Classes delve into the finer points of chatting with a crush. After those initial lessons, students are assigned to go on fake dates with classmates, paired up by lottery or similar interests.
Sejong University in Seoul dictates that the fake dates last four hours. Chungang University, also in Seoul, limits spending to 10,000 won, or about $9. Many schools demand the use of pedometers and selfies to verify the dates took place.
Jeong Hoon, a junior at Seoul’s Chungang University majoring in business, says a course cured his inability to express his feelings. But the fake date—which he went on with his real-life girlfriend, who also took the class—was a bummer because of the tight budget. They went to the royal palace, admission free, and munched on inexpensive spicy rice cakes. “It was the cheapest date I’d ever been on,” he says.
Textbook love can produce fairytale endings. Lee Jun-hee, a 21-year-old at Korea Aerospace University in Goyang, took a dating class at a Seoul college on a university-credit exchange. On the first day, after making the one-hour commute, she frowned. “They were all so ugly,” she says.