South Korea Study Tours
Canadian Representation: Republic of Korea
Teacher and Study Tours Programs
South Korea Faqs
South Korea extends about 1,000 km southward from northeastern China covering 99,268 square kilometers and includes about 3,000 islands. The population of South Korea is over 48 million with a population density of 498 persons per square kilometer and 80 percent classified as urban residents. The country's largest city, national capital, and chief industrial center is Seoul, located in the northwest.
South Korea's national language is Hangeul introduced in 1446 under King Sejong of the Choson dynasty. King Sejong commissioned
a group of scholars to invent Hangeul using a script composed of phonetic symbols that accurately represent spoken Korean. Korean
is most similar in grammar to Japanese and the Korean vocabulary still contains many Chinese words.
Korean education is free and compulsory for all children between the ages of 6 and 14 with six years of elementary education,
three years of middle school and three years of high school. An estimated 98 percent of the adult population of South Korea is
literate. South Korea has 330 institutions of higher education, with a total annual enrollment of 3.2 million students. The famous
universities are Korea University, Seoul National University, Ewha Women's University and Yonsei University.
Historically, Korea was strongly influenced by Chinese culture and acted as a conduit of culture from China. During the period of
Japanese colonial rule (1910-1945), indigenous Korean traditions and imported Chinese culture was strongly discouraged. Koreans
began to incorporate Western forms after Korea opened itself to the Western world in the 1950's. The Korean government encourages
the traditional arts through funding, education programs and sponsorship of a national competitive exhibition each year.
In the modern period Korean writers adapted many different Western literary influences using realism, existentialism, and surrealism
to portray Japanese colonial rule, the partition of Korea, Korean War, and military rule. Contemporary Korean artists produce
traditional handicrafts such as lacquerwork, wood inlaid with mother-of-pearl, embroidery, and ceramics.
The Seoul Arts Center houses five resident companies: the National Opera, the National Ballet, the National Chorus, the Seoul Performing Arts Company, and the Korean Symphony Orchestra. The Seoul Arts Center features five state-of-the-art facilities: Music Hall, Calligraphy Hall, Art Gallery, Arts Library and Opera House. Seoul is also home to the National Library of Korea, National Museum, National Museum of Modern Art, the National Folklore Museum and the War Memorial Museum.
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