A hype around Korean pop music and pop culture has led to more students in the U.S. taking up Korean language classes, according to numbers released by the U.S. Modern Language Association. In between 2006 and 2016, the number of university students enrolled in Korean almost doubled – the biggest increase for any language of 1,000 students or more.
The Korean language hype is not only confined to the U.S. though. The Korean government in 2019 operates 172 language institutes around the world, teaching Korean to 57,000 students in 56 countries, up from just 13 branches in 2007.
Furthermore, the Topik test of Korean proficiency has been in high demand lately. While in 1997, only 2,200 test takers registered to obtain the official certificate, that number was almost 265,000 in 2018. According to the Korean Herald, the free language-learning app DuoLingo has also registered an increase in interest in Korean and added the language to the platform in 2017 after repeated requests. It is currently their sixth popular course (for bilingual use in Korean and English).