The Association of Korean Appreciation is a relatively new club, only starting last May, that focuses on Korean history, tradition and pop culture. An
The Association of Korean Appreciation is a relatively new club, only starting last May, that focuses on Korean history, tradition and pop culture. And no, it is not focusing on North Korean culture.
People settled into their chairs, grabbings snacks and cracking jokes, creating an air of comfort among its members. After a few minutes of conversation and planning with their sponsor, Mr. Jeffcoat, Vice President Lizeth San Juan, a senior, alongside a handful of other members gathered at the front of the room for a presentation. She described the club and its basis. According to San Juan, “We talk about Korea, and its culture and its pop culture, since most of the members really like pop culture we want to do things that they enjoy and so we do a lot of K-pop.” The first slide of the presentation flipped, littered with Vine memes, and maintained the comfortable nature of the rest of the meeting. The feel quickly became professional as they began. Initially detailing the founding kingdom of Korea, they quickly transitioned to some of the facts of rituals and beliefs through its homes, traditional garb and food. Following the presentation, excitement and giggles spread through the room. Everyone waited and talked as Lizeth pulled up some games on YouTube, specializing in K-pop, the primary medium of South Korean Pop Culture.
I spoke with the club’s President, Abigail Hurtado, a senior who described the fascination and distinction of K-pop as a genre as it deviates from that of American Pop. “It contrasts so much with music here: there’s dance routines and the way that they have to train and the entertainment industry is crazy. They seem way more talented than the people here. It draws you in.” Although neither Abigail nor Lizeth speak Korean fluently, they are both in the process of learning. Abigail especially is making progress. “My friend and I taught ourselves the numbers, some vocabulary, and how to understand it.”
The game began, with Lizeth acting as gamekeeper, and it began a lively debate on the divvying up of teams. It became clear that there was a skill distinction between the members as some groaned over the choices, playfully arguing over the imbalance before landing on their official names; Pass and Skip. The video began, and so did the lively and competitive game of Guessing the Reverse K-pop song. Grumbles of frustration and shrieks of victory erupted through the crowd as each answer was revealed with some members sharing a competitive advantage with a deeper knowledge than others.
Although Mr. Jeffcoat is not particularly invested in the K-pop aspect, he maintains his interest in the club. “We do a history presentation and I’m learning a lot through what they are researching.” A seasoned veteran of the meetings, he covered his ears with each anticipated squeal of victory or defeat.
Students interested in the club, Korean culture or K-pop in general, should keep an eye out for the next meeting on the announcements. Alongside that, they offered up some introductory recommendations of some of their favorite artists, “BTS, Exo, 2NE1, the list could go on.”