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Thursday, April 25, 2024
<p>Avery Chambers, a 19-year-old UF Chinese freshman, made fliers to encourage students to help bring the Korean language program back to UF.</p>

Avery Chambers, a 19-year-old UF Chinese freshman, made fliers to encourage students to help bring the Korean language program back to UF.

The Korean language program will return to UF in the Fall after not offering classes for 11 years and students petitioned to bring it back.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences program will offer three levels, from beginning to advanced, for a trial year, said Akintunde Akinyemi, the chair of the UF languages, literatures and cultures department.

The classes cap at 25 students each but need at least 20 students per class registered for the program to break even, Akinyemi said.

“We are starting on a small scale and, if the interest continues, we hope to keep the program going,” Akinyemi said.

The first beginning-level Korean section is full with more than 20 students registered, Akinyemi wrote in an email. The department will continue to add sections as they fill up.

The program will be funded by the college and is seeking to hire one adjunct lecturer for the trial period, Akinyemi said. If the program does well after a year, the department will seek grants to hire permanent faculty.

The cost of the program will not be determined until the department identifies a faculty member to teach the classes, which the department plans to do this summer.

Korean has not been offered at UF since Fall 2008, when the language department was downsized due to the economic recession.

Thirty-eight students were enrolled in the beginning level, 19 were enrolled in the intermediate level and eight were enrolled in the advanced level during Fall 2008, Akinyemi said.

Faculty in the Chinese and Japanese programs were also reduced during this time, Akinyemi said.

Bringing back the Korean language program wasn’t a priority until students made it one, Akinyemi said.

The program was still listed on the website because the department hoped to bring the program back eventually, Akinyemi said. If taken down, it would take at least two years to bring back as all programs listed on the website need to go through an approval process by the state government.

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“Bringing the Korean language program back wasn’t really on our radar,” Akinyemi said. “But, with the students’ effort, they made it happen.”

Avery Chambers, a 19-year-old UF Chinese freshman came from Delaware to UF with an interest in registering for Korean courses. When she applied to UF in 2017, the program still appeared on the website.

She used the printer in her dorm to create flyers with “Interested in learning Korean?” written on them to put around campus. In the Fall, she made a petition to show interest in the program from students.

Fifty students signed the petition and 133 responded to the online poll. Chambers, along with the Korean Undergraduate Student Association, then took these numbers to the languages department.

“The website was really misleading,” Chambers said. “And I know I wasn’t the only one who thought that because even at my Preview in July 2018, I met other students who were surprised, too.”

Chambers is already registered for the class for Fall.

“I almost feel kind of smug at how quickly the first class filled up because, at the beginning, so many people said it wouldn’t work,” Chambers said. “It panned out exactly how I wanted it to.”

Correction: This article was updated to reflect that the program will return after 11 years.

Avery Chambers, a 19-year-old UF Chinese freshman, made fliers to encourage students to help bring the Korean language program back to UF.

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