Korean Studies, also referred to as Koreanology is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of Korea including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea and the Korean diaspora. The areas most commonly covered under the Korean Studies include Korean culture, Korean history, Korean art, Korean music, Korean linguistics and language, Korean politics, Korean sociology and anthropology, Korean folklore, Korean ethnomusicology, Korean politics as well as an increasing study of Korean pop culture.
Korean studies can be compared to American Studies or Chinese Studies and help the learners develop a comprehensive understanding of Korea in the global context. Usually, all the courses are taught by native Korean speakers, and the instructions are always super interactive. Sometimes, the Korean studies are included in the broader regional focus such as Asian Studies or East Asian studies.
People started using the term Korean studies in the 1940s but it was not until 1970s when South Korea rose to economic prominence that it attained widespread currency. The South Korean government would then launch the Korea Foundation in the 1940s to help promote Korean studies across the world. The foundation’s mission was to promote a much better understanding of Korea within the international community, as well as strengthening goodwill and friendship between Korea and the entire world by several exchange programs.
Initially, Korean studies as an area of study were undertaken by non-Koreans. In the mid-2000s, Korean universities pushed for more classes to use English as the language of delivery. This necessitated the hiring of foreign-trained Koreans to teach the classes. Currently, there are graduate school programs up to MA level in Korean Studies.
Why Study Korean Studies in China?
Currently, there are a lot of opportunities for Korean Studies graduates, and just the ability to speak and write in Korean is such a huge asset in the Asian markets. Korean studies graduates are increasingly sought after in many management and professional careers both in public and business sectors and especially in positions where cultural and language expertise is necessary. For instance, in China, the graduates go into big-companies, banks, work with the Chinese government while others go to graduate schools.
There is a significantly growing demand for intensive study of economic, political and security issues regarding the Korean Peninsula. Korea is increasingly becoming a leading trading partner with most of the Asian countries and the world at large, and when you attain proficiency, you increase your chances of attaining a good position at an international corporation. Most Korean studies graduates are employed in tourism, the public sector, cultural organisations, media industries, NGOs, and academia.
Korean Studies enable you to get an in depth- understanding of Korea’s modern domestic politics, history and economics as well as its foreign policy relations with the US and the neighbouring nations. You will also be provided with an opportunity to understand the strategic environment that North and South Korea face in both regional and global contexts. Passing a Korean proficiency test before graduating is a necessity hence Korean language courses are offered every semester.
Advantages of Choosing Korean Studies in China
- It will provide you with an opportunity to access a huge network of international academics who have specialised in Korean Studies and have handled so many students from all over the world studying Korean studies.
- There is such a strong relationship between the universities in China and Korea and there is always exchange programs rolling.
- There is so much to learn from internationally renowned experts in the universities in China offering Korean courses. They have done so much research on the cultural and societal issues in pre-modern and modern Korea.
- The centres for Korean studies focus on the small-scale programs and provide one-on-one attention to students as well as creating an environment where the students and staff regularly and informally interact.
Korean Studies Programmes
The main objective of Korean Studies undergraduate programs is to enable the participants to achieve a high level of the Korean language proficiency as well as providing the students with a sound knowledge of Korea within the interdisciplinary framework of Area Studies to enable them to discuss Korean matters in an analytic and critical fashion. To obtain a major in Korean Studies, you must handle the following three prerequisite courses- KORE1001, KORE1002 and kORE1021. To be declared to have attained a major, you must obtain at least a C in KORE1002 and a total of 54 credits in subsequent years.
A minor enables the students to have a good command of the four distinct language skills including listening, speaking, writing and reading. A minor in Korean studies will enable the students to attain a profound understanding of the core issues relating to Korea’s history, development and culture. One qualifies for a Minor in Korean Studies if they completely finish the junior year prerequisite courses- KORE1001 and KORE 1002 and 24 credits in the following years.
The main aims of Korean Studies at the master’s level is to build the students’ capability at least in modern Korean for research purposes, acquaint them with a myriad of the most important classical texts from Korean history as well as modern Korean translations. They also enable the students to comprehend and put to use a wide range of classical references plus histographical and linguistic research methods for treatment of primary sources, as well as allowing them to engage in specialised study picking from so many options and exercising the newly acquired skills.
Where to Study Korean Studies in China?
There are a good number of places where somebody can study Korean Studies, including the Center for Korean Studies at Peking University, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, the University of Hong Kong and Department of Korean Studies, Beijing Foreign Studies University among much more. So many universities in China offer foreign studies, and Korean Studies are among the highly competitive in the region.
The Centers for Korean Studies in China focuses on enhancing quality and performance regarding delivering quality content in Korean Studies as well as developing balance and comprehensive programmes related to Korea. There is so much research and publications on Korea being done and also the expansion of the Korean studies audience through films, colloquia, cultural events and lecture. Also, a good number of conferences and exchange programs are organised so as to shed more light on the crucial periods and relationships in Korean history. Additionally, they offer an integrated understanding of modern Korean society.