Korean language, culture course offered to students, faculty, staff at no cost

Jiguur Ariunbold, finance student, Debbie Pollak, English Department faculty, Janet Bahgat, English Department faculty, Sang Nam, associate professor of communications, Christine Little, media studies student

Clockwise from left: Jiguur Ariunbold, a finance major; Debbie Pollak, an adjunct professor; Janet Bahgat, an adjunct professor; Sang Nam, associate professor of communications; and Christine Little, a media studies major

Christine Little, a media studies senior at Quinnipiac University, studied abroad at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea and now attends a once-a-week class as a way to review and continue practicing what she learned during her time abroad.

The complexities of the Korean language and culture are getting broken down and shared on Tuesdays at noon in the Office of Multicultural and Global Education, when Sang Nam, associate professor of communications, offers an optional no-credit, free course in the Korean language and culture to students, faculty and staff.

“I’m glad Quinnipiac offered this. I plan to go back to Korea after I graduate,” said Little. “A lot is review for me, but I’ve learned how to pose questions. I would liken this to a language 101 course.”

The lunchtime learning goes beyond lessons just about how to speak Korean, Nam said.

“I want them to learn to speak and understand the language, but at the same time, the cultural awareness is important, too,” he said.

Nam provides the class with worksheets and, during the hour-long class, introduces common words and phrases for specific topics. On Oct. 22, the lesson focused on food and food phrases. The overall focus of the course is teaching conversational Korean to the students, he said.

“It’s been such a great opportunity. You don’t see Korean offered anywhere,” said Janet Bahgat, an adjunct professor. “I’m interested in languages and comparing the similarities.”

In addition to teaching the English translations and writing the phonetic pronunciation of each Korean word, Nam is teaching sentence structure and introducing the characters of the Korean alphabet.

Unlike many formal courses, the class make up is half students and half professors.

“I like the mix of students and faculty; it’s a nice feature of this class,” said Debbie Pollak, adjunct professor.

Aside from understanding the language, Nam encourages an understanding of the culture. In each lesson, he not only explains the key words and phrases, but also explains how they directly affect the Korean culture.

“I’ve already gained what I hoped I would: I’m learning about a culture I knew little about,” said Pollak.

Nam intends to continue offering the free, no-credit course to students, faculty and staff with the hope that the course may be offered twice a week in the near future, he said.

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