Why learn Korean?

There are over 77 million speakers of Korean, making it one of the Top 20 most widely spoken languages in the world. Korea’s distinctive cuisine and the high-tech economy of South Korea are a draw for people from around the world.

Rapidly growing economy

South Korea was the 11th largest economy in the world last year and was the fourth largest in Asia, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Industry leader

South Korea was one of the original Asian tiger economies, with a rapid industrialisation that paved the way for the country to become one of the world’s technology leaders. It is home to global tech giants Samsung and LG and carmakers Hyundai and Kia and has some of the highest rates of broadband penetration in the world.

Business made easy

South Korea is the No. 4 country in the world for ease of doing business, according to the World Bank. Opportunities for Irish firms in South Korea in the coming decades include the provision of healthcare and the teaching of English as a foreign language, according to Enterprise Ireland.

Potential opportunities

North Korea’s closed, Communist economy has fascinated people around the world for decades and offers diplomats and journalists fascinating insights into the Communist system. An opening up of the North Korean economy could create huge investment opportunities.

It’s easy to learn

Korean is far easier to read and write than Chinese or Japanese due to its relatively simple alphabet with 24 distinctive letters. But the language is still difficult to master for English-speakers due to its unfamiliar vocabulary and pronunciation.

Great culinary traditions

Korea offers one of Asia’s great cuisines, from spicy Kimchi and the unique Bibimbap rice dish.


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Korean is part of the post-primary school curriculum in Ireland

Korean is one of the most recent languages to be added to the post-primary school curriculum in Ireland by the Department of Education and Skills, as a unit for Transition Year. This is being done in the context of one of the goals in Languages Connect Ireland’s Strategy for Foreign Languages in Education, which is to diversify and increase the uptake of languages learned.

Four schools in Dublin are piloting the Korean language unit for Transition Year for the academic year 2018/19. Korean is the 17th most widely spoken language in the world with approximately 80 million native speakers. South Korea is a key partner for Ireland in Asia; in 2016, total Irish goods exports to South Korea reached €980m; an increase of some 70% on 2015. And total trade in goods and services between the two countries increased to €1.8bn in 2015. There are also over 200 Irish companies active in the South Korean market. The introduction of new trade languages in Irish schools is indicative of the identified need to diversify Ireland’s trading partners globally in the context of Brexit.

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Only 6.5%
of the world’s population are native English speakers