South Korea recently announced that it would be granting special visas to non-Korean individuals undergoing K-culture training.
The Hallyu wave doesn’t seem to be fading, as more and more people are falling head over heels for one of South Korea’s biggest exports and assets: their culture and entertainment industry. Nowadays, no matter where one is in the world, they can feel the country’s soft power through its widely-popular K-pop, K-dramas, and manhwas (the country’s comics), as well as the cultural traditions that these forms of media have promoted. Ask any fan of K-culture, and chances are they’ve included visiting and even living in South Korea in their bucket list.
Fortunately, this may become an easy goal to achieve, as the country recently announced that it would be launching special visas for K-culture enthusiasts specifically. According to a report from Forbes, South Korea’s upcoming “Hallyu Visa” (also known as “K-culture training visa”) will grant foreigners a two-year stay in the country, provided that they’re registered in local, government-accredited performing arts academies.
More Specifics to Come
At present, more details on the eligibility requirements of the Hallyu visa aren’t available. However, Philstar Global writes that South Korea will be providing further information on the visa later in 2024.
What’s clear is the country’s determination to bolster its arts and culture sector, which contributes significantly to its GDP. In a column for Korea JoongAng Daily, Lee Young-ryeol—a professor at the Seoul Institute of the Arts—cites that global Hallyu fans increased to 156.6 million in 116 countries in December 2021. In 2022, K-pop sold more than 80 million albums around the world. It’s a billion-dollar industry that continues to grow as borders are taken down thanks to online streaming services and social media.
In its 2023 Business Plan, South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism discussed its goal of supporting young artists and strengthening the capability of college students majoring in the arts, with an allotted budget of ₩5.8 billion (roughly $4.4 million).
The government also intends to promote its literature distribution through their KLWAVE platform, bring their content firms to 15 overseas locations, and host 100 K-culture events, with roadshows in 15 cities worldwide. Based on its ambitious plans, the country is certainly on the path to continuing and cementing its powerful K-culture legacy through younger generations—both foreign and Korean.
Banner photo by jet dela cruz via Unsplash.