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With the rising popularity of K-pop music and Korean TV Dramas in the U.S., teenagers and young adults are developing a newfound interest in learning the language.

Whether their motive is driven by the hope to fall in love with a member of popular K-pop group BTS or decipher their favorite drama, U.S. citizens have finally found a way to remove the stigma of our resistance to adopt foreign languages.

Korean language centers are becoming more active in the U.S. due to the Korean entertainment industry’s growing dominance over Americans’ preferred television and music.

Jenna Gibson, an employee at The Korea Economic Institute, explains: "This type of centre may attract people who are interested in Korea because of pop culture at first, but they can also expose those students to other parts of Korean studies, including politics, trade, history and more.”

Although the initial reasons for learning a language may be trivial, learners can find themselves immersed in and appreciative of that culture. To be consistent in learning a foreign language calls for one to be motivated by something that is bigger than one’s self.

The opportunity to learn Korean could be available to the students on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s campus if students show their initiative to study it.

Do Kyun David Kim, a Communications Professor at UL Lafayette, expressed his desire to teach his native language to students,.

“We’ve never had enough people interested in my language, so I couldn’t provide a class if no one would be there to show up for it,” Kim said.

Moreover, the Korean class would need a minimum of 15 people to register. The semester the class will be offered in has yet to be determined, however the students’ demand is the major action needed for the course to be approved by the University.

Learning a language is not only rewarding to the one who learns it, but also to the one who is now understood. As humans, we want to focus on what can unite us and not what drives us further apart. Language is imperative for that process.

“Lead with Languages” is a campaign that encourages language learning be a national priority.

“Learning about another culture sheds light on aspects of our own culture — both positive and negative — we may not have previously considered,” Lead with Languages said. “You may find a greater appreciation for what you have, or you may decide to shake things up.”

Not to mention that the U.S. government offers programs such as CLS (Critical Language Scholarship Program) as well as NSLI-Y (The National Security Language Initiative for Youth), which fully funds intensive language learning during the summer semester.

Many students have excelled in obtaining their target language in two months, as opposed to the regular allotted time of one year, and similar opportunities can exist for the students at UL Lafayette.

Students interested in having Korean offered as an official curriculum can email Kim at kimcomm@louisiana.edu.

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