NEW DELHI -- A growing number of people in India are studying Korean to help themselves find jobs or pursue further studies in the East Asian country, officials here said Monday.
According to the Korean Cultural Center in New Delhi, an average of 203 students signed up for Korean language classes at its King Sejong Institute during every semester of this year. When the classes first opened in 2013, there were an average of 55 students per semester.
The institute, a state-run organization that teaches Korean overseas, has also opened new branches in Chennai and Patna, bringing their total number to three.
"In New Delhi and the surrounding capital area, as well as in the northeast where the influence of 'hallyu' is strong, more and more universities are opening courses in Korean and there is a growing trend toward studying the language across the country," said Kim Geum-pyeong, the center chief, referring to the global popularity of Korean pop culture.
"I think this is due not only to cultural factors, such as the spread of K-pop and hallyu, but also Korean businesses' interest in the Indian market, which has fed increased demand for Korean in terms of jobs and practical reasons."
In a study recently conducted by the New Delhi branch, 37 percent of Indians studying Korean said they hope to use it to find a job, while 33 percent said they hope to study further in South Korea. The other respondents said they were motivated by an interest in Korean culture.
In the past two years, 18 people who studied at the New Delhi institute were hired by South Korean companies such as Samsung Electronics, E.Land and Oracle, as well as by Indian travel agencies. Eleven others went on to study Korean at an Indian university or received Korean government scholarships to study in South Korea.
Indian universities have also expanded their courses in Korean.
Last year, Banaras Hindu University, which is located in the northeastern city of Varanasi, opened a class in the language, raising the number of Indian universities teaching Korean to 19.
In March, New Delhi's Indira Gandhi National Open University, which runs courses for 3 million students via TV broadcasts, is set to launch a course in Korean and Korea studies. (Yonhap)