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00707012
2012.11
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KOREAN

Korea: A Land of Endless Fascination/A KF Fellow’s Essay

These days, under the influence of Hallyu (Korean Wave), such as hallyu, or the overseas popularity of K-pop and drama, an increasing number of French students are studying the Korean language or wishing to visit Korea. Before coming to Korea, I myself could see the witnessed a burgeoning enthusiasm of French youth about for Korean culture and language among young people in France. However, in In Korea, however, I can see many people are still finding this phenomena phenomenon as quite amazing rather unfamiliar. In the following essay, I will briefly introduce the process explain how I came to Korea and the charms of be fascinated by Korean culture that I have felt and how I eventually made my way to Korea.

Korean Cinema the Gateway to Korean Culture

Korean Cinema the Gateway to Korean CultureI earned a master’s degree have two master’s degrees: one in “French language education for foreigners” from the University of Stendhal-Grenoble III: Stendhal University, and a master’s degree another in culture planning from Michel de Montaigne Bordeaux 3 University. One of the reasons why I started studying the Korean language was because of I came to love Korean movies. I came into contact with to know about Korean culture through Korean movies, especially because of those of director Kim Ki-duk. Later, I was also deeply impressed by movies of other directors like Hong Sang-soo and Lee Chang-dong’s movies. Through these movies, I could learn about These movies helped open my eyes to Korea’s spirit, philosophy, and history, and could feel as well as the delicateness delicate sensibilities of Koreans its people.

When I was While taking a master’s course, I could achieve much development for a period of progress in just one year through the Korean language class given by of Professor Kim Bo-na. Apart from Korean language, I learned From her class I didn’t just learn the Korean language but about Korea overall from the class in general, such as Korean the country’s culture, Korean poetry, pansori (traditional narrative song), and Koreans’ its people’s unique sentiments of called jeong (affection) and han (resentment). After all, I came to fall fell deeply for the charm of in love with the Korean language. At the that time, I served as the president and vice president of Hanguk (Korea), a group of students student circle at Michel de Montaigne Bordeaux 3 University who adore Korean culture, for two years, when I organized and participated organizing and participating in various Korean cultural events to promote Korean language and culture to and language among French students. Based on these experiences, I wrote a thesis for my master’s degree about the thesis on the development of Korean culture based on these experiences.

As you can see in the related photograph, I could fulfill my dream of studying in Korea, thanks to the Korea Foundation’s Korean Language Fellowship Program, which enabled me to study at Sogang University from this beginning in March this year. Through this program, I could can continue to accumulate research data about Korean language and culture, and also cultivate leadership and insight through my interaction with diverse students. These days, I’m grappling with difficult Korean grammar after I joined in the advanced class. Despite that, however these days, but I feel my passion for the Korean language growing even more ever more since I came to Korea. From time to time, some French people wishing to visit Korea ask me how they can study Korean. Then, I tell them, that nothing is impossible if you they have the passion. In addition, And I say that Korean is not such a very difficult language for Westerners, and they can master it if they study it steadily and develop what they need is a steady effort and a curiosity about another culture and people.

In the future, I’d like I want to speak Korean more fluently and play the role of my part in promoting Korea and teaching the Korean language to foreigners as a specialist doing works directly related to Korea actively involved in Korea-related work. Moreover, I will constantly study the Korean language and culture, and make great efforts to increase work hard to contribute to exchanges between Korea and France.

Why Hallyu is Popular in France

When I was in While living in France, I often met came across French students with a great interest in K-pop. Then, what makes about K-pop appeals so much to young French people go so crazy over K-pop? Most of all, foreigners imagine ideal lives a kind of ideal life while watching good-looking singers appearing in K-pop music videos. The image of Korean men, featured in K-pop, is far from the sexual charm like a “masculine beauty.” masculine heroes. Young girls, currently the largest group of main consumers for of K-pop, find a kind of relief in such an their image and want the signers to be their dreams about having such boyfriends.

Besides, the an increasing number of Westerners wishing hope to live in Korea, or Asia are increasing. Because of problems such as growing unemployment or unique the individualism characteristic of Western society, many young Westerns have an expectation that if they could people in the West hope to live in Korea, where they believe they would be better off and receive a lot of could lead better lives enjoying attention from Koreans. Along with this, Another reason is that the Korean government is also actively supporting greatly the development of popular culture to make Korean culture known throughout the world to encourage its overseas promotion.

Harmony of Tradition and Modernity

When I first arrived in Korea, I was amazed to find things traditional and modern were nonchalantly harmonized in everyday life. Walking on a street the streets in Seoul, you can meet run into various types of people and alleys often end up in a narrow alley, where diverse forms of lives exist side by side. At the end of the street, you can will again encounter a business section full of district crowded with skyscrapers and after passing through there the beyond this district, a traditional village comes in neighborhood will come into sight. I found it really It was truly fascinating that I could see such diverse ways of lives observe such diverse lifestyles at a glance.

As such, Koreans seem to have succeeded in preserving their cultural roots amid development. Such a bipolar The harmony between two extremes makes a great resource for captivating people from other countries, where such harmony can hardly be found today nowadays. The culture, fused as such, prevents me from staying with what I have learned so far or my prejudices, but rather This marvelous cultural fusion provides me with the strength to constantly search for something new things about Korea’s history, the root of its identity and desire for advancement progress and globalization, beyond what I have learned so far or my prejudices.

A visit to Garden of Morning Calm in Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Province.

Cultural fusion is not all that entices me. The harmony of between the urban spaces in within Seoul with and the natural spaces surrounding the city can be referred to seen as a second another marvelous fusion. Korea, and more specifically Seoul, are is famous among travelers loving to travel who love to visit mountains in the vicinity of cities. When you need urban spaces to vitalize give vitality to your life or to help you find more opportunities and possibilities in your daily life, or on the contrary, when you need time to take rest or meditate, Seoul offers chances for both. Just for 30 minutes by subway or bus, you can easily get to mountains or parks. What I especially like is to escape from Seoul and enjoy peaceful moments in small cities towns in the its vicinity of Seoul. The Garden of Morning Calm, which is shown in one of my photographs, is such a place that gave me a particularly deep impression one of such places that impressed me deeply. I’d like I want to recommend these places to travelers visiting Korea, or to my family, who will someday travel to Korea.

Now, I will I’d like to wrap up my “confession of love” for to Korea with a word to people, who are planning to put those who aspire to pour their energy into Korean culture and language, or as well as to readers of this material humble essay. As a matter of fact, it is still difficult for me It still eludes me how to explain how large what a great portion Korea is taking up in my life. Korea throws me constant questions and captivates fascinates me ceaselessly, and Koreans’ the Korean people’s jeong (affection), respect for humans humanity, harmony of relationships, and delicate sensitivity mesmerize me and help me grow every day. I’m sure that Korean culture and language will eventually spread to all over the world, and I hope that someday, I could be of little some help to such a the takeoff.

Bouchendhomme Loic
Holder of master’s degree in culture planning, Faculty of Humanities,
Michel de Montaigne Bordeaux 3 University

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