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    What is KSA?

    The Korean Student Organisation promotes awareness of Korea and Korean culture through various cultural activites. We oraganise cultural performances and information sessions to encourage awareness. We recently oraganised a trip to KASON, the Korean Student Conference.

    
 Snapshots of the Annual KSA Banquet

Below we have listed some information about Korea:

        
 Korea's Geographic Location
Location

    The Korean peninsula extends southward from the northeast part of the Asia continent between latitudes 33 degree and 43 degree north, and longitudes 124 degree and 131 degree east. The peninsula has been devided in two since 1945; the Republic of Korea (capitalist), commonly called South Korea, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (communist), or North Korea.

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    Area

    The administrative area of the Republic of Korea is 99.299km^2 (400 acres). a little larger then twice the size of Switzerland. 70% of the land is mountainous, especially along the East Coast.

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    Population

    43.7 million ('92) Annual Growth rate : 0.9 % ('92) Population Density : 439.8 people per square kilometer ('92) Urbanization rate : 74.4 % ('90) Average Family size : 3.7 persons ('90)

    The traditional extended families have decreased and nuclear families have become the norm.

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     The Korean Flag

    Government

    A republic with power centralized in a strong executive president, although there are moves toward some regional autonomy. Constitution : The Republic's constitution was promulgated on July 17, 1948, and has been reviseed seven times, the last being in 1987. National Flag : Called the taegukki, it briefly depicts the Original cosmic principles. The circle in the center represents the balence between yin and yang (negative and positive forces) and the bars represents various cosmic elements. The flag represents eternal unity.

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    Economy

    The official Korean currency is the Won (W), which had a value of approximately 800W to one dollar as of mid 1993. Korea's GNP totalled US$294.5 billion with an annual growth rate of 4.7% and a per capita GNP of US$6,749 at year's end in 1992. Other economic figures for the end of 1992 are as follows; a consumer price increase rate of 4.5%; a savings rate of 38.9%; exports of US$76.6 billion against imports of US$81.8 billion.

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    Administrative Regions

    Administratively, the Republic of Korea consists of nine provinces, which are further divided into 68 cities (shi) and 136 counties (gun), five metropolitan cities, and the capital. Capital city : Seoul (Population : 10.6 million) ('90) Five metropolitan cities : Pusan ( 3.8 million), Taegu ( 2.2 million), Inchon (1.8 million) , Kwangju (1.1 million), Taejon ( 1.1 million) ('90)

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 The national flower of Korea

    Korea's National Flower

    Mugunghwa (Rose of Sharon) is much loved as the national flower of Korea, because it symbolizes the strong and simple spirit of the Korean people which has endured the nation's long and often difficult history.

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    Brief History

    • 600,000 years ago: Archeological findings have indicated beginnings of settlement in the Korea pennisula.
    • 2333 B.C. : The legendary figure Tangun founded Ko-Choson, the first Korean kingdom, at Pyongyang in the northern part of the pennisula.
    • 57 B.C ~ A.D. 668 : Three Kingdoms Period Koguryo Kingdom
    • 37 B.C. ~ A.D. 668 : Paekche Kingdom
    • 18 B.C. ~ A.D. 660 : Shilla Kingdom
    • 57 B.C. ~ A.D. 676 : United Shilla Kingdom (Capital : Kyongju)
    • A.D. 918 ~ 1392 : Koryo Dynasty (Capital: Kaesong located in North Korea), Buddhism became the state religion and greatly influenced politics and administration. 13th century : Mongolian invastions.
    • A.D. 1392 ~ 1910 : Choson Dynasty (Capital Seoul). Complete organization of the state on Neo-Confucianist principles.
    • A.D. 1418 ~ 1450 : Reign of King Sejong. During his reign the native alphabet, hangul, was invented.
    • A.D. 1592 ~ 1598 : Japanese invasions, defeated by such national heroes as Admiral Yi Sun-shin.
    • A.D. 1876 : The so-called "Hermit Kingdom" opened its ports to foreigners.
    • A.D. 1910 ~ 1945 : Japanese colonial rule.
    • A.D. 1945 : Division of Korea into north and south
    • A.D. 1948 : Proclamation of the Republic of Korea (south) on August 15, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (north) on Septmber 9.
    • A.D. 1950 ~ 1953 : Korean War, armistice signed 1972 to present : Negotiations between South and North Korea for peace and reunification
    • A.D. 1988 : Hosting of the 24th Olympiad, which marked the beginning of relations with Central and Eastern Europe Sep.
    • A.D. 1991 : South and North Korea were simultaneously admitted to the United Nations.

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          A sample of Humin

    Language

    Hangul (also called Hunmin Chongum) printed from wood block.

    Korean, the official language of Korea, belong to the Ural-Altaric language group, a group which includes such languages as Mongolian, Hungarian, and Finnish. Although Korea has borrowed many words from Chinese and it seems to resemble Japanese gramatically, its phonetic system differs completely. Hangul, Korea's native script, was invented in 1443. It is a purely phonetic alphabet of 10 vowels and 14 constants, so efficient that it can be learned in just a few hours. Hangul is the only alphabet in the world which was invented by man. Chinese characters are still used, especially in newspapers and academic works, though their use has been gradually decreasing since the 1980s due to the younger generation's preference for the simpler Hangul.

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    Religion

    Religious freedom is provided for in the Constitution. 46.9% of Koreans profess an official religious affiliation. Buddhism arrived in the pennisula about 300 A.D. There are now various different sects comprising some 20% of the population. Confucianism arrived in Korea during the 14th century A.D. It became the state religion of the Chosun Dynasty. Today, though it has strong influence on Korea thought, relationships, and family rituals, it is formally practiced by just 1% of the population. Catholicism first aroused only scholarly interest, but began to attract true adherents from the end of 18th century, and now comprises some 5% of the population. Protestantism was brought to Korea by missionaries who first arrived in 1885; today it is practiced by some 16% of the population. Chondogyo is the Korean native religion founded 1860 as a reaction to Western influences. It is based on Confucian, Buddhist, and Taoist principles and is practiced by a small percentage of the population. Shamanism, Korea's animistic religion, is still practiced.

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    Climate

    Temperate climate : Transitional zone between continental climate and subtropical maritime climate. Four distinct seasons : Spring : Late March through May, temperatures begin to rise in March; cherry blossoms bloom in early April, and forsythia, azaleas, magnolias, and lilacs in late April. Summer : June to early Septmber, hot and humid; temperatures can rise to 35 degree of celsius. Half the annual rainfall occurs during the monsoon months of late June and July. Mid July to mid August is the hottest period and also the height of the Korean vacation session. Autumn : September through November ; warm days, cool nights; clear blue sky; spectacular fall foliage. Many festivals in October. Winter : December to mid-March; intense cold dry spells alternate with spells of milder weather. Temperatures can drop to -20 degrees of celsius. Heavy snow in the mountains, especially the ski resorts; occasional snow elsewhere. Clothing : short-sleeved, lightweight cotton clothing advisable from May to Septmber. A warm coat and sturdy shoes are essential for outdoors in winter.

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    Education

    The first formal school in Korea was established in 372 A.D. Until the late 1880s, however, education was available only to those families with high social positions. Today, education is available to everyone, and the students in school make up one-fourth of the total population. Education continues through elementary , middle and high schools to colleges and universities which offer bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in various fields of art and sciences.

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