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East Asian studies’ Korean minor hopes to grow into a major

College of Humanities
Young Kim leads a Korean class session at CLP.

The department of East Asian studies expanded a year ago by making the decision to create a Korean Minor.

As student interest grows in studying Chinese and Japanese culture, the program looked at ways to expand, and adding a minor in Korean studies was the answer, according to Margaret Camp, the undergraduate advisor for East Asian studies.

Camp said they had three interested students going into this past Fall semester, and the minor has grown significantly since it began. This semester, there are 39 enrolled students minoring in either Korean language or culture. 

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Camp said there are also a few East Asian studies majors interested in the Korean language. 

“Since they can’t major in Korean yet, they’re kind of doing it under different umbrellas,” Camp said.

The minor is still young, and there are a few things that need to be done before it can continue to expand. The EAS department only offers Korean 102 and 202 in the spring semester, and because there are three students currently enrolled in 101, they would have to wait a whole year to take their next class. 

Camp and assistant professor Sunyoung Yang, also the Korean advisor for EAS, managed to find a quick solution to their problem. The department will be starting a new online 102 class over the summer, so students who started 101 can do 102 and continue their studies the coming semester.

Camp said they want to create more classes but need students to get through the lower division courses before that can be done. 

“The minor is just getting established, so as soon as we get our 101 students into 202, then we’re thinking of adding 300 levels in our department, currently in critical languages,” Camp said.

Yang said she is currently the only professor for the program, and according to Camp, this is the biggest thing holding them back from creating a major. 

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“It’s all up to the dean, who has been very supportive,” Camp said. “I think he’s looking to be supportive for us to grow.”

The pair is hopeful the minor will grow and the major will be implemented soon. Camp said the language has great implications for government and business going forward.

“I can only see it growing,” Camp said.

The UA Korean program is one of few in the United States and, according to Yang, this is a great opportunity and advantage.

“That’s why, when our department started the Korean studies program, we wanted to become the center in the Southwest,” Yang said.

To find out more about the minor, courses offered or the department of EAS, visit its website.

Follow Sofia Moraga on Twitter

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