Critical Language Scholarship Program | Gwangju, South Korea

Gwangju, South Korea

Program Dates:

June 19 - August 12, 2023

Hosting Institution:

Chonnam National University

Program Overview

The CLS Korean program in Gwangju is hosted by Chonnam National University (CNU), a conglomerate of 16 colleges and 11 graduate programs with histories dating back more than 100 years. Gwangju was established as a city in 57 BC and is the birthplace of the modern democratic movement in Korea. Founded in a period of transition in South Korea, CNU students and the citizens of Gwangju played a significant role in the nation’s development and thus put Gwangju at the front of the democracy movement. In addition to its rich history, Gwangju is a vibrant city known for its delicious food and multiple cultural festivals.

Through the intensive eight-week program, the CLS Korean Program provides students with opportunities to learn Korean both inside and outside the classroom. Students participate in fifteen hours per week of classroom instruction where they learn the four major skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing in Korean. Over the course of the summer students cover the equivalent of one year of Korean instruction at the college level. Co-curricular activities introduce students to various aspects of Korean culture and society outside of the formal classroom environment. Past activities and excursions have explored traditional music and martial arts, calligraphy, and the day-to-day lives of Korean people.

In Gwangju, students live in the campus dormitory with a local Korean student who also attends Chonnam National University. Students can walk to their classes, the campus cafeteria, and a range of restaurants in the neighborhood. Laundry services are available in the dormitory.

As part of the language partner program, CLS students are paired with Korean-speaking language partners for one-on-one sessions to practice their language skills outside of the classroom and explore Gwangju. In past years CLS students and their language partners have sampled Korean BBQ, attended sports games, and sang at a norebang. Language partners and roommates are prepared to help CLS students accomplish tasks of daily living in their new city such as grocery shopping, navigating public transportation, and accessing recreation facilities. In many cases, CLS students maintain long-lasting relationships with their roommates and language partners, staying in touch after the program and continuing to practice their Korean language skills.