Reflection #4: Non-IA

Korean Culture Show

On February 2nd, I went to the Korean Culture Show, serving as a member of the Korean International Student Organization (KISO). The Korean Culture Show is one of the biggest Korean culture events held annually in Ohio State. Anyone can come to the show and feel free to experience the Korean culture, ranging from Samullori(a performance with four traditional Korean instruments) to dancing.

Although I am a member of KISO, as I just enrolled this semester, I did not know a lot about the show before actually encountering it. The show started off with a group of people singing a K pop mashup. What surprised me was that the group consisted of non Koreans (by ethnic meaning) and all of them were not native Korean speakers. The show was really enthusiastic, because I believe the audiences, as I did so, could feel the performers’ passion and love towards K pop. Although I am not sure if they arranged the songs into a mashup, I can assure that they must have taken a lot of time into practicing not only singing but also speaking and understanding the Korean lyrics. It was a very meaningful performance because it was my first time seeing that I could interact with people outside my culture by my culture. It is just amazing that someone at the opposite side of the globe love my culture and want to share their enthusiasm with us. There were a number of groups of non Koreans that performed K culture such as Taekwondo, or Korean martial arts, and they each brought me a huge impact.

Performances by not only non Koreans but also native Koreans flourished the show. While the first part of the show focused more on non Korean groups and Korean culture, the second part of the show consisted of K pop groups performed by Koreans. If the first show touched me by feeling of sharing my culture, the second show was full of energy in general. Koreans love concerts and interacting with performers. The audiences could experience the Korean culture by actually interacting with the performers, say waving their flashlights at a singing group and shouting chants loudly at a dancing group. When the TPOK, a male dancing group in OSU, performed songs by popular Korean boy groups, such as BTS, EXO, and NCT, I was surprised that the audiences shouted out chants (the official version by the fan clubs), which are not even English. Thereby, not only the performers but also the audiences are avid Korean culture fans.

As I am an international student who lived abroad the first time, everything here was unfamiliar. Although I’ve got used to American culture, I sometimes miss home. I think KCS was a meaningful event for Koreans, including international students from other countries, and the natives here. These cultural events provide an opportunity for both international and domestic students to get closer, as both of them can grow a better understanding of one another’s culture and background. I would strongly recommend other International Affairs scholars to visit one of similar cultural events. Although the proportion of international students is not mere, it is hard to get along with them. I believe the reason being is not that they don’t want to, but just need the chance. It would be a great opportunity as an International Affairs scholars to experience the culture around the world.