King Sejong Institute, which provides Korean-language education throughout the world, will open 23 more branches in 19 countries this year, and the University of Rijeka in Croatia is also on the list, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and King Sejong Institute Foundation announced on June 16.
A combined 82 organizations from 39 countries applied for branches this year. Through a very demanding screening process, the Institute’s designated review committee selected 23 candidates based on the demand for Korean and the capacities and personnel conditions of the operating institutions.
Lee Jin-sik, the Ministry’s director-general for culture policy, stated: “We will do everything we can to provide policy support to boost Korea’s status and make people around the world feel the charm of the Korean language and culture through King Sejong Institute.”
Seven countries will get their first branches: Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in Asia; South Africa and Tunisia in Africa; and Luxembourg and Finland in Europe. The expansion of the institute’s global network reflects the international boom in Hallyu and rising trade with Korea. KSI in Rijeka will be the second such institute in Croatia, after the one already established at the Faculty of Croatian Studies in Zagreb.
KSI at the University of Rijeka will operate as a public institution under the auspices of the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and the establishment of the Institute will enable all interested students and citizens to learn Korean from native speakers. The institute should open its doors at the beginning of the new academic year, and detailed information on the enrolment process and the study program will be available in late August/early September.
The results come as a pleasant surprise after months of preparations. After a working meeting with the representatives of Sunghin Women’s University in January 2022, and months of preparation of extensive application documentation, an official onsite assessment and verification of the application for the establishment of the Institute followed. The evaluators, i.e. representatives of the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and representatives of the King Sejong Institute Foundation, visited the University of Rijeka on May 10 and conducted interviews and detailed analysis of the application, checking the history and development of UNIRI, its geographical location, accessibility to citizens and the need for the Korean language.
We at the University of Rijeka are extremely proud of this achievement, and it would not be possible without our partners and initiators of the idea, our friends at the Sungshin Women’s University, as well the huge support we received from H.E. Mr. Damir Kušen, Ambassador of Croatia to the Republic of Korea.