Interview by Hasmik Koshkaryan
Translated and edited by Anush Muradyan

Photo from the Internet
2020-07-05 19:38
LEARNING KOREAN LANGUAGE IS NOW POSSIBLE IN ARMENIA
After long-lasting struggles, a branch of the King Sejong Institute was opened in Yerevan.

The King Sejong Institute is a famous school in Korea focused at spreading Korean culture and language all over the world. To be able to open a branch in any country requires many battles. The Institute in Armenia will operate starting from this September, in the Yerevan Brusov State University of Languages and Social Sciences.

We interviewed Shushan Khatayan, a professor in the Korean Language department of the Brusov State University and the King Sejong Institute. We talked about the demand of the Korean language in Armenia, the benefits of knowing this language, as well as the newly opened school.

Shortage of time is no longer an obstacle for learning a new language.

We had applied (for opening a branch) three times, and it failed every time. Our fourth attempt succeeded, and finally we were able to open the branch in Armenia. In fact, the Korean party has many-many requirements. I cannot put my finger on what exactly failed during the previous attempts; probably they were making their decision based on the level of popularity of Korean language and culture, on people’s interest, and, perhaps they did not see that interest the previous years.

And this year they saw that interest. The Embassy of Korea in Moscow also supported us in opening the King Sejong Institute branch, they gave us a reference letter. The King Sejong Institute is a professional language school operating in around 60 countries. People who had a shortage of time and did not manage to take private lessons, now have an opportunity not only to learn the language in the evening, but also to study the Korean culture and sports. The courses will be set not only for beginners, but also for those who aim at intermediate level. The certificate from the King Sejong Institute will state that the student mastered the necessary level of Korean which allows working and operating in Korean.

The study methods will be slightly different from those we are used to.

The courses will be taught with textbooks printed in the King Sejong Institute, and the professors themselves will have taken training beforehand. We will do everything to make the learning process more interesting and efficient. Watching various videos and Korean drama films will be included in the lesson curriculum. We will invite different specialists for special courses. Thus, the study process will slightly differ from that of the universities which we are used to, however, undoubtedly, the traditional study methods will also be implemented - the students will receive the required language skills and will utilize the knowledge they collect in diverse fields.

Drama films as a source of interest towards Korean language

Our society has considerable interest towards the Korean language. In 2008, when I started learning Korean myself, there was no such interest. Whereas now, particularly within the past five years, a great desire to learn the language is expressed, and the reason is the Korean drama film. People start watching the films, listen to the Korean music, fall in love with the singers and actors, and a desire to be able to watch the film or listen to the song in the original language and to comprehend arises.

There is a shortage of Korean-speaking tour-guides.

Recently, the Koreans have shown great interest towards our region, too. During past years we received multiple Korean tourists, and we saw a shortage of Korean-speaking tour-guides. The Koreans do not tend to learn foreign languages, they do not master English too well, and they are flattered when they are talked to in their own language. Consequently, by learning Korean, great opportunities to find jobs and advancing in the tourism field will arise.

Besides, Korean businessmen are very interested in Armenia, too. In the past two years, conferences have been organized for representatives of the business world for them to present their product in Armenia, as well as to get to know the Armenian businessmen and try to realize joint projects. Unquestionably, with the increase of business partnerships, the demand of Korean-speakers will also grow.

The Korean alphabet can be learned within one morning.

At a first glance, Korean seems a difficult language to learn. Some even say it is the same as Chinese, however, the Korean characters are not hieroglyphics, but letters. The alphabet is called “Hangul”, and it translates into “a writing for the morning”, because it is so simple that can be learned within one morning. Korean differs from other languages a lot, but it is simple to learn, especially if you like this language.

 

The King Sejong Institute lessons in Brusov State University will begin in September. Shushan Khatayan hopes that the classes will not be held remotely, still she believes that, even in that case, the quality of the knowledge they provide will not suffer.