Why Learn Korean?

Whether your interest in Korean begins with Korea's rich culture, its prominent international companies, or the importance of Korea on today's political stage, a command of the Korean language is essential to successfully navigate any and all things Korean. The Korean program at Miami University offers multiple levels of instruction, based on a teaching program developed at the University of Hawaii and used at institutions if higher education across the nation. Beyond the satisfaction of learning a foreign language, an interest in and study of the Korean language can open job opportunities, earn scholarships, and allow you to study abroad. Gain greater insight into a small country that has gained status as a world player ,famous for its businesses (Hyundai, Samsung) culture and art (K-Pop, K-Dramas), and so much more!

A Brief History of Korea*

Evidence for inhabitance of the Korean Peninsula has been found back to the Paleolithic Age, with agriculture developing during the Bronze Age, or around 800 BCE. The rise of agriculture led to the development of Gojoseon, Korea's first nation-state. The period following the development of Gojoseon was characterized by wars between different factions and dynasties, which settled into a tentative stability known as the "Three Kingdoms" period, from 57 to approximately 1000AB. The Three Kingdoms would eventually be untiled by the Goryeo Dynasty, which was characterized by flourishing culture, a code of law and a system of civil service. A coup against this dynasty would lead to the Joseion Dynasty, which would span from 1392 to 1910AD; early in the 15th century, the Korean alphabet was created.

The Joseon dynasty ended with the invasion of Korea by Japan in 1910, and Korea would not regain independence and its current borders until after the end of World War II.

Since the end of WWII, South Korea has developed from a third-world country to a first-world global powerhouse in the span of just over half a century. This impressive economic and social development has led to South Korea's being named as of the the "Asian Tiger" economies, a term for East Asian countries that have experienced rapid and sustained economic development. Today, South Korea stands as one of the world leaders in the globalization movement, with both industry and culture becoming a valued export.

North Korea, though it has not experienced the same economic growth as the South, still remains highly relevant to today's global political landsape With recent changes in the North Korean political structure, and with no certain resolution of the tensions between North and South in sight, global citizens with a command of the Korean language are as important as ever.

*Source: KBS World