Globalized Korea reaches out to multicultural families with special programs

Korea has been steadily globalizing and becoming a more multicultural country, with more than one million non-Korean residents. More than ever, multicultural families, where at least one family member came from overseas, are an important part of Korean society. Multicultural families often face difficulties adjusting to language and cultural differences. In order to help these families, the government and private organizations run a number of different programs.

*Incheon Metropolitan Jungang Library

Incheon Metropolitan Jungang Library opened a multicultural section on November 15 last year in response to increases in the number of multicultural families and non-Koreans living in the area, with the current foreign-born population at 61,522.

The multicultural section has more than 1000 books and materials in Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Japanese, Cambodian and other languages. It also has a large collection of books for Korean language learners.

The library also provides language courses and holds concerts and events to introduce Korean culture. There are also classes that help Southeast Asian immigrants learn Korean and continue to practice and study in their own languages through games, animation, films and books.

“We are going to expand services and open more language classes. This will help people understand other cultures and communicate well with each other”, said library staff.

*Gwanak-gu opens classes for students from multicultural families

The Gwanak district in Seoul has opened a study class for students from multicultural families to help those who are struggling with language and cultural problems.

The classes focus on helping the students adjust culturally and improving their Korean language skills. It also runs programs that teach ceramics, calligraphy and cooking, along with field trips to historic and cultural sites.

“This class will be very helpful to people from multicultural families living in Korea,” said a Gwanak-gu official.

*Teaching Korean to children from multicultural families in Hwaseong

A multicultural center in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province reported on February 14 that they are going to run a class for children under the age of 12 from multicultural families who have language difficulties. This class will consist of one-on-one tutoring, once or twice a week.

“There are difficulties for preschool children from multicultural families in learning the language and this certainly affects them when they go to the primary school. Therefore, this class will help children in adapting to the Korean language”, said a staff member from the multicultural center in Hwaseong.

*Seongnam services for multicultural families
The city of Seongnam in Gyeonggi Province reported on Feb. 12 that they are going to expand services for multicultural families. Seongnam spent 560 million won to create the new Seongnam Multicultural Center to provide programs such as Korean language classes and translation services. It also has programs to help the 1,432 local children from multicultural families improve their Korean and provides tutoring in other subjects, like math.

There are various programs and support programs in Muju County in North Jeolla Province to support multicultural families, including home tutoring in the Korean language and culture, clubs and festivals.

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