The Department of Modern Languages and Classics recently received a game-changing asset from Hyosung USA for the University’s ever-growing Korean program, which now boasts 21 students.
Representatives from the company, which manufactures everything from mechanical rubber goods to ATMs, visited The University of Alabama in November bearing a $10,000 gift meant to aid in the growth of the Korean program and promised to provide the contribution annually.
According to Dr. Koji Arizumi, the director of UA’s Critical Languages Center and Japanese Program director, the money will be used to fund various fairs for the Korean program and may also provide airfare for UA students traveling to Korea to complete internships.
Executive Vice President of Hyosung, James Lee, decided to provide the scholarships for a few reasons, first citing an existing brotherhood grown from hard times fought together.
“South Korean and United States relations have been extensive since 1950 when the United States helped South Korea in the Korean War,” Lee said. “During the war, more than 36,500 American soldiers died, and I believe that this makes us blood brothers. We are forever grateful. It is only fair to support their descendants’ efforts to study Korean and get to know Korea.”
Lee also cited his respect for American students who are hoping to learn Korean as a reason for providing the donation to the department.
“I am thankful that American students in this region are willing to learn Korean,” Lee said. “As one of the leading companies in South Korea, I think it’s an honor to be able to show my support.”
Lee said that however the money is used, he hopes it helps form a closer relationship between the United States and South Korea through language, exchange, and mutual understanding.