By Lee Jihae
The King Sejong Institute Foundation (KSIF) on Nov. 28 held a ceremony at Paris Korea Center in the French capital to mark the opening of King Sejong Institute Center (KSIC) France.
Opened in December last year, the KSIC provides systematic Korean-language education and supports the institute's 21 branches spread over nine European countries.
The facility offers 14 classes in beginning and intermediate Korean.
The institute has 244 branches in 84 countries. The KSIC in Paris is the fourth of its kind worldwide following those in Indonesia, the U.S. and Vietnam, with each supporting and managing branches in a given region or country.
The KSIC in Paris offers comprehensive support to 21 branches in nine Western and Southern European countries, searches for places for new branches, provides teacher retraining and collaborates with organizations in host countries to help the institute advance in a region.
The foundation said over 900 people applied for the first Korean-language course in France, attesting to the country's high demand to learn the language.
Korean Ambassador to France Yoo Dae-jong, director of the Korean Cultural Center in Paris Lee Il-Yul, and KSIF President Lee Hai-young were among the estimated 100 people who attended the ceremony.
President Lee said, "We hope that the King Sejong Institute Center France contributes to the supply of high-quality (instruction in) Korean and Korean culture befitting the European region's characteristics and leads active cultural exchange between Korea and France."