Korean Studies in Canada is a lot like Canada itself. There are a few people scattered across a vast area with most of them concentrated in just a few big cities while the rest work and live in relative isolation. Just as is the case with the population of Canada in general, most Korean studies scholars have settled in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. However, there are a few others scattered across the five and a half time zones of this huge country, stretching Korean Studies in Canada from a university in the western Atlantic to a university facing the Pacific ocean.
University of Toronto has the oldest Korean Studies program in Canada. Established in 1976, it also has the largest undergraduate enrollment. Under the leadership of the now retired linguist Eung Jin Baek, it also was the first university in Canada to establish a Centre for the Study of Korea, which now has professor Ito Peng as an Interim Director. Also, University of Toronto was the first to offer a full four years of Korean language instruction. The language program is now coordinated by Kyoungrok Ko, Lecturer of Korean language in the Department of East Asian Studies. Other Korean Studies faculty and staff include Assistant Professors Yoonjung Kang, Jin-Kyung Park, Joshua D. Pilzer, and Janet Poole, Associate Professors Andre Schmid and Jesook Song, Professor Joe Wong, Librarian Hana Kim, and Eileen Lam.
Across town, at York University, there are more Korea specialists. Theresa Hyun, a literature and culture specialist, began offering courses on Korea there in 1992 and was able to make Korean Studies a formal part of the York University curriculum by 1998. In addition, York University also introduced Korean language to the curriculum. Korean language program faculty is consist of Assistant Professors Mihyon Jeon and Ahrong Lee, and Instructor Jooyeon Rhee. With the establishment of the York Centre for Asian Research, faculty and student interest in Korea is expected to grow even more.
University of Waterloo has also been offering Korean language classes and Culture of East Asia since 1991. Korean language programs are now coordinated by Young Gon Kim in the East Asian Studies department.
Seneca college also offers Korean language classes, starting from the year 2012.
Korean Studies in Canada is relatively new, especially when compared to the older Chinese and Japanese studies programs scattered across this vast land. However, its youth has given it a vigor which has allowed it to grow rapidly over the last couple of decades and it promises further growth in the years ahead. The continuing immigration of Koreans to Canada, the continuing growth in trade between Canada and Korea, and the growing numbers of Canadian English teachers with experience working in Korea will all stimulate further interest in Korea among Canadians.
Korean Studies Courses