Seven more Korean Cultural Centres will open next year, bringing their total around the world to 28, the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced on Tuesday.
The new centres are scheduled to open in Hungary, Mexico, India, Thailand, Belgium, Brazil and Egypt by the end of 2012, the ministry said in a year-end press release.
The cultural centres will aim to introduce Korean culture in their host countries and promote cultural exchanges with respective organisations in each city.
Korea currently boasts 21 cultural centres across the globe, including five that opened this year in Australia, Spain, Indonesia, the Philippines and Turkey. The number of cultural centres has been increasing steadily ever since the first one opened in Tokyo in 1979. Since 2008, nine more centres have opened thanks largely to the growing interest and demand for Korean culture, according to foreign ministry officials.
The centres have hosted various events, such as K-pop contests and Korean film festivals to boost hallyu, or Korean Wave, throughout the world. The K-pop Festival, successfully held in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province on 7 December, was the final round of competitions hosted by the government in 16 different cities including Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles.
The centres have also been offering other events and classes custom-tailored to the characteristics of their respective host cities, such as Korean language courses, K-pop classes and support for the broadcasting of K-dramas.
The number of students enrolling in Korean language courses is rapidly increasing in most cities. In Russia, for example, there were 380 students enrolled in March 2011, but this had risen to 1,200 by September.