the level one course and started learning the language together. The class lasted 15 weeks for 45 hours in total. To pass the course, students had to have an attendance of 70% and a score above 60% on their final assessment.

“Studying the Korean language really opened up a whole new world for us,” Kim Spoor said. “We now have a better understanding and appreciation of Korean culture, and it’s so exciting to hear and understand the Korean language.”

The family encourages others to take Korean lessons and have even shared what they learned with their American friends. They plan to travel to South Korea in 2023 to finally put their newfound skills to the test.

The KC-KSI currently offers eight regular language courses to participants from all over the world. In fact, with the transition to online teaching, the institute has 121 students enrolled this semester, including 10 students from Ecuador and three students from Canada. The institute strongly encourages everyone to try the classes regardless of age, nationality or skill level.

Each course is designed to help the student appreciate Korean language and culture through interactive and immersive experiences. In addition to the eight language courses, KC-KSI also offers four conversation courses which are recommended to be taken after passing class levels one and two. Whether you’re looking for a career move, a new hobby, or something to do in your spare time, learning a new language can open up many professional and personal opportunities.

Registration for the KC-KSI summer 2022 language courses will open in May. For any questions, send an e-mail [email protected].

To know more about Korea Center-King Sejong Institute and its courses and events throughout the year, visit the International Programs Office website.