Asian influence at GV increases with addition of Korean language classes

Anya Zentmeyer

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Starting next fall 2010, Grand Valley State University will introduce new Korean language courses aimed at promoting more academic, social and cultural development for students.

GVSU will benefit by offering a Korean language courses because it will help to broaden GVSU’s respect for and appreciation of history, tradition and culture of different ethnic groups,” said Lisa Bol, student advocate. “Korean culture, language, food and people are unique. There is more to Asia than China and Japan. Furthermore, North and South Korea have become quite important in world affairs and will continue to be influential.”

Even with the establishment of the Korean Intercultural Society, a Discovery Korea event and the enrollment of 18 Korean international and exchange students and 11 Korean professors, Bol noticed a consensus among students that there was a lack of Asian languages represented at GVSU; so a few GVSU students implemented the petition of Korean language classes.

Anne Caillaud, chair of the department of Modern Language and Literatures, took the effort of the students to heart.

“I have to say that I am impressed with the students who started this process,” Caillaud said. “They are highly committed and have been very efficient in providing all necessary information to make this possible.”

Caillaud added although GVSU has offered Chinese and Japanese for a number of years, this is the first time a real initiative has been made toward a Korean Language. Should the Korean language prove popular among the students, the program has the potential to grow.

“Should there be continued interest, we will offer a second- and third-semester language course in KOR so students can complete their B.A. language requirement in the language,” Caillaud said.

Statistics professor Soon Hong, advisor of the Korean Intercultural Society, thinks the development of another Asian language would provide a means to further the ever-growing issue of globalization.

“The Padnos International Center has been developing many different programs to help make global connections,” Hong said. “When you know a few words in other people’s language, you can make friends with them right away. So I would say that learning a foreign language may be the first step for the globalization”

Korean courses will be offered as a special topics course under KOR 180, the equivalent of 101, in fall 2010 on the Allendale campus.

“Learning other people’s culture comes along with learning language,” Hong said. “The world will be more peaceful by understanding other people.”

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