The Korea Herald


More immigrants in Korea enjoy cultural activities

By 김후란

Published : Jan. 18, 2011 - 17:50

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Immigrants in Korea have become more active in enjoying cultural activities, a government survey showed Tuesday.

According to the survey on 1,017 immigrants aged over 20 randomly picked by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the percentage of the respondents who enjoyed stage arts, classical music concerts and dance performances at least once in the past year tripled to 22 percent in 2010 from 7 percent in 2008.

The percentage of those who enjoyed pop culture performances quadrupled to 17 percent in 2010 from 4 percent in 2008. The respondents who went to art exhibitions also rose to 9 percent from 3.5 percent during the same period.

The survey was first conducted in 2008 by the Culture Ministry in order to study and meet the culture and leisure needs of immigrants. It is the second time the ministry conducted the survey.

The Internet was a major medium that helped immigrants get access to cultural information, the ministry said.

About 65 percent said they used the Internet in 2010, more than double the 2008 figure of 27 percent. Among them, 58 percent said they used the Internet to get access to cultural performances, a great boost from 18 percent in 2008, the ministry said.

The largest barrier for immigrants to “live culturally” in Korea was non-fluency in Korean.

About 31 percent of the respondents blamed the language barrier. Lack of time for leisure came in second at 21 percent. Difficulty in adapting to Korean etiquettes and norms ranked third with 18 percent and prejudice against immigrants, fourth with 12 percent.

The largest percentage of respondents, 29 percent, urged the government to provide state-run Korean language education programs for immigrants. Another 24 percent called for a program to experience Korea’s traditional etiquette.

By Kim Yoon-mi (