Experiencing culture through immersion

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By Sarah Van Wie, Staff Writer
Featured image by Brendan Felch.

The Asian Arts & Culture Center hosted the dynamic K-Fest event in the West Village Ballrooms Oct. 24 to spread awareness about Korean culture.

“Our theme in the art gallery is Korean Wave, and it was strongly influenced by K-Pop,” said Nerissa Paglinauan, the center’s program manager. “K-Pop is becoming well-known all around the world, so we wanted to present to the students and community what they’re interested in and can relate to, as well as introduce K-Pop to people that aren’t aware of it.”

To kick off the event, the Student Government Association and Asian Arts & Culture Center talked about diversity, the history of Hallyu and the Korean wave, or the diffusion of Korean culture.

“If you know anything about K-pop and K-culture, it’s really about participating,” said Director of the Asian Arts & Culture Center Joanna Pecore. “Having this kind of event that people were engaged in it and producing it themselves was the best way I could think to express what Korean pop culture is all about.”

While Brian Ho performed live K-Pop music, guests had the chance to enjoy traditional Asian food from Soo’s Kimchee House and Nak Won Restaurant. Their buffet featured sushi, orange chicken, soy noodles, bulgogi and mandu, accompanied by other popular Asian foods and desserts.

“The mandu was one of my favorite foods here because it tastes similar to the Philippines’ spring rolls, which is where I’m from, but with different filling on the inside,” said Justine Guevarra, senior MB3 major.

Attendees also learned how to write their name using the Korean alphabet, Hangul. The lessons were taught by Hyun-woo Park, who lived in South Korea for about 18 years and was taught the Hangul alphabet at his school.

“I’m spreading Korean culture to other people, so it’s good and fun,” Park said.

The Hangul alphabet does not have the same sounds as the English alphabet, so when Park converted the guest’s names into the Hangul alphabet he also shared how their name would be pronounced in Korea.

“What we really liked about the event was that it was student-produced and student-focused,” Pecore said. “It was the natural outgrowth of an opportunity for people to really get to know different aspects of Korean contemporary pop culture.”

The event also featured a K-Dance demo and workshop as well as a K-Dance performance.

“We have an exhibit about the Korean Wave [in the Asian Arts & Culture Center],” Pecore said, “so all of our exhibits and programs [aim] to engage students and the public in getting in touch with and more familiar with and more appreciative of Asian culture.”

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