The program is organized by the Faculty of Croatian Studies, University of Zagreb in cooperation with Chung-Ang University in Seoul and the King Sejong Institute Foundation in Seoul. The course is led by lecturer EunGyeong Kim from Seoul, and administrative support is provided by Lina Seonghyun Kwon, a graduate student in croatology.
The course of Korean culture and language began on Monday, September 14, 2020 at the Borongaj Campus at the Faculty of Croatian Studies, University of Zagreb. 96 students applied, which is beyond all expectations, and they will attend classes four hours a week for free for the next 16 weeks. The enrollment quota was filled in a record time in just five days. The students showed the greatest interest, 79 of them are attending the course. Most of them are from the University of Zagreb: from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Law, the School of Medicine, the Faculty of Political Science and the Faculty of Croatian Studies. Also 13 employees and 4 high school students enrolled the course.
Dean of the Faculty of Croatian Studies, Prof Pavo Barišić welcomed the lecturer EunGyeong Kim and the course participants. He expressed satisfaction that the Republic of Croatia received the first King Sejong Institute and thus became a member of a large international network. The King Sejong Institute Foundation has opened its institutes in 76 countries, of which 26 in European countries. More than 120 universities and institutions around the world applied this year for the establishment of the King Sejong Institute, but only 34 were selected, one of which was the Zagreb King Sejong Institute. This is a great honor for the Faculty of Croatian Studies. The dean said Korean culture and language will be taught for at least three years, and if interest continues to be high it will continue in the future.
The first course lasts until December 28, 2020, and will take place in three groups having four school hours per week: Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Wednesdays and Fridays from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Upon completion of the course, participants will receive a certificate from the King Sejong Institute, which can be used as a proof of Korean language proficiency when applying for a residence visa of Korea.
Sejong Zagreb on Korean TV show- click to open youtube
Winter ceremony - click to open photo gallery
Ceremony of the completion of the language course of the Centre for Korean Language and Culture
With the end of the summer semester and the academic year 2020/2021, the academic year at the newly opened Sejong Korean Language and Culture Learning Centre ended as well. All our students have successfully passed the final exam and had the opportunity to attend the graduation ceremony for their amazing efforts and achievements.
Instead of simply handing out graduation diplomas, the Institute decided to provide its students with an unforgettable ceremony to encourage them to continue learning the Korean language and further achieve excellent academic success. The said ceremony took place this summer at the Esplanade Hotel on June 26 at 6pm while abiding to COVID-19 regulatory measures. Upon their arrival, each student was presented with a ceremonial Sejong hat and robe. After putting them on, they could head to the magnificent Emerald Hall of the Esplanade Hotel.
Before the start of the ceremony, guests could see a short video about day trip to National Park Plitvice Lakes and a painting competition that was held there. You can read more about it here.
After the video, the Dean of the Faculty of Croatian Studies, Prof Stjepan Ćosić came to the podium. Mr. Ćosić first thanked all the students present and expressed his gratitude to the Korean lecturer EunGyeong Kim and her associate Lina Seonghyun Kwon. The Dean further expressed great satisfaction with the academic results of Sejong’s students and expressed support for the Institute in the following semesters. He also announced further cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea and its associates. He especially thanked the Korean ambassador for his friendly cooperation and support before he gave him the main word.
Immediately upon receiving the microphone, Ambassador Dong-chan Kim expressed his delight at the students’ turnout and their success at learning Korean language. As the representative of the Republic of Korea in Croatia, he admitted that the Embassy did not expect such turnout for the Korean Language and Culture course and conveyed pride in the excellent results achieved by the students despite the ongoing coronavirus situation. He wants students to continue to show interest in Korea, its culture, language and customs and hopes for continued cooperation between the Embassy and the Institute with the University of Zagreb and other Croatian institutions. He jokingly wished an end to COVID-19so that the Embassy and the Institute could organize future events and gatherings with students.
Another special guest of the ceremony stepped on the podium after Mr. Kim. It was the respected Rev. Anđelko Katanec. Reverend Katanec spoke in Korean for a bit to proudly show his knowledge of the language he’s been learning for 15 years. He is happy that students today have access to quality sources for learning Korean, something that he did not have when he started on the same feat. He is grateful that those who are interested in Korea finally have help on their path to learning Korean language and he’s convinced that the interest in Korean language and culture will continue to grow even more.
During the ceremony, students could also hear the discussion about the international scholarship of the Republic of Korea in which the main word was led by this year’s scholarship winner, a student named Lara Alhaj. As a winner of the scholarship, Lara thoroughly described her experience to the students and explained to them what it took to apply for GKS through an interesting made presentation. GKS, or Global Korea Scholarship provides foreign students with the opportunity to study and get an academic degree at highly esteemed Korean universities. We hope that Lara’s presentation gave the students the courage to apply for the GKS next year. For anyone who hasn’t had a chance to hear more about the said scholarship and wants to know more, the National Institute for International Education of the Republic of Korea offers information at the link.
Nearing the end of the ceremony, members of the KCE organization (Korea Croatia Events), which promotes Korean culture in Croatia, held a short knowledge quiz about Korea. After finishing up the quiz, the student with the most points got a small prize.
All good things must come to an end, so the first (but not the last) closing ceremony of the King Sejong Institute ended.
Korea’s popularity around the world and in Croatia is growing more and more every day. Precisely because of this, the Institute expects a large number of applicants once again this year. Everyone who wishes to learn Korean and wants to know more about Korean culture, history, customs and art is more than welcome. If you find yourself in this description, you can sign up for the course in early September. More information can be found here. See you in the new semester!
Sejong Student reporter; Margita Jaković