Hello David. You’re running a website for Koreans to learn German. How did you get that idea?
I travelled Korea in 2012. During my journey, I met many Koreans, which are interested in the German language or in the country. Since I spent quite a while in Korea, I offered German classes as a pastime. People took kindly to it and so my idea was born to start this project. After having returned to Germany and just having graduated from university, I was flexible as to time and subsequently, I was ready to put all my energy in my project Sojugarten.com.
How popular is German in Korea, in comparison to other languages?
English is number one, by far. The market for English is booming and plenty of teachers from English-speaking countries are lured into Korea (even from outside the subject area). The job offers are enticing. German is taught at some universities and is growing more popular for the industry and the economy since trade relationships are becoming more intense between the two nations.
What about the other countries in this region, Japan, or even North Korea? Is German similarly popular there and do you know anything about foreign languages in North Korea?
Japan’s population is more than twice and a half times as big as South Korea’s, so, the number of learners there should accordingly be higher. Unfortunately, we don’t have any further information about that. As there is no noteworthy trade relationship and almost no tourist exchange between North Korea and Germany, the German language – like most other languages – should play an insignificant role there.
Which are the things Koreans love most about German and Germany?
Germany has a very good reputation in South Korea and this has an effect on the status of the language. Like in many other countries, Germany represents in Korea a solid and reliable economy as well as a copious cultural treasure in the fields of music, arts and poetry. Goethe and Beethoven are references in the respective artistic area, for Koreans and Germans alike. We realized that a considerable part of our German learners is either studying music or is taking classical singing lessons. Of course, this is my subjective experience. I’m sure there are many other reasons to be enchanted by Germany or the German language!
Is there a German product that is a real biggie in Korea?
Well, it’s not a product like the ‘Lederhosen’ (leather pants) or the ‘Sauerkraut’, but I would say the football league, the Bundesliga. Since the K-League (first division in Korea) is not really internationally competitive but football enjoys great popularity, the Koreans like watching English Premier League or Bundesliga games. Other than that: German beer, bratwurst and cars!