<<San Diego Korean Language Exchange Organizer Robert Schultz>>
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한국어 배우기 동호회를 이끌어온 로버트 셜츠씨와의 인터뷰>
An interview by Jini Shim
Jini: When did you first start this Korean language exchange Meetup group?
Robert: The group was founded in May 2006 and I joined in March 2007. I became organizer in December 2009 after the previous organizer left for Korea.
J: How much growth has it had?
R: I haven’t tracked growth per se, but as of today, we have over 450 members on our original meetup.com group and over 200 members on our younger Facebook group. There’s some overlap between the two groups, but we certainly have over 500 members between the two sites. The more important measure is participation in our flagship weekly event, which has been so strong recently that we’re adding space from this week, and expecting to expand to two evenings per week from this autumn.
J: What does this group mean to you?
R: Something magical happens when hearts and minds are opened to new cultures and people see things through another’s eyes for the first time. I had this experience as an exchange student in Japan, and a major motivation for learning Korean was to again enjoy the wonder of opening up a new culture and all the great friendships and discoveries that follow. For our non-Korean members, friends or family may think we’re crazy for watching Korean dramas or going to K-Pop concerts, but within the group, we share our thoughts on the best and latest hits, and it’s a matter of pride to have seen the most.
J: What is your opinion of the Korean language?
R: Coming from a Japanese language background as I mentioned above, and with the elegant Hangeul writing system, my first impression was that Korean would be relatively easy to pick up. Formal Korean language is pretty straightforward as expected, but in more casual, spoken Korean, there is so much meaning and nuance and so much variation in verb endings and related structures that any kind of natural sounding fluency has remained an elusive goal.
J: Goals for the group?
R: As more of a dream than a concrete goal, I would like to see San Diego have a Korea-focused organization for like The Japan Society of San Diego (where I used to be a board member), which creates and promotes things like sister city exchanges, visits by Korean officials, and Korean culture and language events.
Read the full interview on Kkonnect.net
The San Diego Korean Language Exchange currently meets every Wednesdays at 7pm at a café in Kearny Mesa. For updates visit http://www.meetup.com/sdkorean