By GaYoung Kim
Translated by SeungYoun Woo
Around 7pm on last Wednesday (28th), a noise of many voices were heard from somewhere in the Building 2 at MIT. Such voices were people saying ‘An-yeong-ha-se-yo’ with some accents. Apparently, these sounds came from a room, filled with people, who are having Korean Language Class, an affiliated program of MIT Korean Graduated Students Association (KGSA). The class is held for free every Wednesday for an hour and a half.
7 years ago, few Korean graduate students of MIT made a decision to make a language class for people who want to learn Korean. They started to offer it for free and it eventually became one of the KGSA’s main programs.
The class, held on last Wednesday, was the first lecture of the 2011 Fall semester. The students were divided into three levels, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. The Beginner was for people who have never experienced Korean language, Advanced was for those who are able to have daily conversation in Korean and Intermediate was for people who have little experience but cannot have a full conversation.
Since it was the first day, the students seemed very passionate to learn. They were asking questions about Korean language that they have been wanted to know previously. Many different kinds of questions were asked, such as what ‘Nam-ru-ha-da’ (means shabby) actually means, how the word spacing works and how inflections change in honorific sentences.
Why are these people so enthusiastic about learning Korean? One of the intermediate students, Fiona, currently attending Boston University, said, “I have a great interest in Korean culture. I think it is because my boyfriend is Korean. Someday, I want to go to Korea and work in a place like Walkerhill Hotel. My ultimate goal for this course is to speak Korean like a native.” Other than this class, she is also having a private tutor to learn Korean in depth.
“I became fond of Korean foods when I started to eat several times with my Korean friends. I want to improve my Korean skill until I can make a complete sentence,” said James, working in a postdoctoral program in chemistry at MIT. He also mentioned about his humorous experience by saying, “when I speak Korean in Korean restaurants, they give me more foods.”
Not only the students, but also the instructors are also passionate about teaching Korean. The instructors are mainly Korean undergraduate and graduate students of MIT, those who volunteered to teach. Although, they have to invest their time every Wednesday, they have been teaching at least for 3 semesters. Seung-yup Hong, a 3rd year PhD student in mechanical engineering, is in charge of the whole program. “I’ve been participating in this course since 2009. I’m proud to hear students speaking in Korean to me, those who didn’t even know any consonant of Korean language at first time. When the 10 weeks of the course ends, we hold Korean food party with the support fund ($400) from KGSA. Then, we also watch Korean dramas all together. I think this is why I still enjoy managing this,” said Hong.
It is easy to register for the MIT Korean Language Class. There is not any application to fill out. Students just have to pick a class by their levels and arrive at the class time. This makes all people to experience Korean language easily and comfortably.
More information about the program, textbooks and levels of the course are on the website. (http://sites.google.com/site/mitkoreanclass/)
ⓒ 보스톤코리아(http://www.bostonkorea.com), 무단전재 및 재배포 금지