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Culture Café: South Korea

We held our third Culture Café on October 11. It was hosted by HSE international students from South Korea. Thanks to Mingyu, Junsung, Sanghee, Yunji, Chaeeun, Esenia and Francis for this unique opportunity to imagine our Korea!

To begin with, everyone was asked to draw pictures to illustrate South Korea: K-pop singers, Samsung, Gangnam Style, and so on. It was a fun, successful prelude to the presentation.

The presentation was surprising and exciting at the same time. We learned interesting facts about Seoul, the capital city, Korea’s geographical peculiarities (for instance, it is a mountainous state, with mountains making up 70 % of the terrain), and the alphabet, Hangul. We even learned that Korean GDP is the 12th biggest in the world.

Then we moved on to clothing and lifestyles, discussing hanbok and hanok. They seem almost the same, right? Hanbok is a traditional Korean dress of vibrant colours, with simple lines and no pockets. Nowadays, in order to encourage citizens to wear it, designers come up with new, unique and modern styles. Hanoks are traditional Korean houses. Why are they different from a simple block of flats? Their architecture is very special; much consideration is given to building the house in relation to surrounding lands and nature. They are unique Korean homes, and once you come to South Korea, you should definitely look out for them, instead of hotels.

Rapid industrialization and high population density are key features in the country nowadays. However, the beautiful nightlife, amazing mountain scenery, convenience and efficiency of life here are often balanced with a feeling of being trapped because of the number of people, and not the best view from ‘below’.

Of course, missing out on the ‘food’ part was not an option. Together with the Koreans we discussed the masterpieces of local cuisine, ingredients and how to cook them in order to succeed, as well as where to find the best Korean food in Moscow (ask Esenia, she’s been everywhere). We even tried the delicious gimbap (a Korean dish made from cooked rice and other ingredients rolled in gim—dried sheets of laver seaweed—and served in bite-sized slices) specially prepared for this event by the students.

Now, are you inspired and thrilled to go to South Korea?

You have horizons to broaden, do not stop yourself living the life of your dreams. See you on November 1 at our brand new, exciting Culture Café. Try to guess the country… or maybe many?

Author: Irina Klimova
Editor and proofreader: Rachael Horwitz