An online Korean language course that uses videos of the world-renowned K-Pop group BTS has been selected as an excellent example of public diplomacy. The course, "Run! Korean with BTS," was created in 2020 by Big Hit Edu (currently Cake) and uses videos such as "Run BTS," "BTS Bomb," and "BTS Episode." The purpose of the course is to help members of BTS's fan club "A.R.M.Y." learn Korean by using the actual speaking of BTS members as examples.
This innovative approach to language learning is not only fun and engaging, but it's also proven to be effective. The Korea Foundation (KF) has invested its budget into an "e-school" project and has been offering the course at foreign universities. In the first year, 280 students took the course at six universities in four countries, including the United States, Vietnam, Egypt and France. But, that number has grown exponentially and in 2022 alone, 1,200 students from 16 universities in 13 countries took the course.
The success of this course isn't just limited to the number of students taking it, but it has also been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace who introduced it as an excellent example of public diplomacy in a 2020 report titled "Korea's Soft Power." Furthermore, the US Embassy in Korea even made a commemorative video based on the BTS Korean language course at Middlebury University in 2020, which received 238,000 views on YouTube. This is a testament to the popularity and effectiveness of "Run! Korean with BTS" and the power of BTS in promoting Korean culture and language.