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Students practice calligraphy as a cocurricular activity in the School of Korean. Photo by Daniel Namkung.

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School of Korean Opens

July 3, 2015

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Middlebury’s 11th summer language school, the School of Korean, opened in June 2015 and is off to a fast start on the campus of Mills College in Oakland, Calif.

The School of Korean’s director, Sahie Kang, said the first weeks of establishing a new school were “extremely busy, but having well-selected students and a multi-talented and highly qualified group of faculty members were the keys to our success.”

The school opened on June 12 on the Mills campus (where Middlebury’s Arabic and Italian Schools are also located this summer) with 28 students selected from a field of 80 applicants for an eight-week intensive experience in Korean language and culture.

Kang and her faculty colleagues are impressed with the motivation level of the students. “Our students had been waiting for this type of Korean program and were very excited to have this opportunity. And although I have many motivated students at my home institution [the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif.], the Middlebury School of Korean students’ motivations are amazingly high, intrinsic, and pure.”

The first-year director was pleased to see the students taking the Language Pledge so seriously. “Even our Level 1 students are striving to stay in the language 24 hours a day by using a variety of strategies. It is so rewarding to see the upper-level students helping the lower-level students learn new vocabulary and use the language, such as at meal times when all of the students are together.”

Students and faculty are in class together four hours a day, five days a week, and students are expected to spend several hours each day preparing for the next day’s lessons. In addition, students in the School of Korean stay in language by participating in cocurricular activities such as taekwondo (martial arts), samulnori (Korean drumming), calligraphy, soccer, hiking, a capella, readers’ theatre, and cooking.

The school’s first guest lecturer was Dongman Han, the Republic of Korea’s consul general in San Francisco, who spoke about the relationship between his country and the United States, and about South Korea’s relations with China, Japan, and North Korea. The consul general has invited the entire school to meet him in San Francisco later this month where he will give a second lecture on Korean foreign affairs and host a Korean buffet meal.

The School of Korean’s proximity to the Bay Area’s sizeable Korean community has been a boon to authenticity of the summer immersion experience, said Director Kang. “Our cooking club visits the nearby Korean market in Oakland every Wednesday, and we have field trips coming soon to the Asian Museum in San Francisco and to a huge K-Pop singing and dancing event.”

Founded in 1915, the Middlebury Language Schools is celebrating its 100th anniversary this summer with a series of public events July 10-20. The Language Schools offer language instruction from beginning to advanced levels in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

2 Comments

This endeavor is so exciting. With the combined commitment of Middlebury and my daughter, the results should be even more exciting. Language immersion, whether domestic or international, is the only way to become competent and/or fluent.

by F C Stanford (not verified)

I'm thrilled to hear that this program is off to a good start. My three summers in the German School long ago were among the best experiences of my life. I was adopted from South Korea and would love the opportunity to learn the language and about Korean culture. Unfortunately it's inconceivable to find eight free weeks now that I work full time... perhaps one day. Bravo to Middlebury Language Schools for launching this important initiative.

by Jimmy Byrne (not verified)

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