On November 30th, I went to a dinner event held by the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) in the Asian restaurant called Poong-Mei. The name of the event is ‘Mirry Christmas.’ It is a pun of the famous term ‘Merry Christmas,’ replacing merry with mirry, which means early in Korean. Thus, the event literally means Korean early Christmas. Although a great portion of the students in Ohio State University are international students, only a small percentage of them are Koreans and a few of whom are purely international students. I love meeting people from diverse background and culture, but I believe it is also important to celebrate my culture. KBS’ regular dinner event, hence, allows me to relief stress from academics and cultural differences.
I am one of the founding team members of the newborn club KBS. Our vision is to help not only Korean international students in Ohio State but also Korean community in general in Columbus. We gather and broadcast useful or interesting information related to Korea, such as new K-pop songs and Korean sports team games. Our regular dinner meeting is the extension of our vision. Koreans value eating together. Sik-gu, or family, means people eating meals together, living under the same house. Before meeting an important person, entrepreneurs have meal together in Korea. As these examples show, dinner means more than eating meals. It is about sharing experience and jeong, or affection. Therefore, through these regular dinner events, Korean international students can not only meet new home country people but also relate to their meal culture. I personally believe that it is easier to get along with new people when they eat meals together. Koreans believe the reason being is that eating meals is one of the most vulnerable moments, and by showing it to another person, they are giving them the trust.
While eating, club members altogether had a time going over what we have done well so far and points to improve. As KBS is just formed, our system must be unstable. We can grow our club together by learning from our own mistakes and turning them into opportunities. This dinner event was very meaningful because we could talk very honestly in a casual manner.
One of the aims as an International Affairs scholars is to develop skills as a leader both locally and globally and in co-curricular activities. Although I am a freshman and still adapting to the new environment, I wanted to benefit the community. I thought KBS is the club that Ohio State and Korean community in Columbus need, so I engaged as a founding member. I am planning to establish a new club that works to raise the awareness of the Comfort Women in next semester.