- Posted by: BestFriend
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Best Friend Korean Language School CEO MIns (No Jong-min)
‘Best Friend’ emerges as cultural exchange center
When CEO No Jong-min, 37, set up the Best Friend Korean Language School in 2005 many around him had their doubts.By Bahk Eun-ji
“They said that because Korean is a language spoken by only a relatively small number of people around the world, few foreigners learn it,” No said.”But if there is only 0.1 percent among the 7.2 billion people in the world interested in learning Korean, I believed it definitely has business value.”
Best Friend Korean language Center is the nation’s first Korean language institute that introduced the Korea working holiday program. It provides Korean language courses to foreigners, with each class having only a small number of students. It also provides Koreans with courses in foreign languages, including English, Chinese and Japanese.
“Globalization and multiculturalism have already become buzzwords, and Best Friend Korean language school in Seoul is helping foreigners settle in the country, from learning the language to landing a job,” he said.
The CEO said his interest in culture exchange started when he was staying in Vancouver, Canada in 2001.
“I wanted to hold a house party just like in the Hollywood movies to meet as many foreign friends as I could. So I began to invite other foreign friends in Canada to my house to learn English,” he said.
A few weeks later, his house became a place where people from various countries could meet and become friends.
“I realized what I really want and do best at that time. I found I like connecting people by exchanging culture, and letting foreign friends know about my country,” No said.
In 2004, he returned to Korea and began to help his Canadian friends find schools and boarding houses.
No said it was hard to find an adequate place for foreign friends mainly because of the different lifestyles and language barriers. That experience led him to run dormitories for them.
No also set up a home-stay association in Korea to help foreigners find clean and safe accommodation. He has run more than 70 studio apartments in Seoul as a dormitory for foreign students.
Now, Best Friend is the most popular language learning and culture exchange center in Seoul. It has branches in Tokyo and Nagoya in Japan as well.
“I plan to open more branches in China and North America to provide more opportunities for foreigners to learn about Korea in the near future,” No said. He also plans to create a mobile app this year for learning Korean.