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Korean No. 11 most studied language on US campuses

Korean is the 11th most studied language at US universities, according to the latest report from the Modern Language Association, released Tuesday.

More than 13,900 students across 2,669 universities in the US were found to have taken Korean language classes in 2016.

The most popular foreign language that students signed up for was Spanish, with over 712,000 students enrolled. Spanish was separated by a large margin from No. 2 French at 175,000.

American Sign Language, German, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Arabic, Latin and Russian rounded out the top 10. 

University students walk in the campus in spring. (Yonhap)
University students walk in the campus in spring. (Yonhap)

US university students enrolled in Korean language classes rose by about 14 percent over three years, compared to 12,200 in 2013. The only other foreign language among the top 15 to see a rise was No. 5 Japanese, up by a modest 3 percent, as overall trends saw enrollment in foreign-language classes in the US falling by 9 percent.

Korean-American media attributed the increase to the enhanced perception of Korean culture due to Hallyu.

The MLA began compiling data on US college student’s foreign-language studies in 1958, when there were just 26 students enrolled in Korean language courses.


By Lim Jeong-yeo (