A Cultural Korean Church on 5th Avenue

By Nami Nagoaka

A Korean United Methodist Church was established 42 years ago in Youngstown on Fifth Avenue. It holds services at 10:30 a.m. and teaches the Korean language to willing students afterwards.

Hyun-Suk Kim, the ninth pastor of the Korean United Methodist Church of Greater Youngstown, said the church tries to bring Korean culture to Youngstown by cooking traditional Korean food and teaching Korean language.

“Food is not just something to eat, but it represents our culture,” Kim said.

The Korean Church holds Korean classes after mass and lunch from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. There are varying levels of class difficulties that range from beginner to advanced.

Bong-Yong Uh, a teacher at the Korean Church, said that the school goes out of its way to make its classes affordable. Tuition is $30 per semester for individuals or $50 per semester for one family.

“We usually use the books that we have and we print them if we need, so there are no additional costs,”

The spring 2017 semester begins on February 4.

Sylvia Arias, a student at Eastern Gateway Community College in Youngstown, has taken the Korean class for a year.

She wants to teach English in South Korea. Because of the program, she is now able to read and write in Korean.

“If anyone is interested in learning Korean, I really recommend them to try this class. They are really helpful and full of excitement,” Arias said.

Devron Love, a Korean student of three years, was at the highest level in the Korean classes offered at the church. He began learning the language after he developed an interest in Asian culture.

“The different forms of speaking, such as formal and informal, were hard for me since English doesn’t really have them, but the Korean class really helped me improve my Korean skills,” Love said.

He tutored some students in South Korea through Skype before he had started taking the Korean class. He really wanted to learn class from setting, so he started taking the class at the Korean Church.

“Korean culture is growing in popularity recently, so more exposure gets the better,” Love said.  “If we want to learn languages, we never stop learning the language and we have to commit to it.”