Unique Korean Language Course Boon to Foreigners

Article excerpt

To most Koreans, Andong, a medium-sized city in Kyongsang-bukto, represents traditional Korean customs and values. Situated in a sung and crispy environment, Andong has long been known as the home of ``yangban,'' the noble class of the Choson period, who are notorious for their diehard preservation of Confucian values.

The Silla, Koryo and Choson Kingdoms left behind in the city many historical sites worth visiting to view Confucian and Buddhist legacy such as temples, pagodas, homes of noblemen and Confucian schools.

Now, Andong has more to add to its list of attractions. True to its reputation as an educational city, Andong National University provides a competitive language course for both locals and foreigners.

ANULC (Andong National University Language Center) offers the course in English, Japanese and Chinese. The center is especially proud of its STEP (Structured Total English Program), an eight-level program designed to provide systematic English instruction for ANU students and the general public as well.

With a staff of 21 native instructors, the center evaluates students through interviews and class participation to decide what level they should be in and whether they are ready to go on to the next level.

But what ANULC really takes pride in is the CLEP (Cultural and Language Exchange Program), which offers a chance for foreign students to learn not only the Korean language but also Korean tradition and culture, especially those pertaining to Andong.

Andong has many reasons to attract foreigners. It boasts more national treasures than any other city in the nation, with 239 items designated as either tangible or intangible cultural properties. There are also numerous artists and performers who preserve long-kept traditions in their works.

One of the most renowned cultural heritages of Andong is Hahoe Pyolshingut Talnori. Designated as Important Intangible Cultural Property No. 69, this mask dance satirizes the lifestyle of yangban, many of whom maintained their lavish lifestyles at the expense of ordinary people.

Even Queen Elizabeth II came to Hahoe, the home of the mask dance, when she visited Korea in April last year. …