Jiyoung Daniels teaches all levels of Korean at the University of North Georgia.

Editor’s note: As the state’s military academy, the University of North Georgia offers Korean language at various levels in hopes of inspiring some students and cadets to take their study on to fluency. The language has been designated as “critical” by the U.S. Department of Defense, meaning that it’s eligible to receive increased government funding to drive proficiency. But beyond national security, Korean has also grown increasingly important globally, as Korea continues to export both its culinary traditions and its pop culture.

In Georgia, home to an estimated 150,000 people of Korean descent and a growing parade of Korean investors, the language is also becoming more vital to navigating business with what has become the world’s ninth largest economy. 

UNG published the below interview with Jiyoung Daniel, who teaches all levels of Korean at the university, to shed more light on why Korean is important and how technology is changing the process of language learning. Dr. Daniel earned both her B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in linguistics from the University of Georgia. The interview has been edited for brevity.

UNG: What is your role at the University of North Georgia?

Dr. Daniel: Currently, I teach all levels of Korean, assist students in their study abroad experiences in Korea, serve as a recruiting liaison to the Korean community and teach in the Summer Language Institute at UNG. I find teaching Korean interesting to not only teach the language but also teach about Korea itself. It is a dynamic country where the traditional Korean culture co-exists with the contemporary Western culture. I regard myself as a “civic ambassador.”

UNG: What inspires you about teaching foreign language and culture?

Dr. Daniel: I am intrigued by how technology is enabling language change. Due to the rapid development of the Internet and wireless technologies, Korean Internet language has become so widespread that it is breaking through the boundaries of online communication and ultimately reaching Korean language education. Given the influence of Internet language on Korean education in South Korea, it is crucial for me to update knowledge about the direction of the change to keep current with the latest trends. Globalization of the Internet has prompted a variety of languages to come together online. I investigate the influence of English on Korean language online. Consequently, I use many technological resources in my teaching, including Korean drama and variety shows.

UNG: What are the highlights of your career?

Dr. Daniel: My career highlights include being honored to have the opportunity to start the Korean program here at UNG. I am proud that a growing number of students have graduated with a minor in Korean. I am hopeful that Korean can become a major in the future due to the students’ expressed interests. 

UNG: What is your goal as an educator?

Dr. Daniel: I hope to inspire in all my students the desire to make the Korean language a part of their lives as a result of my instilling in them a deep understanding of the language and culture. Learning a new language also strengthens students’ intellectual profiles and critical thinking.

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...