New Korean Flagship Program at UW-Madison

Zach Mcleod, Korean Flagship Program Coordinator

Language Flagships are intensive language programs for undergraduate students of any major reach a professional level of competence in the target language by graduation. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is the proud home of the new Korean Flagship Program, the only Korean Flagship on the U.S. mainland and only the second one in the United States.

Zach McLeod, UW-Madison Korean Flagship Program Coordinator, gives insight into the value of learning Korean. With a long history and rich cultural traditions, South Korea has played a vital role in East Asian history to the extent that a better understanding of Korea is necessary to fully understand East Asia. As Korean enterprises are growing rapidly in its business sectors, Zach believes that gaining proficiency in Korean can help students strengthen their resume and career prospects.

“Having enough Korean speakers in international relations and business is important.”

While Zach was an undergraduate at UW-Madison, he had an opportunity to study abroad in Korea. Living in Seoul, the capital city of Korea, he was interested in not only the Korean language itself but also the history and culture of the country. In order for Zach to more fully grasp Korean culture and history, he needed to develop his proficiency in the Korean language. In pursuit of this goal, Zach attended Sogang University and Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Korea and received a completion certificate in the highest level of the Korean language program. Completing his master’s at Columbia University after, he gained extensive knowledge in the politics and relations of East Asia.

Since learning about the Korean language and culture was truly an eye-opening experience for Zach, he is prepared to support and expand UW-Madison undergraduate students’ experience through the Korean Flagship Program. The program curriculum is designed to advance students to an advanced proficiency level, so that they can participate in a year-long capstone overseas program at Korea University that includes a professional internship, intensive Korean language studies and coursework related to the student’s major. In preparation for the capstone, students take Korean classes and engage in one-on-one tutoring to complement their studies in the classroom.

The Korean Flagship Program welcomes applications from students of all majors and with any level of Korean language experience. Applications are accepted through Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH)  and involve submitting electronic transcripts from all post-secondary institutions or high school attended, statement of purpose, self-evaluation of Korean language proficiency, two letters of recommendation, and supplemental questions. No previous experience with Korean is required to enroll in the program. Applications for Spring 2020 are due by November 15, 2019.

As Korean is considered a critical language for national security and economic competitiveness in the United States, the Korean Flagship Program at UW-Madison will challenge our undergraduate students to become local, national, and global leaders.

“Learning languages can have a big impact on your life. Graduating with Flagship certification, and with the different cultural perspectives that other students do not have, will make yourself stand out and be competitive.”

To learn more information about the Korean Flagship Program, visit their website or contact Zach McLeod (

Written By Yeonsoo Kelly Kim, Digital and Social Media Communication Intern