Students of Tartu University will be offered the chance to study Korean later this year, the university says.
South Korean visiting lecturer Hyun Jung Shin will teach two courses including Introduction to Korean culture and Korean language for beginners during the spring semester this year.
Yhun Jung Shin, who has a degree in languages, came to Tartu from the Korean Language Institute of Yonsei University, where she has been teaching Korean to foreigners since 2006.
The application for sending a teacher and funding her work in the University of Tartu in 2014 was submitted by the Faculty of Philosophy on the initiative of the Center of the Oriental Studies.
"The impulse for this particular application was given by the Baltic Korean International Symposium that took place in Tartu in autumn 2012, where the representatives of the University of Tartu as well as the Korean side expressed an interest and willingness to enhance Korean studies and research in the University of Tartu.
The esto- and baltophile Jinseok Seo who got his Doctoral level degree in the University of Tartu last year also played a part, as he recommended the project of the Academy of Korean Studies and also lobbied it in Korea", commented Mart Laanemets, a Senior Research Fellow of Sinology in the Center of Oriental Studies.
Hyun Jung Shin studied Czech and Slovak languages during her Bachelor studies and has received additional education in these countries. This is where her interest in Eastern Europe stems from. She said she has been looking for an opportunity to teach Korean language and culture in Eastern Europe for a while, which is why the decision to take on the offer by the Academy of Korean Studies was not a difficult one.
She describes Tartu with its clean air and slow pace as an excellent place for living and working.
"The academic atmosphere, colleagues and students naturally take some getting used to, but the first impressions are entirely positive", said Hyun Jung Shin.