Language Study Grants

The UCI Center for Critical Korean Studies is offering fellowships to assist meritorious students in learning Korean language and literature at an institution in Korea during summer and/or fall 2018. Funded through a generous grant from the Academy of Korean Studies, Ministry of Education & Science Technology of South Korea, these fellowships will provide selected students a $2,000 stipend each. The funds can be used to cover study abroad-related expenses such as tuition and travel.

Applicants must be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student at UCI and have completed at least Korean 1C (or in possession of equivalent skills) at the time of submission.

Award recipients must take a Korean language course at an institution in Korea during summer or fall 2018, and commit to continue and enroll in Korean 2B or above upon return. The institution must be acknowledged by the Study Abroad Center at UCI.

You may contact Megan Ostovarpour, Study Abroad Advisor for Korea, at for program information. Examples of eligible language institutions are as follows:

  • Kookmin University (via (USAC)
  • Korea University (via ISA/TEAN)
  • Seoul National University
  • Yonsei University (via UCEAP)
A minimum one-page testimonial of your study abroad experience must be submitted to Erica Yun, CCKS Program Coordinator, at by January 7, 2019.

Application deadline: January 31, 2018
Notifications by mid-February
Funds transferred by early May (summer)/early July (fall)
Application Instructions

Applications must be submitted online. Click undergraduate or graduate and navigate to the respective application portal.

A letter of support must be submitted by a relevant faculty member for undergraduate/the faculty advisor for graduate to Erica Yun at directly by the deadline.


Elizabeth Hanna Clark, Recipient 17'

Memories from over 20 years ago at my first day at New York Broadway 한국 학교 came flooding back to me as I stepped into my classroom at Ewha University this summer. I hadn’t been in a formal Korean language classroom since I was eight years old, when as child my mom would take a bus across Manhattan everyday Saturday morning to go to Korean school. As a child I resented my mom for making me spend my Friday nights doing hangul writing practice and my entire Saturday sitting in a classroom while all my non-Korean friends were out having fun. I remember looking at her scornfully as she pasted sticky notes on furniture all over the house indicating the Korean word for the object: 장문, 의자, 탁자… My father and older brother didn’t speak Korean, so why did I have to? Like so many U.S. born Korean Americans, however, as an adult I have come to deeply regret not taking my mother’s insistence that I learn Korean more seriously. This regret stems partially from the fact that I am doing my dissertation with undocumented Korean American activists, a project that requires fluency in Korean in order to engage in deep ethnographic work with undocumented Korean Americans who feel more comfortable speaking about sensitive issues like their immigration status in their native language. But my regret also emerges from the fact that my halmoni and oldest imo passed away before I could ever have a real conversation with them about more than just what I wanted to eat, or what I did that day.

The CCKS language fellowship allowed me to take an intensive language course at Ewha University this summer. For one month I had class four hours a day, five days a week, plus homework that required me to study for another four hours a day before or after class. Class time was complemented by fieldtrips around Seoul that allowed us to practice what we had learned outside of the classroom. A rigorous three-hour final exam in reading, writing, speaking and listening also forced me to engage in consistent, determined study. It was a tiring month, but one that forced me to concentrate exclusively on language acquisition, and allowed me to recall much of what I had forgotten in the twenty years that had passed since my last time in a Korean language classroom. I visited my family in Cheongju before and after the month at Ewha and they were amazed at how much my Korean had improved. I am incredibly grateful to CCKS for allowing me the opportunity to take this important step in my Korean language journey. Not only am I more confident as I go about my dissertation work in Koreatown, L.A. and Flushing, N.Y., but I am also able to communicate with my mother and my family back in Korea in profound ways that were not accessible to me beforehand.

Tian Li, Recipient 17'

I am profoundly thankful to CCKS’ aid and consideration towards my effort to improve my Korean language and deepen my understanding of Korean culture. The CCKS summer language program fellowship enabled me to attend the advanced-level Korean language program at Yonsei University in South Korea, where I was awarded the Most Distinguished Student.

The language study program facilitated me to better read academic materials and literature in Korean, thus benefiting my dissertation writing. Also, this language learning experience prepared me to be more capable at teaching Korean language in the United States, thus promoting a more profound cultural exchange so that I can carry forward the charm and the essence of the Korean culture transnationally. The summer language program at Yonsei University not only provided language learning but also exposed me to various cultural experiences, such as Korean food cooking class, traditional Korean ceramic class, and a memorable trip to the DMZ.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to CCKS for allowing me to have this wonderful experience.

Vanessa Baker, Recipient 17'
I am deeply grateful for the generous support of the CCKS Korean Language Fellowship because this enabled me to study at Seoul National University’s Language Education Institute. Thanks to the assistance of CCKS, in combination with the Walthall Graduate Fellowship in Japanese Studies in honor of Kota Inoue, I was able to immerse myself in Korean language for the academic year of 2017-2018. This grant provided me the opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to read literature, to engage in conversations regarding a variety of topics, to give academic presentations, and to write academic essays in Korean. Funding from CCKS allowed me to concentrate on language acquisition which is an essential component for my dissertation research.

The program at Seoul National University’s Language Education Institute was an invaluable experience as both a student as well as a teacher. I studied alongside students from a variety of linguistic backgrounds and this helped me recognize distinct challenges that students encounter when acquiring the Korean language. The language program at SNU devotes an hour each day to each of the four language skills so that I was able to improve all aspects of my Korean language skills. The course incorporates a diverse array of topics and places students in various social situation so that I was able to comfortably use new phrases and comfortably switch from formal to informal language styles. The most amazing part of this experience was that I was able to go outside and actively utilize what I had been studying in class. I am tremendously grateful to the support of CCKS for this wonderful opportunity.