Far from being just an information point, this centre offers language courses, hosts exhibitions, screens films, holds competitions and provides the backdrop for many live events. There is also a great library and film library (complete with viewing room), and a wealth of material regarding Korea.
Before I left for my year in Korea, the KCC was only just in existence and not yet open, though I really wish it had been. I was very nervous and anxious of what to expect, and the resources the KCC offer would have given a snapshot of Korean life. For example, recent events have included a hugely popular Friday late ‘K-Pop’ night, a full Lunar New Year celebration complete with ‘wishing tree’, and a modern art exhibition.
Nowadays, I personally visit the KCC at least once a week, to attend the High Beginners language class. Going ‘back to skool’ has been invaluable in keeping me connected to Korea. The course is challenging but so much fun, and I feel as though I have already improved greatly, while meeting some lovely, like-minded friends along the way.
The structure of the language course has recently been improved so as to include lessons in culture (including, cuisine, music, fashion, movies, society and working in Korea) in addition to language itself. This should make for an even richer learning experience, and one that I would highly recommend. Having said this, do keep in mind that every term sees a large and growing number of applicants, and student selection is completely at random, so there is no way to guarantee that you will be picked. As the course is (almost unbelievably) completely free of charge, though, I can’t think of a good reason why not to apply.
I’ve also been to a few of the film nights held here, which have been wonderful. Again, completely free, there are light refreshments served in the lobby (another chance to chat and meet people) before the film is shown in the main lecture hall. This can sometimes get slightly cramped, and the seats are not the most comfortable in the world, however it’s well worth it for the unique community experience. Once again, these events are extremely popular, so its best to book as far in advance as possible.
I look forward to taking advantage of even more that the KCC has to offer in the coming weeks and months. It’s great to have a physical centre to London’s Korea, and I believe that the KCC is it. For any Londoner with even the slightest Hangul curiosity, visiting is a must.
- The Korean Cultural Centre’s main entrance is on Northumberland Avenue, just off The Strand (address: 1 – 3 Strand, London WC2N 5BW)
- Opening hours: Mon- Fri: 10.00 – 18.00
Sat: 11.00 – 17.00
- Next film night is on Thursday, 10th March at 7pm, with Lee Man Hee’s A Road to Sampo. Book by e-mail at above address. Details on KCC website
- Kimchi Soul will provide updates of upcoming events