'Bride Schools' Prep Women for Mail-Order Marriages

Government-supported Vietnamese classes teach women Korean language, customs

By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 20, 2014 2:03 PM CDT

(Newser) – You don’t necessarily have to speak the same language as your husband to be a mail-order bride in South Korea—just the language of love. Unfortunately, many of the marriages arranged that way there don’t handle Cupid’s vernacular well, either, so the South Korean government is cracking down on the process by imposing regulations and setting up "bride schools" in Vietnam, reports the Washington Post. These schools offer one- or three-day courses that teach blushing brides-to-be everything from how to speak Korean to subway etiquette to how much they should kowtow to their mothers-in-law.

South Korea has been trying to get a handle on marriages to foreigners and prevent bad ones, according to the Post. Support for multicultural families has become a government priority, and in February the Justice Ministry announced female candidates for a "resident-by-marriage" visa have to start proving they can speak Korean and show they can take care of themselves financially, according to the Wall Street Journal. Because language and cultural issues appear to be the cause of many marital issues in these cases, the government-supported bride schools were set up, says the Journal. Even students who attend the schools, however, may not be fully on board. "My family is very poor, and I try to be obedient," one woman featured in the Post article says. "But I’m not very comfortable with the idea." (Read the full story in the Washington Post of what happened to one couple who married after the wife attended bride school.)

Couples from around the world arrive for their mass wedding ceremony in Gapyeong, South Korea, Feb. 17, 2013.
Couples from around the world arrive for their mass wedding ceremony in Gapyeong, South Korea, Feb. 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
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