In May, the Korean Culture Class team went back in time—to an ordinary day in Korea over 500 years ago as well as to the time of Korea’s liberation in 1945. The first destination of our field trip for international participants from over 10 countries was Asan Oeam Folk Village. Although our trip started out in the wee hours of the morning, we were all excited to see Korea’s past and present converge that we powered through the two-hour bus ride.
A picturesque scene of traditional houses against a backdrop of peaceful mountains and streams, Oeam Folk Village is a heartwarming throwback to the Korea of old. The participants enjoyed a variety of Korean activities, such as pitch-pot, traditional swings, standing seesaw (neolttwigi), and bamboo water guns. They also caught up on gossip while ironing clothes the traditional way, using stone blocks and wooden implements, and toured the various paths and alleyways of the village, completing their journey back in time. If they were hungry, they filled their bellies with pajeon, bibimbap, and makgeolli, which further enriched the experience. Lyuba Tsoy, a regular participant from Uzbekistan, said one of the best parts of the Korean Culture Class was getting to eat the tasty Korean food.
After satisfying their appetites, the group moved forward in time to 1945, when Korea was liberated from Japan’s imperialism, a historical event commemorated by the Independence Hall of Korea in Cheonan. The struggle for liberty is a universal cause that transcends national borders, so participants approached the experience with a sense of earnestness as they explored Korea’s modern history. Their sympathy and affection for Korea seemed to be amplified by fresh memories of Oeam Folk Village.
It would be impossible to explore over 400 years of Korean history in half a day, but the outing was indeed a meaningful and enjoyable experience.
KFVN Reporter Kim Hyemi