K-Pop in UAE: Learn Korean language, culture at prestigious institute's new branch in Sharjah

It will be based within Sharjah’s University City and will be offering a variety of language courses for all age groups starting September


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Tue 23 May 2023, 8:01 PM

Last updated: Tue 23 May 2023, 10:43 PM

K-Pop lovers in the UAE now have a new place to learn more about the Korean language and culture. The King Sejong Institute (KSI) has established a new base in the UAE’s cultural capital.

With the deepening interest in Korean culture globally and especially in the UAE, the representatives of KSI are hoping that the institute will prove to be a bridge between South Koreans and UAE residents. The branch in Sharjah will become the prestigious institute’s 85th global base.

“Those who are interested in the Korean culture can gather at KSI and learn the Korean language,” said Lee Hai Young, president of KSI.

“The centre plays a vital role in promoting the Korean language and culture worldwide. We started with just 740 students; we now enrich over 17,000 students with Korean culture around the world. The establishment of a branch in Sharjah underscores the institute's dedication to fostering cultural exchange and promoting the rich heritage of Korea globally.”

Stronger partnership

The announcement was made on Tuesday at an official ceremony that took place at the House of Wisdom, in the presence of Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of Department of Government Relations (DGR), Sheikh Majid Abdullah Al Qasimi, Managing Director of DGR and other representatives.

According to Sheikh Fahim, the move represents Sharjah’s commitment to all cultural things. “The cultural program of Sharjah, under the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, ruler of Sharjah and members of Supreme Council of the UAE, spans all cultural assets.”

He said that whether books, art or new media, Sharjah had outlets for it. “If we talk about art, then there is the Sharjah Art Foundation and the Biennial. If we talk about theatre, there is the Sharjah Performing Arts Academy. If we talk about new media and technology with Shems and Sharjah Media City, there is a huge cultural industry that warrants having cultural representation.”

Sheikh Fahim said the Korean cultural export was a learning process for countries. “I've met young Emiratis that speak fluent Korean,” he said. “My children listen to Korean pop stars; my friends watch Korean movies and Korean series. The Korean cultural export is something that I think all countries can learn from. South Korea has been extremely successful at creating what they call the K wave, this curiosity about their culture. And I'm confident it will continue to grow with success.”

University City

The emirate’s branch of the KSI will be based within Sharjah’s University City and will be offering a variety of language courses for all age groups starting September.

Students will also be offered an opportunity partake in expert-led cultural events and intellectual discussions designed to cater to varied interests and skill sets.

Sheikh Fahim said the location of the institute was strategically chosen. “Over 45,000 students in University City gives institutes like KSI the opportunity to teach their language to young minds that want to learn about other parts of the world and are curious to learn another language.”

The King Sejong Institute, operated by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea, plays a vital role in promoting the Korean language and culture, with 244 branches in 84 countries. Established in 2007, it is named after Sejong the Great, who created the Korean alphabet, Hangul, and supported important research in philosophy, science, arts, music, medicine, and agriculture. The institute organises cultural events to introduce students to Korean culture and competitions to encourage them to speak and write in the Korean language.


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